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Visiting Bologna in one day with a baby

Begin the tour with a breakfast at the cafeteria I Dolci di Nonna Vincenza. Continue along Strada Maggiore up to Corte Isolani, you cannot go wrong for its very high wooden porch!  Once there look at the top for the knight's arrow.

Go through the passage of Corte Isolani (note: if you are with a stroller, we suggest you take via Gerusalemme a street a little further down), you will come out at piazza Santo Stefano (Santo Stefano square). Are you in need of a baby-changing table? Take a break at the Caffè della Corte.

At this point you cannot miss a visit to the beautiful complex of the Basilica di Santo Stefano (Santo Stefano cathedral; also known as the "Seven Churches"): the children will be entertained by entering the different environments; in fact, they will have the impression of being more in a maze with churches and courtyards than in a cathedral. Here you will search for the sculptures of many animals (the cockerel, a lion, a deer, a peacock), of the three lazy soldiers and of the Three Wise Men made of coloured wood. A pair of scissors is also to be found...

Back in the square look out for the palace with the heads (Palazzo Bolognini): there are 26 of them, between gods and warriors; there is even the head of the devil!

Continue in via Santo Stefano up to piazza della Mercanzia. In this quaint intersection of roads the two towers stand out: you can climb the torre degli Asinelli (the Asinelli tower characterized by 498 steps that are quite steep, free entrance for children under 1 metre in height); if you want to take a coffee break or you need to change your baby, continue up to Les Pupitres cafeteria where children will also find a nice corner with games at their disposal.

Then wander in the narrow streets of the old Jewish ghetto: look out for the hidden towers (you should know that Bologna was also called the "Turrita" for the more than 100 towers and tower-houses built in the Middle Ages) and reach via Altabella where you will find many pubs among which the inn Pane, Vino e San Daniele where you can enjoy the typical crescentine (raised dough) of the Emilia-Romagna region accompanied by cold cuts, cheeses and much more: you can even bring things with you from outside for your children (the owner is very available), and the Cocoà.

Continue up to via Indipendenza and admire the perspective: piazza Maggiore will open on your left. But first take a stroll up to the Mercato delle Erbe (Herb Market) passing through via Manzoni and via Belvedere. Head back towards piazza Maggiore taking via Ugo Bassi.

Once arrived in piazza Nettuno (Neptune square), where you find the homonymous fountain, to your left you will see the Palazzo Re Enzo, a palace which took its name from the king who was captured by the Bolognese following the battle of Fossalta in 1249; although treated like a king, he was imprisoned in the palace - his "golden prison" - until his death.

Go under the Voltone del Podestà (Vault of the Mayor) and impress your children by playing at the wireless telephone beneath the arches:  position yourself at opposite corners of the vault and whisper some words and you will hear something magical...

Then raise your head to look for the gallows: that was where people used to be hanged.

Overlooking the so-called "crescentone" you will see the impressive basilica di San Petronio (San Petronio cathedral): the children will like the solar meridian crossing the floor of the church and that is illuminated by the sun, every day at noon, due to a hole in the ceiling.

Go up to the first floor of Palazzo d'Accursio to enjoy a beautiful view of the square.
The lift is available to the visitors, but if you can, don't miss the sixteenth century scala del Bramante (Bramante stairway) that the representatives of the city government used to go through on horseback as a triumphal entrance.
In case needed, always on the first floor, you will find a nursery room to change the diaper or breastfeed your baby.

After visiting these sights you can make a stop at the Sala Borsa (entrance near the Neptune fountain): a library, which is an important meeting spot for all the children and young people of the city. Children will like the glass floor through which the archaeological excavations can be seen. You will find a baby room with a breastfeeding chair, feeding bottle warmer, a fairly large space with soft cushions and lots of books to entertain your children. Also available is a bathroom for children equipped with a baby-changing table (the keys are in the baby room).

Continue your visit in via dell'Archiginnasio where the homonymous library is found: interesting is the visit to the Teatro Anatomico (Anatomical Theatre) where the future doctors once performed human dissections.  The via dell'Archiginnasio runs along piazza Galvani: look for the big spiderweb! Go down the elegant via Farini, overlooking the shops of the main haute couture firms, cross piazza Minghetti and you will find yourself to be in front of Palazzo Pepoli, seat of the Museum of the History of Bologna.

