What to see in Bologna and surroundings in 7 days

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Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Bologna, known as the Red, the Fat and the Learned, is the capital of Emilia Romagna. The city is indeed known all over the world for the colors of the historic houses, ranging from reddish, orange and ocher, for its rich and tasty cuisine and for the University, theAlma Mater Studiorum, the oldest in the Western world. Bologna is full of life, among the streets full of students, museums and cultural centers, and is the ideal destination for those who want to enjoy a lively and young place, but at the same time ancient and capable of preserving its history.

Ready to discover it with us? Here what to see in Bologna and surroundings in 7 days!


  1. 1 day
  2. 2 day
  3. 3 day
  4. 4 day
  5. 5 day
  6. 6 day
  7. 7 day
  8. How much does a week cost in Bologna
  9. Before leaving: useful tips
  10. User questions and comments

1 day

The heart of Bologna certainly beats in Piazza Maggiore, then start strolling in this beautiful rectangular square, overlooked by the Palazzo Comunale (Palazzo d'Accursio), Palazzo Re Enzo, Palazzo dei Banchi and the Basilica of San Petronio, which you can visit for free. Although it remained unfinished, the basilica is one of the largest in Europe. It is open every day from 8:00 to 13:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00.

Now enter the small streets full of clubs and shops and reach the tables of Zerocinquantino, where you can taste the famous cutting boards with local products (spending about € 12,00).
Head towards the busy Via Rizzoli e you come up to the famous Torre degli Asinelli, 97,23 meters high and located next to the lowest one, that of Garisenda. You can climb all 498 steps of the Asinelli Tower and see the magnificent panorama of the city, paying a ticket of € 5,00. Access is obviously controlled to avoid too many people inside: it is accessed every 45 minutes, and the Tower is open from 8:30 to 18:30.
Continue towards Via Zamboni, the university street and stop for a tour in the former Jewish ghetto, which still retains its original structure, with narrow alleys and small courtyards. Then visit the Jewish Museum, inside a 500th century building (€ 7,00, open from 10:00 to 18:00). Now go to the noisy Piazza Verdi, the student square, and take advantage of a visit to the Municipal Theater, an architectural heritage of great prestige (cost of guided tour € 8,00).

For dinner, sit at the tables of To Steki, where you can savor excellent Greek cuisine, spending around € 18,00.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 1,2 km / 14 min
  • Places visited: Piazza Maggiore (free), Basilica of San Petronio (free), Torre degli Asinelli (€ 5,00), Jewish Museum (€ 7,00), Piazza Verdi (free), Teatro Comunale di Bologna (€ 8,00)
  • Daily shopping: € 50,00
  • Torre degli Asinelli and private tasting tour from Piazza Maggiore to the Two Towers
  • Lunch at Zerocinquantino (Get directions), Dinner at To Steki (Get directions)

2 day

In Bologna, not well known by tourists, there is the Church of Santa Maria della Vita. It is a small baroque style church, dating back to the 7th century, located near Piazza Maggiore. Inside there is the sculptural work of Niccolò dell'Arca, the "Lamentation of the dead Christ", whose beauty leaves you amazed. It is open on weekdays from 30:19 to 30:16, on holidays from 30:19 to 00:, closed in August.
A few minutes walk away you can dedicate yourself to the visit of Palazzo Pepoli, where the Museum of the History of Bologna is located (ticket cost € 5,00, open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 19:00).

For lunch, stop at Casa Minghetti, where you can taste something typical in the homonymous square, in a very elegant setting (cost around € 25,00).
Now enter the Municipal Library of the Archiginnasio, of which it is possible to visit the Anatomical Theater and the Stabat Mater Hall, paying a ticket of € 3,00 (opening hours 10: 00/19: 00).
Stroll towards Galleria Caovur, the place for luxury shopping. At the end of the Gallery you will be in Piazza Cavour, in the center of which there is a small public garden, rest on a bench, eating an ice cream or enjoying a good coffee.
Continue your tour by going now in Piazza San Domenico, where there are two monumental arches in the Gothic style. Here you can visit the homonymous basilica, one of the most important places of worship in Bologna. The remains of the saint are preserved in the Ark of San Domenico, built by Nicola Pisano.

