What to see in Bologna and surroundings in 5 days

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Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Bologna, also known as "the learned, the fat and the red", is the capital of Emilia Romagna. It is a city of modest size, comfortable and easy to get around on foot, but full of things to see. From Piazza Maggiore to its famous arcades, from the Statue of Neptune to its famous towers, Bologna reserves pleasant surprises even at the table, thanks to a tasty and highly appreciated culinary tradition. Its main feature, however, is that it is full of cultural stimuli and attractions, so much so that in 2006 it was included in the special list of "Unesco Creative Cities".

Arm yourself with comfortable shoes and find out what to see in Bologna and surroundings in 5 days.


  1. 1 day
  2. 2 day
  3. 3 day
  4. 4 day
  5. 5 day
  6. How much does it cost 5 days
  7. Before leaving: useful tips
  8. User questions and comments

1 day

For a first approach to the city we always suggest a guided walking tour of the center, to frame the main landmarks together with a local guide.
It starts from Piazza Maggiore, the main square of the city. Here is the Basilica of San Petronio, a never-finished church, with a small museum inside and a panoramic terrace (Mon-Thu 7: 45-13: 00 and 14: 00-18: 00, Fri-Sun 7: 45-18: 00; terrace Fri-Sun 10: 00-13: 00 and 15:00 to -18: 00). Not far away is the Fountain of Neptune, which depicts the divinity that citizens call "The Giant" due to its size.
Stop for lunch at Sfoglia Rina (€ 18,00).

In just 3 minutes you can reach the Civic Archaeological Museum (Tue-Fri 9: 00-18: 00, Sat, Sun and holidays 10: 00-18: 30) with its collection of artifacts from prehistoric times to the present day. After your visit, stroll along via dell'Archiginnasio for some shopping, until you reach the Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio. It is about one of the most significant buildings in the city (Mon-Fri 10: 00-18: 00, Sat 10: 00-19: 00, Sun and holidays 10: 00-14: 00).

Dinner at the Vicolo Colombina Restaurant (€ 30,00). You can return to Piazza Maggiore to enjoy the center as the sun goes down.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 1,7 km / 21 min
  • Places visited: Piazza Maggiore (free), Basilica of San Petronio (free, € 2,00 contribution to take photos; terrace and Chapel of the Magi € 3,00 each), Fountain of Neptune (free), Civic Archaeological Museum (€ 5,00 , 3,00), Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio (€ )
  • Daily shopping: € 61,00
  • tour of the Cathedral of San Petronio and panoramic terrace
  • Lunch at Sfoglia Rina (Get directions), Dinner at Vicolo Colombina Restaurant (Get directions)

2 day

The first stop on the second day is the visit to the two leaning towers. I'm the symbol of the city, although it is possible to visit only the Torre degli Asinelli (9: 30-18: 30, € 5,00) climbing the 498 steps to admire, once at the top, a fantastic panorama.
A short distance away, and walking north, you will discover the ancient Jewish Ghetto, which still retains its original structure today. To find out more about the Jewish community of Bologna visit the Jewish Museum (Sun-Thu 10: 00-18: 00, Fri 10: 00-16: 00).
It's time for lunch, proceed north until you reach the Matusel Restaurant (€ 30,00).

Not far away is the National Art Gallery, which it preserves works by artists who have lived and worked in Bologna and Emilia Romagna between the 8th and 30th centuries (Tue-Sun 19: 30-8: 30, midweek holidays 19: 30-: , closed Mon). Every Friday and Saturday, from dawn to dusk, the Piazzola Market takes place in the huge Piazza Mercato. Here, and in the nearby Via dell'Indipendenza, you can give vent to your desire for shopping by finding the perfect souvenir.
End the day at the Donatello Restaurant (€ 25,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 2,1 km / 25 min
  • Places visited: Torre della Garisenda (free exterior), Torre degli Asinelli (€ 5,00), ancient Jewish Ghetto (free), Jewish Museum of Bologna (€ 7,00), National Picture Gallery (€ 6,00), Piazzola Market (free) ), via dell'Indipendenza (free)
  • Daily shopping: € 75,00
  • Torre degli Asinelli and tasting
  • Lunch at Matusel Restaurant (Get directions), Dinner at Donatello Restaurant (Get directions)

3 day

The third day begins in the name of art, with a visit to the MAMbo, the Museum of Modern Art and seat of the Institution Gallerie d'Arte Moderna di Bologna (Tue-Sun and holidays 10: 00-18.30, Thu until 22:00). Head south until you reach the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Vita, a small and little-known church that it still retains one of the greatest masterpieces of Italian sculpture, or the "Lamentation of the Dead Christ", by Niccolò dell'Arca (Tue-Sun 10: 00-19: 00).
For lunch, stop at Osteria Le Sette Chiese (€ 25,00).

Not far away is the Basilica of Santo Stefano (every day 9: 15-18: 00, in summer until 19:15), which is part of the complex of the Seven Churches. Less than 10 minutes away is the Basilica of San Domenico, one of the most important places of worship in the city which also preserves the remains of the Saint.

Before dinner, take a few moments to relax at Giardini Margherita, il busiest and largest city park from Bologna. For dinner, stop by Il Pellegrino (€ 25,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 4,6 km / 57 min
  • Places visited: MAMbo (€ 6,00), Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Vita (free, Lamentation € 4,00), Basilica of Santo Stefano (free offer), Basilica of San Domenico (free), Giardini Margherita (free)
  • Daily shopping: € 60,00
  • Lunch at Osteria Le Sette Chiese (Get directions), Dinner at Il Pellegrino (Get directions)

4 day

La Basilica of San Luca, which stands on one of the hills of the city, is one of the places not to be missed when visiting Bologna. You can get there with a comfortable tourist train, the San Luca Express, which departs from Piazza Maggiore (active 10: 00-18: 00, € 10,00).
In the Saragozza district, a short distance from the Sanctuary, there is the Monumental Cemetery of the Certosa, with some important figures of national and city history, including the painter Giorgio Morandi, the Nobel Prize for literature Giosuè Carducci and the singer Lucio Dalla.

