Welcome is Bologna

Three hours in the heart of the city

MAP

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.

Fontana del Nettuno

Fontana del Nettuno

Fontana del Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune) was built between 1563 and 1566 by the Flemish sculptor Giambologna.

Salaborsa

Salaborsa

Inaugurated in December 2001,a cultural space and multimedia within Accursio Palace, former seat of the historic town that overlooks the Piazza Maggiore, always the center and heart of Bologna. Today, the Salaborsa once again gives witness to the centrality and importance of this site in its new role as library, treasuretrove of knowledge and multi-media center.

Piazza Maggiore

Piazza Maggiore

Piazza Maggiore is located at the very centre of Bologna. In the past the square underwent many changes and was further enriched with important buildings: Basilica di San Petronio, Palazzo dei Notai, Palazzo d'Accursio, Palazzo del Podestà and Palazzo dei Bianchi.

Voltone del Podestà

Voltone del Podestà

Vault under the Palazzo del Podestà. It originally housed the city market and the benches of the notaries; later on, blasphemers were set on the pillory and hangings were performed under its arches.

Museo Civico Archeologico

Museo Civico Archeologico

The Archaeological City Museum is one of the most prestigious archaeological collections in Italy. It is quite representative of local history from prehistoric times to the Roman Age. The collection of Egyptian Antiquities is one of the most important in Europe, the second in Italy, for historical artistic quality, conservative state and number of objects, about 4,000. The numismatic collection of great value,  includes 100,000 units.

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.

Basilica of San Domenico

Basilica of San Domenico

One of the richest churches in Bologna for the historical art, it is the Preaching Order’s first creation and guardian of its founder S. Domenico’s mortal remains.

The old market in the Quadrilatero

The old market in the Quadrilatero

Market located in the Quadrilatero, between Piazza Maggiore and Piazza della Mercanzia, for the sale of food products, fruits and vegetables.

Piazza Santo Stefano

Piazza Santo Stefano

Piazza Santo Stefano is one of the most peculiar places in Bologna. Even though it is mainly considered as a square, it is not properly this: Via Santo Stefano widens to create this peculiar area that leads to the monumental group of buildings named after the same Saint.

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.

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.

Via Zamboni

Via Zamboni

Via Luigi Zamboni is a historic street located in the center of Bologna and heart of university life. It crosses Piazza Verdi and Largo Respighi where there are Teatro Comunale and the offices of many faculties.

Via Indipendenza

Via Indipendenza

Via Indipendenza is the main street of Bologna. Now via Indipendenza is the heart of the shopping area

Finestrella di Via Piella

Finestrella di Via Piella

This corner of the city is known as "little Venice". Looking out among the buildings, you can see one of the few stretches of running water, which was not covered with asphalt between the beginning of the twentieth century and the postwar period.

Museo Civico Medievale

Museo Civico Medievale

The Medieval Museum in Bologna enlightens visitors about the history of the city, often turbulent. The fascinating collection of bronze statues, armours, handmade products, illuminated manuscripts and monumental tombs is located inside Palazzo Ghisilardi-Fava, nicely painted.