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Bologna Travel Essentials

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"Historic capital of North Italy"

Bologna Tourism

Bologna is the largest city in the Emilia-Romagna region in north Italy; the city is nicknamed 'the learned one,' referring to the oldest university in Europe located in Bologna and 'the fat one' or 'food capital of Italy,' referring to the culinary cuisine. Bologna is also a UNESCO 'city of music.'

Bologna boasts a well-preserved medieval city center with beautiful architecture. The city is known for its elegant porticoes – covered walkways lining the streets, making it pleasant to explore on foot, especially during hot or rainy weather. The Two Towers, Asinelli and Garisenda, are iconic landmarks that dominate the city skyline. It also housed the University of Bologna which is the oldest university in the Western world.

Bologna is renowned for its delicious cuisine, with dishes such as Bolognese sauce (ragù), tortellini, and mortadella originating from the region. The city is home to numerous traditional osterias, trattorias, and markets where visitors can savor authentic Italian flavors.

Bologna's central location in Italy makes it an excellent base for exploring other cities in the region, such as Florence, Venice, and Milan. The city is well-connected by train and road, making it easy for tourists to explore the surrounding areas.

Must Know Before You Travel to Bologna

  • Getting Around: Bologna has an efficient and well-connected public transportation system. Consider purchasing a Bologna Welcome Card, which provides unlimited access to buses and discounts on museums and attractions.
  • Siesta Time: In Italy, many businesses close for a few hours in the afternoon during siesta time. Plan your activities around this, and consider having a leisurely lunch during this period.
  • Tap Water: Bologna generally has high-quality tap water. Look out for public fountains scattered around the city. You can refill your water bottle at these fountains, saving money and reducing plastic waste.
  • Public Restrooms: Public restrooms can be found in various parts of the city, including near major attractions, train stations, and parks. Some may require a small fee for access.
  • Pickpocket Awareness: Like in any tourist destination, be mindful of pickpockets, especially in crowded areas and on public transportation. Keep your belongings secure, and use anti-theft measures like money belts or neck pouches.

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Shopping in Bologna

Shopping in any Italian city is a unforgettable experience, and you have to look in every nook and corner, street and alley to get the best buys. Don't forget to buy locally made pastas and the plentiful varieties of cheeses. One street to visit if you're a shopaholic is the via San Felice with quite a few small vendors and stores selling dresses, shoes and art.

Nightlife in Bologna

There are several pubs, resto-pubs and wineries in and around Bologna, especially near the universty zone like the popular Irish Pub. There are several student joints that boast of a vibrant nighlife, such as Piazza Verdi. In the north east of the city, near Via Mascarella, are a few good jazz clubs. Other pubs include Celtic Druid Pub and Bar Wolf.

History of Bologna

Inhabited since the iron age, it was then under the Roman leadership. Bologna has struggled for autonomy at many points, as it was ruled by various kings and the church. Throughout the centuries, Bologna has been occupied by various ethnicities, the Lombards, Austrians, French etc and if you visit Bologna today, you can still fragments of influence left behind. Bologna has been home to several artists and painters, including Leonardo (of the famed Mona Lisa painting) and scientists such as Galvani and Marconi.

Daily Budget for Bologna

Per day costs in Bologna for a budget trip can start from EUR 100. These costs include three meals a day, some alcohol, transportation and entry passes for attractions. Eating in fancy restaurants, shopping, and other small upgrades can almost double that amount per day. Luxury travel in Bologna can start at EUR 200.

Exchanging Money in Bologna

Exchanging currency in Bologna is not difficult, however, in terms of exchange rates, you may not get a good deal. As with most big cities of Italy, there are several exchange booths and before doing any transaction, ask for that day's rate and any fee, if applicable. A better alternative is to use your ATM card to withdraw money in local currency. Most ATMs in Bologna accept foreign cards.

Best Time to Visit Bologna

How to Reach Bologna

How to Reach Overview

Bologna is served by the Guglielmo Marconi (Bologna) International Airport, very close to the city. And due to it's gepgraphical location, it's common to reach Bologna by rail.

How to reach Bologna by flight

Bologna is well connected by air to both important cities in Italy as well as all over the world. Some of the common routes were via Roma, Istanbul, Moscow etc. Alitalia has cheap flights to Bologna from Rome.

How to reach Bologna by road

You can also rent a car from the main cities, but parking in Bologna can be very difficult to find. Renting a taxi is relatively easy, and roads to Bologna are good.

How to reach Bologna by train

Due to it's central location, Bologna is connected to all main cities in Italy such as Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan.

How to reach Bologna by bus

There are several buses that depart from the capital city Rome to Bologna from Roma Tiburtina or V.Salaria,665.

How to reach Bologna by waterways

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Local transport in Bologna

Bike is the most famous and convenient form of transport and most tourists rent a bike - with many places in Bologna renting out bikes. Walking is also much recommended, as there are easy to undertsand road signs everywhere in Bologna. All you have to get is a map from the tourist information centre and orient yourself to major landmarks.

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FAQs on Bologna

What is the best time to visit Bologna?

Apart from August, when the summer is harsh and most of the shops and hotels are closed owing to holidays, and July, which can be particularly hot too, March to October is a perfect time to visit this beautiful city. There are plenty of outdoor drinking and dining options in the city for which the warm weather is a huge plus. If you intend to see Bologna in all of it's christmas glory, December mid is a great time to visit the city, even though teh winers can be cold. You would have to definitey wear a scarf, coat and boots.
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What are the places near Bologna?

The top places near to Bologna are Florence which is 80 km from Bologna, Venice which is located 130 km from Bologna, Siena which is located 130 km from Bologna, Rome which is located 303 km from Bologna, Milan which is located 201 km from Bologna

What are the top hotels in Bologna?

There are 1861 in Bologna which can be booked through Holidify. The most popular hotels in Bologna are Casa Maria Orri, The Frog's Hideaway, Appartamento Dossetti 21, Cavour Apartment, B&B Griffoni 7, Villa Bí nel centro. You can see all the hotels in Bologna here

What is the best way to reach Bologna?

Bologna is served by the Guglielmo Marconi (Bologna) International Airport, very close to the city. And due to it's gepgraphical location, it's common to reach Bologna by rail.
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What is the local food in Bologna?

Bologna is often referred to as the food capital of Italy, a gastronomic trate for anyone who visit the city. Trattoria di via Serra, a top rated eaterie in Bologna, is extremely popular with tourists. The tortelloni is a well appreciated dish, apart from their other traditional dishes. Other fast food and cheap options include II Panino and Pizzartist. They serve mostly Italian and Meditarrarean options - and the food is delicious. Bologna is famous foe the Bolognese cuisine, centred around the Bolognese sauce. While in Bologna, a must try is their lasgna or pasta with Bolognese sauce.
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