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Bologna in a day

Sightseeing tour in the fat, red and wise city


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Bologna is called La Grassa, meaning fat, for its traditionally caloric food! The city has got more than 370 thousand residents, but it is full of people from different countries because of its famous University. Apart from the monuments, we are here to try delicious Italian pizza and coffee, to watch old beautiful streets and tenements.

Must see Monuments

When choosing Bologna worth seeing, you should start from the so-called two towers: Torre Degli Asinelli, Torre Della Garisenda. The towers were built by the wealthy residents of the city in the Middle Age, to defend the unit against enemy invasion. There are more or less 200 towers in the city. The Asinelli Tower is the highest one (97,2 m) and it can be visited climbing its 498 stairs. The effort is worthy, for the view from the top. Both are leaning towers, but the access is available just for one.

Bologna, two towers

Bologna, the two towers

Piazza Maggiore is the main square, the eye is immediately attracted by the Neptune fountain built by Giambologna. Around the square you will find some beautiful buildings in gothic and romanesque style, the most interesting places are Ex-Sala Borsa, the Basilica of San Petronio and the Basilica of Santo Stefano.

The Basilica of Santo Stefano is a unique complex of seven different churches located on the square in Santo Stefano street. According to old tradition, this Basilica was built by Saint Petronius, bishop of the city in the 5th century. In the courtyard you can see the famous basin “Catino di Pilato”, where Pilate would have wash his hands after sentencing Jesus to crucifixion. We can also see the tomb of Saint Petronius and the 13th century fresco “Massacre of the Innocents”.

Along the way to the Basilica, we spent some time visiting the town library, where once there was the securities exchange Ex-Sala Borsa. In the middle of the main hall, the glass floor let people see under the surface, where there are the ancient forum and walkway from the Roman Era. The library is located right next to Piazza Maggiore, the main square of the city, where there is the statue of Neptune, ancient God of sea and ocean, with nymphs. Beyond the square, the Basilica of San Petronio, which is currently one of the largest Gothic churches in the whole of Italy.

Bologna, St Petronio

Bologna, St Petronio

Palazzo del Podestà, at one side of Piazza Maggiore, was the seat of Secular power in the 13th century. Later, in the rooms of the building housed the office of the judicial council. In 1574 the palace became the residence of the prefect of police, whose name is associated with the present name of this building. The city hall is also worth seeing, it is a complex consisting of several interconnected buildings on the main square. Looking at the building, you can easily spot some bronze loggias, depicting on the right Gregory XIII, while on the left the holy Madonna with Child in Terracotta. On the first floor of the city hall there is a permanent exhibit with the municipal art collections, displaying mostly masterpieces from the so called “school of Bologna”. There is also the Morandi Museum, with approximately 200 paintings and artworks created by this Italian painter, and his studio fully rebuilt.

Bologna, the City Hall

Bologna, the City Hall

Just out the city hall there is the Palazzo Dei Notai, that means notaries head office. It was built in 1381. Twice rebuilt in its later year, it still retains its beautiful 15th century frescoes. Have you ever had a conversation with your friends… through a wall? Try the interesting experience of the “whispering walls”: on the main square there is an high arch where two people can talk to each other standing at the two opposite side of the arcade. You have to stand head in front of the two opposite pillars, whispering whatever you like into the wall, and the person at the opposite pillar can hear everything clearly! Find these “magic” pillars under the arcade standing on the right of Neptune fountain.

In your free time, we encourage you to visit a few cafes or pizza places where getting a delicious Italian pizza! Sit comfortably on a bench in one of the many parks, or take a stroll through the old streets that still retain their charm here in Bologna.
During the weekend, spend your evenings in the city centre teeming with life, concerts on the main square and a nice general atmosphere. Why don’t you plan to come back to this pretty town for a longer time? And of course we cannot forget to buy the famous Bolognese mortadella!