20 Must-Visit Attractions in Bologna

Bologna from the Top|©Playerest/Flickr
Bologna from the Top|©Playerest/Flickr
Photo of Francesca Masotti
3 December 2017

Besides the great cultural towns, such as Venice, Florence and Rome, Italy is home to gorgeous cities often avoided by tourists. Bologna is one of them. The town is famous for being a university hub and for its amazing nightlife, but there are also plenty of places to see. Let’s read our 20 must-visit attractions to visit when in Bologna.

Asinelli Tower

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Asinelli Tower | ©Cristina Lama/Pixabay
The leaning tower of Pisa may be more famous, but Bologna also has its tower. Asinelli Tower is the town’s largest, most beautiful and famous tower. It is possible to climb to the top of it (there are 498 steps) to enjoy great views over the city. Trust us, after eating in Bologna (which is one of the best culinary destinations of the world) you’ll really need it!

Saint Petronius Church

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The beautiful basilica of San Petronio, located in Piazza Maggiore, is the main church of Bologna. While its façade is still unfinished and it may not be the most beautiful church in Italy, Saint Petronius, in ancient times, was supposed to be the largest church in the world, until the Vatican discovered the plans and retracted the funds for its construction.

Archaeological Museum

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A must-see spot in town is the Archaeological Museum. It may not be famous like others in Italy, but it’s worth a look for its rich collections of prehistoric and Etruscan times found in Bologna and surrounding areas. It also hosts interesting treasures from the Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Celtic civilizations.


The best thing you can do in Bologna is stroll under its famous 666 portici, which are beautiful covered red terracotta arcades. Remember to take some excellent pictures here: the red of terracotta is simply amazing.

Portici of Bologna | ©gustavozini/Pixabay


Another must-see spot for the food-enthusiast is Quadrilatero, the medieval market where visitors can find all sort of Bolognese delicacies. Prepare yourself to be amazed by tortellini, tagliatelle, parmigiana reggiano, ragù (Bolognese sauce) and local wines. Then, remember also to buy a new pair of jeans!


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Did you know that the first university of the Western world was founded in Bologna in 1088? Well, visit the Archiginnasio, which is the first seat of the University of Bologna, and don’t forget to see the Teatro Anatomico, where corpses were once dissected for scientific studies of the human nature, and the library, which is the largest stocked civic library in Italy.

Via Augusto Righi

For a quick lunch, there is no better place to dine than via Augusto Righi in the student quarter, where visitors can eat the best and most famous Bolgonese fast food: piadina. This flatbread filled with cheese and prosciutto is sold everywhere, but the best and cheapest piadine are on this street.

The hills around Bologna

The last thing you have to do in Bologna is to explore the surrounding hills around the town to have magnificent views of the city and spend some relaxing time surrounded by nature. You won’t regret it.

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