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24 hours to explore Bologna? Make the most of limited time in the city with this guide, featuring the essential places to visit and best things to do in Bologna.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nature Lover
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Like a Local

10 Places

9 City Tips

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Map

10 Places

Piazza Maggiore

Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Basilica di San Petronio

Historic Sites, Churches & Cathedrals

Colazione da Bianca

Restaurants

Basilica - Santuario di Santo Stefano

Sacred & Religious Sites, Churches & Cathedrals

Torri degli Asinelli e Garisenda

Observation Decks & Towers, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Museo di Palazzo Poggi

Art Museums

Basilica San Francesco

Sacred & Religious Sites, Historic Sites

Museum of the History of Bologna

History Museums

Giardini Margherita

Other Outdoor Activities

Camera a Sud

Restaurants

TravelElis's City Tips

  • The Bologna Welcome Card gives you free access to many museums for 48 hours, free use of public transport and discounts in some restaurants and shops.
  • For a quick snack as you sight-see, try a 'panino alla mortadella' from one of the many delicatessens around the city center.
  • Don't miss the ice-cream! Gelateria Gianni is one of my favorites — it offers both classic and unusual flavors, as well as sorbets made with seasonal fresh fruit.
  • Bologna is a relatively small city and you can reach all its main attractions on foot: Its long portico is a perfect shelter from summer sun and autumn rain.
  • You can always ride the bus, with options to buy a day ticket or a ten-ride pass.
  • Only authorized cars can enter the city center.
  • There are various taxi stands around the city, including at the train station and in Maggiore Square.
  • Keep your belongings in sight at all times, particularly when you are eating outside or you are in a crowded place.
  • If you rent a bike, always lock both wheels to an immovable object and bear in mind that it is forbidden to cycle under the portico.
  • Piazza Maggiore
    Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    TravelElis Says:

    Piazza Maggiore is an ideal starting point for your visit. It is the heart of the city - all main streets branch off from here - and is surrounded by outstanding buildings and monuments that make this square a very unique place.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Don't miss the Sala Borsa library. Through its glass floor you will enjoy a view of the biggest archeological area of the city.
    • Talk against the wall of the Voltone del Palazzo Re Enzo. Thanks to its perfect sound transmission system, you will be able to communicate from the opposite corners of the gallery!
    • In summer, the square turns into an open air cinema with free arthouse film projections.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #9 of 343 things to do in Bologna
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • must see but very touristic 15/10/2018
    • Piazza Maggiore 15/10/2018
    • Piazza Maggiore
    Address:
    Piazza Maggiore
    Bologna
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 051 231415
    Other:
  • Basilica di San Petronio
    Historic Sites, Churches & Cathedrals
    See more photos
    TravelElis Says:

    This charming church is interesting in part because it has never been completed. Inside, you can admire the Cassini's sundial line – traced in 1655, it is the longest sundial line in the world.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • It is worth visiting the lateral chapel for the amazing fresco painted by Giovanni da Modena, which represents a scene from Dante Alighieri's Inferno.
    • On a sunny day, try to visit the church around noon to see Cassini's calendar based on the height of the sun.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #24 of 343 things to do in Bologna
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Basilica 15/10/2018
    • In Piazza Maggiore and a must do 14/10/2018
    • Basilica di San Petronio
    Address:
    Piazza Maggiore
    40124 Bologna
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 051 231415
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    07:45 - 18:00
    Other:
  • Colazione da Bianca
    Restaurants
    See more photos
    TravelElis Says:

    Time for a cappuccino! Choose this cute coffee shop located in Via Santo Stefano, a few steps away from the seven churches. It's perfect for a mid-morning or afternoon snack (though meal service can be hit or miss). The coffee is very good and the French croissants are delicious.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • It's also an excellent choice for afternoon tea, with a selection of home-made cakes and biscuits on offer.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    • They could do better than this 12/03/2018
    • Inexplicably slow service 12/02/2018
    • Colazione da Bianca
    Address:
    Via Santo Stefano 1
    40125 Bologna
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 051 588 4425
    Hours:
    Sun
    08:30 - 21:00
    Mon
    08:00 - 21:00
    Wed - Thu
    08:00 - 21:00
    Fri
    08:00 - 21:30
    Sat
    08:30 - 21:30
    Other:
  • Basilica - Santuario di Santo Stefano
    Sacred & Religious Sites, Churches & Cathedrals
    See more photos
    TravelElis Says:

    Also know as Sancta Jerusalem Bononiensis, this is the most suggestive religious place in the city. It is interesting to see the different architectural styles of each building; in particular, the Chiesa dei Sepolcri stands out for its impressive Romanic style.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Osteria dell'Infedele is another little gem, very close to the church and ideal for a drink or a snack. Expect a rustic and cozy atmosphere.
    • Grab a delicious take-away sandwich from Salumeria La Cotica in Via Farini, just a few steps away from Santo Stefano Square.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 343 things to do in Bologna
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful jumble of churches 15/10/2018
    • one of the better 11/10/2018
    • Basilica - Santuario di Santo Stefano
    Address:
    Via Santo Stefano 24
    Piazza S.Stefano - Bologna
    40125 Bologna
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 051 223256
    Other:
  • Torri degli Asinelli e Garisenda
    Observation Decks & Towers, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    TravelElis Says:

    These two towers are the symbol of Bologna. From the top, you will enjoy a breath-taking view and, on a clear day, you can even see the Mediterranean Sea. Be ready for a bit of a workout though: there are 498 steps to climb first!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Just in front of the towers is the famous Feltrinelli book shop, where you can find many interesting books about Bologna's history.
    • Check out the other less touristy towers that are still intact and open for visits: Altabella Tower, Prendiparte Tower and Guidozagni Tower.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #11 of 343 things to do in Bologna
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • The Two Towers 15/10/2018
    • Twin towers 14/10/2018
    • Torri degli Asinelli e Garisenda
    Address:
    Piazza di Porta Ravegnana
    40126 Bologna
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 041 2960 8401
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:30 - 17:45
    Other:
  • Museo di Palazzo Poggi
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    TravelElis Says:

    Located in Via Zamboni, the heart of the University District, this museum hosts the collections and laboratories of the ancient Science Institute, which was founded in the 18th century. The amazing wall paintings represent an outstanding example of Bologna art.

    Good for
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • On the same street, have a look at the San Giacomo Church and the Oratory of Santa Cecilia.
    • The University District, very popular for its bars and restaurants, is one of the most lively parts of the city.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #17 of 343 things to do in Bologna
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • One of the best museums I’ve ever been to! 13/10/2018
    • Waxing lyrical 26/08/2018
    • Museo di Palazzo Poggi
    Address:
    Via Zamboni 33
    40126 Bologna
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 051 209 9610
    Hours:
    Tue - Fri
    10:00 - 16:00
    Sat - Sun
    10:00 - 18:00
    Other:
  • Basilica San Francesco
    Sacred & Religious Sites, Historic Sites
    See more photos
    TravelElis Says:

    This Gothic gem, with its beautiful facade and wonderful interior, was refurbished between the 19th and 20th centuries. Beside the church, you'll also find the monumental graves of the first professors of the University of Bologna.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • History Buff
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • This church offers a moment of calm and peace from the bustle of the surrounding area. When you're ready to get back to it, Via del Pratello is famous for its taverns and bars.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #30 of 343 things to do in Bologna
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • The least exciting ones i’d visited 14/10/2018
    • Another lovely church looked afte by Franciscan friars go behind the altar 13/10/2018
    • Basilica San Francesco
    Address:
    Piazza San Francesco 14
    40122 Bologna
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 051 221762
    Other:
  • Museum of the History of Bologna
    History Museums
    See more photos
    TravelElis Says:

    This museum illustrates the long and rich history of Bologna, from the Etruscan times to the 20th century. The setup is very modern and interactive with informative 3D animated videos. Although most of the printed informational material is in Italian, many rooms have summary sheets in English and other languages.

    Good for
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • On Thursdays, the museum stays open until 10:00pm with free entry from 7:00pm onwards.
    • Themed tours are held on Thursdays, with a different topic each week.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #31 of 343 things to do in Bologna
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Very modern & thoughtfully presented 20/09/2018
    • Not much to see and staff are unfriendly 31/08/2018
    • Museum of the History of Bologna
    Address:
    Via Castiglione 8
    40124 Bologna
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 051 1993 6370
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    10:00 - 19:00
    Other:
  • Giardini Margherita
    Other Outdoor Activities
    See more photos
    TravelElis Says:

    After a long day of sightseeing, this is the right spot to relax and have a break from the bustle of the city. Located 'fuori porta' (outside the gateways) as a local would say, the Margherita Gardens is Bologna's biggest park, extending over 26 hectares.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Reaching the park is easy: it is a 15-minute walk from the city center, or you can take the bus.
    • The park is open until midnight from April to September, and until 6:00pm in the winter.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 20 Outdoor Activities in Bologna
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Walk and talk in a great park close to the city 09/10/2018
    • Great for a stop off 25/08/2018
    • Giardini Margherita
    Address:
    Viale Gozzadini
    Bologna
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 051 333303
    Hours:
    Sat - Wed
    08:00 - 02:00
    Other:
  • Camera a Sud
    Restaurants (Italian, Mediterranean, Wine Bar, Bar)
    See more photos
    TravelElis Says:

    To finish your day with a smile, pop in to trendy bar Camera a Sud, a hidden gem in the Jewish ghetto. Funky decor, shelves of books and vintage armchairs create a cozy and cool atmosphere. You can choose from a wide selection of wines and beers as well as gourmet food.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Like a Local
    • Trendsetter
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • If you go for dinner, book a table to avoid disappointment. It is very popular and usually busy in the evenings.
    From the community
    Ranked #265 of 1,666 restaurants in Bologna
    • Made a point to come back. 13/05/2018
    • Trendy setting and a nice surprise 24/02/2018
    • Camera a Sud
    Address:
    Via Valdonica 5
    40126 Bologna
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 051 095 1448
    Hours:
    Sun
    12:00 - 23:00
    Mon - Sat
    12:00 - 01:00
    Other:
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