At lunch you have a special opportunity, visit and taste the specialties of FICO Eataly World, the largest food park in the world (every day 10: 00-23: 00). To get there, a special line has been created, the F-Ficobus, which connects the Central Station and the center of Bologna with the park (runs every 30 minutes every day 9: 00-20: 30), the bus makes a stop also in via Indipendenza (single ride € 5,00, round trip € 7,00). For lunch you are only spoiled by the Celt, we recommend the Osteria dei Borghi più Belli d'Italia (€ 25,00). Dedicate yourself to the discovery of this unique place, get to know and learn the culture, traditions and crafts they make the most famous italian food in the world. You can try different experiences, such as the ice cream course and the one for making bread.

We recommend that you spend the afternoon here with a tour of the park with tastings, until dinner, where we recommend L'Acetaia - Trattoria Gnocco e Tigelle (€ 20,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 16,5 km / 3 h 35 min
  • Places visited: Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca and Portici (free), Monumental Cemetery of the Certosa (free), FICO Eataly World (free, bus F-Ficobus € 7,00 return)
  • Daily shopping: € 75,00
  • FICO Eataly World tour with tasting
  • Lunch at FICO Eataly World - Osteria dei Borghi più Belli d'Italia (Get directions), Dinner at FICO Eataly World - L'Acetaia - Trattoria Gnocco e Tigelle (Get directions)

5 day

Ravenna is a city rich in history, art and culture, located just 79 km from Bologna (by car via the A14 or by regional train, 1 h 10 min, each way € 7,35, or with a comfortable 3-hour tour from Bologna).

The first stop once in the city is the Mausoleum of Theodoric (every day 8: 30-16: 30, in summer until 19:00), with its famous Byzantine mosaics and the park that surrounds it. With a short walk you arrive at the Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra (every day 10: 00-18: 30, closing times may vary at certain times), which underground space a valuable collection of mosaics that make up the flooring.
Stop by Gustavo Bizantino for a piadina (€ 8,00).

In the immediate vicinity there are the Tomb of Dante (every day 10: 00-16: 00), who lived in Ravenna in his last years of life. In the same area of ​​the city there are also the Rasponi Crypt and the Hanging Gardens of the Palazzo della Provincia (times vary often, you can consult them on the official website). In 5 minutes you can also reach the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo (Tue-Oct 9: 00-19: 00, Nov-Feb 10: 00-17: 00). It is about one of the most important religious buildings in Ravenna, which preserves not only the remains of Apollinare, the first bishop of Ravenna, but also other sumptuous mosaics.
With a short walk you can go to Osteria dei Battibecchi for dinner (€ 20,00). Before returning to Bologna, you can end the evening in Piazza del Popolo, one of the main city squares.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 164 km / 2 h 12 min by car including travel from / to Bologna
  • Places visited: Mausoleum and Park of Theodoric (€ 4,00), Domus of the Stone Carpets (€ 4,00), Dante's Tomb, Rasponi Crypt and Hanging Gardens (€ 2,00), Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo (€ 10,50 , ), Piazza del Popolo (free)
  • Daily shopping: € 75,00
  • Ravenna: Private Guided Tour with Monuments Access From Bologna: 3-Hour Private Ravenna Tour
  • Lunch at Gustavo Bizantino (Get directions), Dinner at Osteria dei Battibecchi (Get directions)

How much does it cost 5 days

NB: The costs expressed in the table above are to be intended per person.

The cost of a week in Bologna is maintained in line with that of other Italian cities. If you come from the north and central Italy, you can save money by taking the train instead of the plane, as the Bologna station is served by high speed.

The variety of hotels, lodges, b & bs and apartments for rent is excellent: even the most central districts offer advantageous offers throughout the year (starting from € 36,00 per room). As for food, it is the item that weighs less on the budget since they can be found in Bologna excellent trattorias offering genuine traditional food at reasonable prices and large portions (on average € 16,00 per person).

  • starting from € 113,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 36,00 per room -
  • tour of the Cathedral of San Petronio and panoramic terrace private tour with a local private tour from Piazza Maggiore to the Two Towers
  • Total cost of 5 days, flight included: from € 523,00 per person

Before leaving: useful tips

  • When to visit Bologna: the climate is moderately temperate, with fairly mild winters and rather hot summers. The most suitable period is therefore mid-season, that is late spring and early autumn
  • the airport is 6 km from the center, reachable by car in about 15 min, by taxi (from € 15,00 to € 25,00) or by BLQ shuttle every 11 min (25 min, € 6,00 ride). The train station is in the center, a stone's throw from via Indipendenza, also close to the bus station
  • being a rather small city, all the neighborhoods just outside the center (such as San Vitale and the Porta San Felice area) are great for staying, as they allow you to reach it on foot or are well connected by bus lines
  • Getting around: the city is perfect to be visited on foot or by bicycle. By bus, the time ticket in the urban area costs € 1,50, the day ticket € 6,00, the city pass valid for 10 trips in the urban area lasting 75 minutes € 14,00
  • Recommended cards and passes: Bologna Welcome Card available in EASY (€ 25,00) and PLUS (€ 40,00) solutions, free access to many of the main places in the city, depending on the solution chosen

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