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What to do in Bologna in one day?

Come with us to get to know this amazing city! If you have little time to visit Italy, see here the One-Day Tour in Bologna that we set up with the main attractions of the city.


What to do in Bologna in one day?

Bologna, the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, is located on the Padana Plain, just before the Apennine Mountains. It is an ancient city, inhabited since the beginning of its history by the Etruscans. In the medieval period, it was already one of the most important university centers. Anyway, what to do in Bologna in one day? Short time, isn’t it? However, here we select the best for you to do in just one day. Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patricia you make the trip of your dreams!!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”


For those staying in Bologna for just one day, the visit should be brief. However, it is possible to get an idea of ​​the warm and ancient climate of the city through a quick and essential route, concentrated around the center and the Piazza Grande (“Great Square”). There we find the grand Basilica of St Petronius and the main palaces of medieval Bologna (the Podestà , the headquarters of the City Hall and the Notary Public). However, here we try to bring together the best for you to do without losing the best of Bologna. Shall we? My advice: take a walking tour of the City Center to learn more about the history of the place, click here to find out more!

1) What to do in Bologna in one day? VISIT THE FOUNTAIN OF NEPTUNE

We will start our tour in the most representative part of Bologna: the Historic Center. This is where the greatest monuments in the city are located. One of them is the beautiful Fountain of Neptune, located in the square of the same name. Because of the greatness of the statue, the Bolognese nicknamed it “Giant”. Designed by architect Tommaso Laurenti, the statue was later made by the skilled hands of Gianbologna (Flemish sculptor Jean de Boulogne, known as Giambologna, who at the time worked for the Medici family in Florence). Find out more about Bologna by clicking here!

2) What to do in Bologna in one day? VISIT THE PALACE OF KING ENZIO

Also in this square of the Fountain of Neptune, it is possible to visit the Palace of King Enzio, whose construction dates back to 1200. Built to be the city’s Palace of Justice, the building (also known as the New Palace) is named after King Enzio from Sardinia, son of Frederick II of Germania, captured during the battle Fossalta (1249), who remained here with all honors for twenty-three years, until his death.

3) What to do in Bologna in one day? VISIT PIAZZA GRANDE

A little further on, we will reach Piazza Grande, where the Basilica dedicated to Saint Petronius, the patron saint of the city, reigns. Inside the left nave, there is an unmissable fresco: Mohammed in Hell. Now, we are going back to the square to admire the beautiful palaces, such as the Podestà Palace (the oldest), the Palace of King Enzio and the Palace of the Banks. Piazza Grande is one of the most charming medieval squares in Italy, all surrounded by the beautiful portico of the Pavaglione and the wonderful and unfinished Basilica of St Petronius. The Podestà Palace, today, is home to the most important offices in the city. It is certainly worth visiting the interior of the palace, where the Municipal Library is today – it is possible to visit it by reservation to see the Etruscan relics of old Bononia.

4) What to do in Bologna in one day? VISIT THE CHURCH OUR LADY OF LIFE

We continue our tour at the Church of Our Lady of Life, on Via delle Clavature, which is just to the right of the basilica; it will not be difficult to find it. Here we can admire the beautiful collection of sculptures of the Lamentation of the Virgin on the Body of Christ, a work by Niccolò dell’Arca, one of the most important in the history of art.

5) What to do in Bologna in one day? VISIT THE TOWERS OF THE CITY

From Piazza Grande, we take Via Rizzoli to access the famous towers of the city, both pending, better known as Garisenda Tower (also mentioned by Dante in Divine Comedy) and Asinelli Tower (used as a watchtower in World War II). The lowest tower (Garisenda Tower) is 48 meters high and has a slope of 3.22 meters – it cannot be visited from the inside; the tallest tower (Asinelli Tower) is almost 100 meters high (97.20 – to be exact!), you can climb on top of it (there are almost 500 steps) and its inclination is 2.23 meters.

6) What to do in Bologna in one day? VISIT THE SANTO ESTÊVÃO COMPLEX

At this point, should we miss St Stephen complex? Of course no! Because it is one of the most important, beautiful and picturesque places in the city. The square, with its mansions equipped with porches, deserves a stop. Then, of course, you have to squeeze into the crowd in the church (actually, in the seven churches) and be enchanted by so many curiosities related to this fascinating place. After all, it is worth dedicating a visit to one of the most charming and rich places in the city, with its countless churches, chapels and courtyards.