Symbolically tie your horse to the large rings located on the façade of the building (the one near the door used to be adopted instead for the flags) and enter the museum, which has only recently been opened. The children will like the movie in 3D with the Etruscan character Apa, who tells the story of the city as well as the visual and acoustic space of the city of the water. The museum is of good quality, the teaching style involving for the whole family.
The strollers must be left in the cloakroom and, at the time, baby carriers are not supplied.

To end such a day full of adventures exploring a city of ancient traditions, head towards the vie del Quadrilatero (streets of the Quadrilateral) for a typical aperitif in the numerous bars of the neighbourhood or cross via Rizzoli up to Cocoà in via Altabella

Palazzo Isolani

Palazzo Isolani

Overlooking Santo Stefano Square (also known as the Sqaure of the Seven Churches), Palazzo Isolani offers since centuries its porches to one of the most beautiful walks around Bologna.

Complesso di Santo Stefano

Complesso di Santo Stefano

Also known as the "Seven churches", the Basilica of St. Stefano is the most peculiar church complex in Bologna.
Its origins are still a moot point. For someone it was built in 430 when the bishop Petronio decided to raise a building to be divided into seven churches, which were supposed to symbolically represent the places of Christ’s Passion, as testified by its ancient name “Sacra Hierusalem”.
Another theory states that the Basilica was built by Saint Petronio, but on the ruins of a pre-existent pagan temple.

Palazzo della Mercanzia

Palazzo della Mercanzia

Seat of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture and Crafts, Palazzo della Mercanzia has governed trading and business activities of Bologna since the late 14th century.

Le due Torri: Garisenda e degli Asinelli

Le due Torri: Garisenda e degli Asinelli

The two towers Garisenda and Asinelli are the traditional symbol of Bologna, strategically standing where the old Aemilian way entered the town. In the late 12th century, at least one hundred towers dotted the town's skyline, but today only twenty have survived the ravages of fire, warfare and lightning.

The former Jewish ghetto

The former Jewish ghetto

The layout of Bologna's 16th century ghetto can still be precisely traced amid the narrow streets in the medieval heart of the city under the Two Towers.

Piazza Nettuno

Piazza Nettuno

Piazza del Nettuno was given this name because it was built to give prominence to Statua del Nettuno, the statue that may be seen at its centre.

Palazzo Re Enzo

Palazzo Re Enzo

Palazzo Re Enzo was built between 1244-46 (when also Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo was raised  as an extension of the Municipal buildings. The palace was also known as  'new palace' to differentiate it from Palazzo del Podestà. Just three years later the palace became the 'residence' of the King taken prisoner in the battle of Fossalta: Re Enzo from Sardinia, son of Federico II.

Palazzo del Podestà

Palazzo del Podestà

This was the first seat of the town government, represented by the Podestà and his judges and officers.

Basilica di San Petronio

Basilica di San Petronio

Named in honour of Bologna patron saint Petronio - 8th bishop of the city from 431 to 450, the Basilica is the most imposing (a length of 132m, a width of 66m, a height of 47m) and important church in Bologna.

Palazzo d'Accursio o Comunale

Palazzo d'Accursio o Comunale

The Town Hall consists of a set of buildings, that over the centuries have gradually been joined to the oldest acquired by the city at the end of the thirteenth century. Including among other things, Accursio’s home, teacher of law, at the University of Bologna. It was originally intended to keep the public reserve, "some grain-growing and municipal offices”. In 1336 it became the residence of the Elders, the highest judiciary of the City Government and is the seat of city government.

Salaborsa

Salaborsa

Biblioteca Salaborsa is the central public library funded by the municipality of Bologna. It opened in 2001 and provides a rich and fascinating cultural space inside Palazzo d'Accursio, the ancient and historical seat of the city government.

Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio

Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio

The construction of the Palace was commissioned by Cardinal Borromeo between 1562 and 1563 following the project by architect Antonio Morandi called Terribilia; it was to house the lecture halls for the University Study (Law and Arts). Up to 1803 it was the seat of the University and since 1838 it has been housing the Civic Library.