For dinner, take a seat in the SottoSopra tavern, where you can eat a nice plate of tagliatelle with meat sauce, spending about € 20,00 per person.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 1,3 km / 16 min
  • Places visited: Church of Santa Maria della Vita (free), Municipal Library of the Archiginnasio (€ 3,00), Palazzo Pepoli (€ 5,00), Piazza Minghetti (free), Galleria Cavour (free), Piazza Cavour (free), Piazza San Domenico (free), Basilica of San Domenico (free)
  • Daily shopping: € 53,00
  • walking tour of the center
  • Lunch at Casa Minghetti (Get directions), Dinner at SottoSopra Osteria (Get directions)

3 day

In the ancient Via Fondazza yes finds the house of the artist Giorgio Morandi that you can visit, among original objects, audio-video installations and precious documents. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:30, on Thursdays until 22:00, entrance costs € 5,00. Now go and discover one of the many beautiful views of Bologna: Piazza Santo Stefano, a triangular open space paved with pebbles. Here stands the Basilica of Santo Stefano, known as the complex of the "Seven Churches", in fact, inside there are several small places of worship that you can visit by leaving a free offer. It is open from 9:00 to 12:30 and from 14:30 to 19:00.

Have lunch in the elegant Via Santo Stefano, sitting at the tables of the Cesarina restaurant, spending € 22,00.
Then walk to one artificial hill, where the ancient church of San Giovanni in Monte stands. The exterior of the church is in Romanesque style, while the interiors are Gothic and you can also visit the small museum for free which houses important sacred furnishings and furnishings, reliquaries, glass and ceramic artefacts, some paintings and sculptures (from the '300 to '400).
Now walk along the beautiful Via Castiglione, strictly under the arcades and arrive at the Porta. Here you will notice one of the entrances to Giardini Margherita, the main public park in Bologna. Enjoy the sunset lying on the grass or with a drink.

End the day in the hospitable Chalet dei Giardini, surrounded by greenery (spending around € 15,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 2,6 km / 33 min
  • Places visited: Casa Morandi (€ 5,00), Piazza Santo Stefano (free), Basilica of Santo Stefano (free offer), Church of San Giovanni in Monte and Museum (free), Via Castiglione (free), Giardini Margherita (free)
  • Daily shopping: € 42,00
  • private tour to Santo Stefano and food tasting
  • Lunch at the Cesarina Restaurant (Get directions), Dinner at the Chalet dei Giardini Margherita (Get directions)

4 day

Start the day by visiting the elegant Palazzo Fava, in Renaissance style that hosts important exhibitions all year round (€ 10,00, open from 10:00 to 19:00, closed on Mondays) and from which you can admire a beautiful panorama of the city. Continue on Via Indipendenza and enter the Cathedral of San Pietro, in the Baroque style. You can also go up to the bell tower, where there is the large bell weighing 33 quintals (€ 5,00). Back on the main street you will be near the majestic Fountain of Neptune, surrounded by the historian Palazzo Re Enzo, where various events are organized, and from the Salaborsa Library, open from 9:00 to 19:00. Entering the large library you will have the opportunity to visit the underlying archaeological excavations, through a free offer.

Now walk along via Ugo Bassi and if you are hungry, stop at the welcoming Mercato delle Erbe (lunch cost around € 12,00 per person).
Keep walking towards Piazza Malpighi and here you enter the Basilica of San Francesco, dating back to the 6th century, open from 45am to 12pm and from 00pm and 15pm. In the courtyard in front of the church, markets for used and vintage items are often set up.
In nearby Sant'Isaia, however, you can visit the Resistance Museum for free, in which some key events in the history of Bologna and Italy are retraced. Open in the afternoons from 15:30 to 18:30, Saturdays from 10:00 to 13:00.

