My aim is to help you appreciate the beauty of Bologna, its cultural richness, welcoming character and relaxing attitude. Bologna is nominated UNESCO World Heritage City for the PORTICI (arcades), I will show you the most beautiful ones!
HALF DAY – 3 HOURS – 120 EURO
We’ll stroll around the city centre enjoying the amazing Piazza Maggiore, the Archiginnasio Palace, the Medieval Market and the Two Towers.
PIAZZA MAGGIORE AND THE NEPTUNE FOUNTAIN
The Basilica of San Petronio dates back to the 1390. Its uncompleted façade boasts an incredible marble portal that inspired the young Michelangelo. Inside, each of the 22 chapels tell a piece of the history of Bologna, preserving frescoes, canvas and artifacts from over 500 years, enlightened by stunning stained glass windows. The Basilica dominates the square and faces the most beautiful portico in the city, that of Palazzo del Podestà.
THE ARCHIGINNASIO PALACE
We can’t miss the first seat of the University of Bologna, that is today a beautiful Library, among the most important in Italy and the richest of the region. The walls are covered by the coat of arms of the students painted by local artists from the 1563 to the 1803. On the first floor we find the awesome Anatomical Theatre (Ticket: 3 euro, free for students and under 18. Closed on Sundays afternoon).
THE MEDIEVAL MARKET
Strolling around the narrow streets of the medieval market we explore the reason why Bologna was called “la grassa” which means “the fat”. Bologna is Italy’s food capital. We’ll past the windows of the most traditional shops and stop to enjoy the beauty of Palazzo della Mercanzia, seat of the Merchants’ Forum since 1391.
THE TWO TOWERS
Finally, we stop at the foot of Bologna’s oldest buildings, the Two Towers. They are the landmark of the city. The Asinelli, standing 97 metres tall, is the tallest preserved medieval tower in Italy. Next is the Garisenda Tower, that is the most leaning tower, mentioned in Dante’s Inferno as a good giant.
FULL DAY – 6 HOURS – 240 EURO
SANTO STEFANO’S ABBEY
You can’t miss Bologna’s oldest religious site: the romanesque complex of the Seven Churches whose origins go back to the dawn of Christianity. Known as the Holy Jerusalem, the abbey was visited by crowds of pilgrims who travelled to Rome. The cloister of the monastery inspired Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. The abbey has kept a bewitching character.
To complete your full day tour in Bologna I would suggest, depending on your interests, a visit to:
PALAZZO POGGI, the most interesting museum about Bologna’s University;
PINACOTECA, the Baroque collection hosted in Palazzo Pepoli Campogrande is extraordinary, thanks to the marvelous frescoes that enrich the ceilings;
SAN DOMENICO, the church boasts the thirteenth-century tomb of the Saint, enriched and completed in the 1500s by the matchless work of Michelangelo;
SAN GIACOMO AND THE ORATORY OF SANTA CECILIA today considered Bologna’s “Sistine Chapel” for the beauty of the fifteenth century pictorial cycle.