Three hours in the heart of the city
Updated on 05 March 2020 From Bologna Welcome
The excursion to discover Bologna starts with the Fountain of Neptune, one of the city’s symbols created by the Flemish sculptor known as Giambologna, and with Salaborsa which, with its rich multimedia library, has become a meeting point for the locals. In addition to the crystal floor, the interior also boasts the city’s Roman remains.
We move on to Piazza Maggiore, “the” square for the locals overlooked by: Palazzo D’Accursio, the seat of the Municipal Authority’s Municipal Art Collections (Collezioni Comunali d’Arte), and the Basilica of San Petronio boasting the largest sundial in the world. Below the Voltone del Podestà, you can try out a little game: if you whisper something against one of the four corners of the vault, the person on the opposite corner will hear you.
Walking along via dell’Archiginnasio, you will reach the Archaeological Civic Museum (Museo Civico Archeologico) whose Egyptian collection is one of the most important in Italy and Europe, and the Palazzo dell’Archiginnasio, the original seat of the oldest University in the Western world founded in 1088. A stone's throw away you find the Church of San Domenico with its marble arch safeguarding the remains of the Saint decorated with sculptures by Nicolò Pisano, Nicolò dell’Arca and a young Michelangelo.
You will then wander around the alleyways of the ancient city market - the Quadrilateral - and move on to admire Piazza Santo Stefano and its seven churches. Corte Isolani leads to Strada Maggiore from where you can take in the Two Towers, degli Asinelli and Garisenda, the tallest of the twenty remaining in the “Turrita” city which used to count over one hundred in Medieval times.
From the Two Towers, proceed along Via Zamboni, the university street and home to various Departments, the historic Municipal Theatre and the famous University Museums. On approaching Via Indipendenza, you discover another unexpected side of Bologna, those of the waters that flow underground and that resurface in the canal that can be admired from the window in Via Piella.
Finally, to return to the square, walk along Via Indipendenza, which is the High Street.