All about the fitness and health lifestyle
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8 Top Places to visit in Bologna Italy

Last Updated:
November 10, 2022

Top Places to visit in Bologna Italy

Located in Northern Italy, Bologna is a lively, historic city, well known for its sprawling plazas, cafés, and historic architecture. Below are eight of the top places to visit in Bologna, Italy on your vacation.

1. The Two Towers

The Asinelli and Garisenda towers are the most prominent structures within the city. Known as the two towers, they are located at the historic intersection of the five-ring wall gates. Both Asinelli and Garisenda are both leaning towers, constructed between 1109 and 1119, however, Garisenda leans more. Visitors can climb the Asinelli tower for an amazing view of the city from Italy’s tallest leaning tower.

2. Teatro Anatomica

Bologna, Italy is home to the western world's oldest university. In 1636 this was the first Anatomical Theatre, teaching university students about human anatomy. Here, students would watch live autopsies and study the human body. This was revolutionary at the time, and a bishop oversaw all autopsies to ensure the science did not go against religious beliefs. Every corner of the theatre is elaborate with wooden carvings, showcasing the human body, with some even showing the muscles and ligaments.

3. The Sanctuary of San Luca

Walking from downtown Bologna to the Sanctuary of San Luca takes you through the longest portico in the world. This 4km covered walkway is one of many in Bologna and leads to the highest point in the city. At the very top is a terrace, which offers amazing panoramic views of the city. Each year, the Byzantine Madonna with Child is carried along this walkway during Ascension week.

4. Piazza Maggiore

As the heart of the city, surrounding the Piazza Maggiore are many important buildings. These buildings include the Basilica of San Petronio and various Palazzo buildings. Dating back to 1200, the stonework is stunning, and you can still see damage from a tank during 1945. In the summer months, the piazza becomes an open-air cinema with over 3000 chairs.

5. Neptune’s Fountain

Within Piazza del Nettuno is the sculpture of Neptune, atop a three-tiered fountain. This fountain includes bronze Nereids and Cherubs statues and was commissioned to celebrate Pope Pius IV being elected. The fountain itself was completed in 1563, and the statue of Neptune was added in 1566. This impressive bronze and marble fountain has copies around the world including in Brussels, California, and Georgia. Take your time to explore the fountain and the inscriptions on each side.

6. Basilica of San Petronio

This unfinished church, is one of the largest in the world, with 22 side chapels. Construction began in 1390, however, the main façade is still largely unfinished. The main doorway features scenes from the old testament on the pillars, prophets on the archivolt, and scenes from the new testament on the architrave. The church also features a meridian line, inlaid in the left aisle in 1655 to allow astronomers to calculate the equinoxes and solstices.

7. Museo Per La Memoria Di Ustica

This museum is a memorial for the DC9 plane that was shot down in 1980 after leaving Bologna airport. The permanent installation by Christian Boltanski features a moving display to remember the 81 victims of the massacre. Surrounding the reconstructed aircraft are 81 black mirrors, and lights to represent each victim. This tragedy is one that the people of Bologna are still fighting to get justice for, as the culprits have never been identified.

8. Via Drapperie

One of the best things to do in Italy is to visit traditional markets. Via Drapperie is a medieval-style market within the alleyways of Bologna. Here you can find fresh fruit, vegetables, cheeses, and freshly baked bread. With pedestrian-only access, walking through this neighborhood is a must, and the perfect place to get everything for a picnic lunch.

Bologna is an amazing city, and is also very affordable for tourists. In addition to the 8 top places to visit in Bologna, Italy we mentioned above, consider adding a cheese and balsamic vinegar tour, as well as a visit to Carbigiani Gelato University to your itinerary.

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