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One day in Bologna with your children

Updated on 05 March 2020 From Bologna Welcome

This itinerary is perfect for families who want to spend a day in Bologna among culture, history and fun for the little ones. Follow it and you will discover that Bologna is a city designed for everyone!

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). 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).

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.

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.

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