Towards sunset, stroll along Via del Pratello, the street full of people and clubs where you can stop for an aperitif with tigelle, crescentine and salami. Then take a seat at Capra & CaFlights, spending around € 18,00.
To end the day, relax in the Cavaticcio Park, open from 06:00 to 00:00, which often hosts music events and film festivals.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 2,9 km / 35 min
  • Places visited: Palazzo Fava (€ 10,00), Bell Tower of the Cathedral of San Pietro (€ 5,00), Salaborsa Library and Archaeological Excavations (free offer), Basilica of San Francesco (free), Museum of the Resistance (free), Via del Pratello (free), Cavaticcio Park (free)
  • Daily shopping: € 50,00
  • traditional gastronomic guided tour
  • Lunch at Mercato delle Erbe (Get directions), Dinner at Capra & CaFlights (Get directions)

5 day

In the historic Via d'Azeglio that branches off from Piazza Maggiore, at number 15 there is the house of the Bolognese musician Lucio Dalla, who passed away in 2012. Today his home has become a museum and can be visited by purchasing a ticket of € 13,50 and only by reservation together with a guide.
In front of the Museum there is the Church of San Giovanni Battista dei Celestini, built in the Renaissance style. Inside, the atmosphere exudes a somber and suffused beauty.

Continue your walk in Via de 'Carbonesi and sit down to eat something in the Taverna dei Peccati, spending around € 30,00.
Here you are close to one of the the most residential and refined districts of Bologna, the Saragozza district. You can take advantage of a visit to Palazzo Albergati, a prestigious building that hosts various cultural exhibitions (ticket cost around € 15,00).
Arrived at the door get ready for a very special excursion. In fact, along the uphill road, Via di San Luca, after a distance of 4 km, you will arrive in front of the fascinating Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca. The sanctuary is surrounded by greenery and has a particular elliptical shape.

Admire the panorama of the city and rest while eating tortellini and cutlet alla Petroiana at Vito's tables in San Luca (cost of dinner about € 32,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 4,8 km / 1 h 9 min
  • Places visited: House of Lucio Dalla (€ 13,50), Church of San Giovanni Battista dei Celestini (free), Palazzo Albergati (€ 15,00), Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca (free)
  • Daily shopping: € 90,50
  • train to San Luca and food tasting Sanctuary of San Luca with train and private guide
  • Lunch at Taverna dei Peccati (Get directions), Dinner at Vito in San Luca (Get directions)

6 day

In the university area, there are several interesting museums to visit, as is the case with Poggi Palace, dedicated to sciences, from anatomy to physics (cost € 5,00, opening hours 10: 00/16: 00, closed on Mondays). Nearby there is also the National Picture Gallery, which houses works from the period from the thirteenth to the nineteenth century, by artists such as Raphael, Carracci, Reni, Perugino, Parmigianino, Vasari. The cost of the visit is € 6,00 and is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 to 19:30.
Molto a visit to the Botanical Garden and Herbarium is also interesting, which is nearby. Admission is free, but if you want to take advantage of the guided tour you must pay a contribution of € 5,00.

Have lunch at Baracca Burattini, where you will spend around € 14,00 and then reach the Central Station a few minutes away. Here, board the bus 89 Poretta Terme (ticket cost € 2,90) and after an hour get off at the Riola stop. You will be on a hill in the Northern Apennines and you can visit a truly magical place: Rocchetta Mattei. It is a building that mixes various styles, the result is a castle with eclectic shapes surrounded by nature (cost of the visit € 10,00, open only Saturday and Sunday, from 9:30 to 17:30).