The legend

According to legend, Bishop Petronius (patron of the city), after a visit to the Holy Land, wished to reproduce the seven churches in Bologna. After several relocations, the churches have remained until today: the Crucifix, the Holy Sepulcher and the Saints Vitale e Agricola. Also worth a visit is the Archiginnasio, one of the most important palaces in the city, which was the seat of the old university from 1563 to 1803. The Palace was built by Cardinal Borromeu between 1562 and 1563, under the design of the architect Antonio Morandi (also known as Terribilia ) to host the University Teaching Schools (Law and Arts). Until 1803, it was the seat of the University and since 1838 it houses the Municipal Library.

Construction Details

Between one attraction and another, keep your eyes wide open to observe the details hidden in the facades of the houses or in other unlikely places – among them, the romantic little window on the canal stands out. On Via Zamboni, walking towards Via Indipendenza, we discover another unexpected Bologna, where water passes underground (and which until two centuries ago were still open canals). Under the portico of Via Piella, a small window opens with an air of Venice: water wets the foundation of the houses. This little part of the city is known as “little Venice”. Among the palaces, it is possible to see one of the few streams passing between the beginning of the 20th century and the period after the World War was not covered with asphalt.

7) What to do in Bologna in one day? VISIT THE QUADRILATERO

To return to the square, we will walk along Via Indipendenza, the big shopping street, and then, behind Piazza Grande, we will have a little fun strolling through the streets of the old shops: the Quadrilatero. After having explored Bologna, “the Scholar”, we will dedicate our time to Bologna, “the fat one”, with good dishes of local cuisine. Here, during the day we find stalls of various types of food, from fruit to fresh fish (from the nearby Adriatic Sea), from capelete and sausage to sweets.

At night, before dinner, these streets transform and the emporiums give way to bars and cafeterias, where the Bolognese have an aperitif at the end of the day. At this point, our tour of Bologna is ending, we must say goodbye to the city, hoping for a next visit, perhaps with more days available. Visit our section on Food in Italy!

Let’s get to know a little more about Bologna?

The city is full of ancient works of art, with an intense cultural life and a very interesting historical heritage. Very famous for its porches that cover much of the historic center, built to offer greater comfort to the distinguished scholars and scholars who came from all over Europe; it is much more comfortable to walk quietly on rainy days. LEARN MORE ABOUT BOLOGNA!


The greatest civilizations of all time passed through its territory, such as the Etruscans, the Celts and finally, the Romans – soon becoming the center of culture; it is not by chance that his nickname is “the Scholar”. This is also thanks to its University, one of the oldest in the world, which still receives thousands of students today. Bologna is one of the most beautiful and fascinating cities in Italy; planning a cultural itinerary is the ideal way to discover its historical and artistic heritage. Considering the significant amount of items to see that the city offers, it is essential to organize yourself well so as not to miss the most important attractions.

Map with the attractions in Bologna

What to do in Bologna in one day?
Source Google Maps

How to get to Bologna?

Bologna is considered one of the main Italian cities for its strategic location, with rail and road connections.

1) How to get to Bologna? BY AIRPLANE

Bologna Airport, Guglielmo Marconi, is 6 km away from the city center and offers the best international airlines and low-cost flights across Europe. Aerobus provide the shuttle service, which connects the airport to Bologna’s train station.

However, if you are arriving from other airports, also read our Special Posts on Airports in Italy:

2) How to get to Bologna? BY TRAIN

Bologna Central Station is known not only as one of the largest railway interconnections in Italy, but also in Europe. It is located close to the historic center and less than 3 km from the Convention Center. A very effective public transport system connects the city quickly to different areas, both the center and the periphery.

If you prefer to go by train, Sicily is linked to the rest of the peninsula by the national group of State Railways – Trenitalia; railways connect all Sicilian provinces. Also find out “What is the difference between trains in Italy?”. Would you like to save? So buy your ticket online in advance and save a lot, read the Post “How to buy a train ticket in Italy?“.

Watch this video and learn: What is the average cost of a day in Italy?

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