The classic itinerary starts from Piazza Malpighi, where stands the apse of the Gothic church of St. Francis next to the graves of Glossatori, the first professors at the University of Bologna.
The walk continues along characteristic streets with arcades to Piazza Maggiore, the heart of the city, where also Bologna meets every day. We will visit the Basilica of San Petronio, the patron saint of the city: it is the sixth biggest church in Europe and it was the place of hugely important historical events. Decorated with wonderful 15thcentury frescoes, it contains unique elements in the world, such as the extraordinary Cassini’s meridian. Majestic palaces (which we will see from the outside) also embellish the medieval square: Palazzo d’Accursio, the town hall, which hosts important art collections, the Banchi Palace, the old seat of the currency exchange, and the Podestà and Notaries Palaces that testify the glorious past of the free Commune.
In the adjacent Neptune Square stands the famous Fountain of Neptune, a work of Giambologna and symbol of the Papal city. On the same square stands the Re Enzo Palace, which in the 13thcentury became the prison for the son of Emperor Frederick II.
We will admire the 17thcentury Anatomical Theatre in the Archiginnasio Palace, ancient home of the University of Bologna “the learned”, that shows on its walls one of most precious heraldry collection in the world.
A walk through the lively “quadrilateral”, a market of medieval origin, will make us discover all the specialities of Bologna “the fat” and of the Food Valley of which is the capital. During the day is also possible to take a break for a tasting of typical products and of the local wine.
We reach the Two Towers, the real symbol of Bologna “the towered”, that in the middle ages it numbered about a hundred, and we continue until the Romanesque complex of St. Stephen or The seven churches, also known as the Bologna Holy Jerusalem for its symbolic links to the places of Christ’s Passion.
We end the day with Saint Dominique’s Church and with the Ark of the Saint, to which collaborated the young Michelangelo and with the Church of Santa Maria della Vita with the touching depiction of the “Sorrow over the Dead Christ” by Nicolò dell’Arca.
Instead of Saint Dominique’s Church and the Church of Santa Maria della Vita, it is possible, after a walk through the Jewish Ghetto, to reach the heart of the modern University Area and visit the Church of San Giacomo Maggiore. This church was a place beloved by the Bentivoglio family, who ruled the city’s political scene in the 15thcentury, and here we can admire the chapel dedicated to them, decorated with frescoes by the artists of the Renaissance Bolognese School. The same artists realized the wonderful pictorial cycle of the adjoining oratory of Santa Cecilia, a 13thcentury church considered the “Sistine Chapel of Bologna”.
The visiting order of the monuments is not the one listed above and is adjusted according to the needs of visitors. We do not assume responsibility for ticket increases or changes of monuments opening hours that may occur during the year.
For some questions you find a faster answer here than writing us:
Where can I park?
If you are by car you can park in the parking of Piazza VIII Agosto, in the very city center ( daily rate of € 20,00). Otherwise along the city walls there are many opportunities: close to the train station there are the Autostazione Parking (entrance from and Viale Masini)and the New Parking behind the train station (daily rate from € 13,00), while close to Porta San Mamolo there is the Staveco Parking (daily rate of € 12,00). Out of the walls, in Via Tanari (20 minutes walking from the city center) the parking cost € 5,00 (there is a bus connection with the center, it costs 2.00 per ride and the ticket can be bought on the bus). In the city center there are also several parking lots with parking meters. Depending on your needs it may be better to choose one of the these parking areas: we will tell you which one is the most convenient when you book.
If you are by bus the 2 drop off points are Porta San Mamolo and the Autostazione in Piazza XX settembre (entrance from Via Masini). If you want to be closer to che city center there is a drop off/ drop on point in Piazza Malpighi (upon payment of a tourist ticket, in case of interest ask us for more information).
Where do I meet the guide?
If you are already in the city center the guide can meet you in your hotel, at a restaurant or in front of the Nettuno Fountain, close to the main square. If you arrive directly for the guided tour then the guide can pick you up in the car parks or at the drop off/ drop on points.
Can mobility impaired people enter everywhere?
Yes, however Bologna is a difficult city for people with motor disabilities. At the beginning or end of the porticoed streets there are often steps without ramps, restaurants and bars often have toilets in the basement and to enter in most of the monuments it is necessary to make a prior request in order to use special entrances with ramps or lift. The tour should therefore be planned ad hoc in advance.
There will be entry fees for the monuments?
Yes, the costs are as follows:
– € 3,00 for the Anatomical Theatre – free under 18 years old;
– € 5,00 for Santa Maria della Vita – € 3,00 for groups and people under 18 years old;
– free offer for Saint Dominique’s and Saint Stephen’s Churches.
Is it necessary to book the entrance at the monuments?
For Saint Dominique’s Church, reservations are recommended for groups calling +39 051 6400411.
Is it possible to pay the tickets in advance or with credit card?
Yes, except the free offer for Saint Dominique’s and Saint Stephen’s Churches.
Where are the tourist information offices?
In Piazza Maggiore under the arcades of Palazzo del Podestà (Bologna Welcome).
Are there public toilets?
Yes, there are several public toilets in the city all for € 0.50. The closest toilets to Piazza Maggiore are next to Palazzo d’Accursio, in Via IV Novembre, or at Sala Borsa in Piazza del Nettuno.