Before returning to the city, stop for dinner in the Da Rotilio restaurant, at the foot of the castle, where you can taste traditional Emilian dishes (cost of dinner about € 30,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 69,9 km / 1 h 38 min by car
  • Places visited: Museum of Palazzo Poggi (€ 5,00), National Picture Gallery (€ 6,00), Botanical Garden and Erbaio (€ 5,00), Riola (bus ticket cost € 2,90), Rocchetta Mattei (€ 10,00 )
  • Daily shopping: € 80,00
  • Lunch at Baracca and Puppets (Get directions), Dinner at Da Rotilio Restaurant (Get directions)

7 day

Dedicate this last day to a trip out of town and take the opportunity to stop along the famous Riviera Romagnola. Then take a train from Central Station, the fastest will cost you around € 13,00 and after 1 hour and 30 minutes you will arrive in Rimini.
Before reaching the sea, take a tour in the center of this pretty and historic city, then go to the Tempio Malatestiano, or the Cathedral of Rimini, where you will find Giotto's crucifix from 1312 (open from 08:30 to 18:30).

Continue your walk towards the center, and stop to eat at La Cantinetta, spending € 25,00. You are two steps away from Piazza Cavour, the main square of the city, ideal for stopping for a coffee. Now head to the Domus del Surgeon, a complex of buildings of Roman origin, among which the villa where a Greek doctor lived in the second century BC stands out, and in which hundreds of surgical instruments are preserved, as well as spectacular mosaics. The visit costs € 7,00, the museum is open from 10:00 to 19:00.

The time has come to enjoy the sunset on the seafront which you can reach in about twenty minutes and then dine in the Alla Buona restaurant, taking advantage of fish dishes (dinner cost € 35,00). Before returning to Bologna, treat yourself to a nice ride on the Ferris wheel on the beach, from where you will have a beautiful view of the Riviera (€ 6,00, opening hours from 10:00 to midnight).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 122 km / 1 h 24 min by car including travel from / to Bologna
  • Places visited: Rimini (train ticket cost € 13,00), Tempio Malatestiano (free), Piazza Cavour (free), Domus delirurgho (€ 7,00), Rimini seafront (free), Ferris wheel (€ 6,00)
  • Daily shopping: € 74,00
  • Rimini: private walking tour with a local guide
  • Lunch at La Cantinetta (Get directions), Dinner at Alla Buona (Get directions)

How much does a week cost in Bologna

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

Bologna is a very attractive city, not only from a strictly aesthetic point of view, but also for what concerns the cultural movements that animate it. This is amply demonstrated by the large number of museums and exhibitions scattered around the city, and entry is often free.

Staying in peripheral areas such as Bologna Fiere is possible find accommodation at remarkably low prices, but if you prefer to stay in the center, you are likely to find a B&B or a hostel with not too high costs. The Marconi airport, not far from the city center, is well served by international flights and also with low cost airlines. Finally, in Bologna, you can eat well and a lot without ever spending an exorbitant amount.

  • starting from € 55,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 40,00 per room -
  • tour of the Cathedral of San Petronio and panoramic terrace private tour from Piazza Maggiore to the Due Torri tour with wine tasting in an ancient inn
  • Total cost of a week, flight included: from € 750,00 per person

Before leaving: useful tips

  • When to visit Bologna: all the year. The months with the most favorable temperatures are from May to October, while the winter can be particularly harsh but completely unbearable. The hottest months are July and August
  • the airport is well connected with the rest of the world. To reach the center you need to use the Areobus, a shuttle that takes 20 minutes to get to the central station. The cost of the ticket is € 6,00
  • in the historic center there are the major attractions, but the prices are higher than in other areas, such as the university, very lively and not suitable for families. An alternative for those who want to save money and get to the center by public transport is the Bologna Fiere area
  • Getting around: on foot, also because this is the only way to enjoy walks under the long arcades. For other journeys you can use the Tper bus service, the single ticket costs € 1,30
  • Recommended cards and passes: Bologna WelcomeCard is the tourist card that allows you to have discounts on admission to various attractions. Based on the number of benefits included, the cost varies from € 25,00 to € 40,00.

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