City tour Bologna

Experience 3,000 years’ worth of history

Various people ruled Bologna starting as far back as in the Late Bronze Age. Museums and architecture feature testaments to different cultures still dominating the cityscape. Impressive church buildings, remnants of the once mighty dynasty towers and sites of the world’s oldest university line every walk through Bologna. The city tour by ZAINOO leads to the most beautiful spots of Emilia-Romagna’s capital including a few insiders’ tips here and there.

Tour through Bologna

  • The imposing Basilica di San Francesco west of the city centre is the starting point of the tour. A fascinating Gothic construction lies behind the Romanesque façade. Via Porta Nuova and Via IV Novembre lead the way to the centre of Bologna.
  • Neptune’s Fountain with a massive bronze statue of the god of sea rises on Piazza del Nettuno. Palazzo Comunale, Bologna’s city hall, lies right next to it. Two museums inside it are dedicated to famous artists of the city.
  • The meeting place of many Bolognese is only a few steps away. Piazza Maggiore is the city’s main square lined by many palazzi worth seeing. It is the hub of Bologna’s city life.
  • The largest brick church and overall fifth-largest church of the world is located on the southern end of the Piazza. Even though Basilica di San Petronio was never finished, the monumental, incomplete façade that hides many a treasure continues to wow visitors.
  • Next up after Piazza Maggiore: Via dell’Archiginnasio. Museo Civico Archeologio grants deep insights into Bologna’s early history. Archiginnasio, only a couple of houses away, used to be the university seat. The wainscoted anatomic theatre on the first floor is among the most fascinating pieces of scholastic city history.
  • Via Farini leads to Via San Stefano with the eponymous church complex. Also known as “Sette Chiese” among the public, a tour through these four glorious churches with equally impressive outside facilities takes at least an hour.
  • Walking past Parocchia dei Santi Bartolomeo e Gaetano, Piazza Porta Ravegnana is the next stop. The two leaning dynasty towers Torre Asinelli and Torre Garisenda, Bologna’s landmarks, rise here.
  • Exciting the square on the northern side, Via Zambroni leads past Basilica di San Giacomo Maggiore to the university district. Student life aside, there are also cultural highlights to be experienced, such as Teatro Comunale and Palazzo Poggi.
  • Arriving at Pinacoteca Nazionale, the second home of Bologna’s school of painting, the city tour concludes. Time to head back into the centre, for example by taking the popular shopping road Via dell’Indipendenza.

Time for a few detours here and there? Awesome, because Bologna has quite a few highlights in store that lie outside the centre. Museo Ducati opens its gates in the westernmost part of the city. Motorbike enthusiasts will be astonished. The long Via Guglielmo Marconi leads to MAMbo, the museum of modern art. Basilica di San Domenico, a converted mendicant order church south of the city centre, presents many fascinating works of art. Near the church complex San Stefano lies Basilica di Santa Maria di Servi with its unique combination of Gothic patterns and unusual early Christian composition.

A brief hike in the city’s southeast leads through 666 arches. The longest arcade footpath in the world ends on a small hill outside of Bologna, on which Basilica Santuario della Madonna di San Luca with a Byzantine Marian icon is located. It is still a central part of processions.

Tour details

Approximate walking time:


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