Bologna Travel Guide

Spaghetti Bolognese, perhaps now more famous outside of Italy than inside, was originally spawned by the city of Bologna. While this is a point by which many make associations, the city’s role as a center of Renaissance activity is a more worthy virtue by which to remember it. Reputations aside, anyone’s eyes will tell them that this is a beautiful city by all accounts and one yet to suffer the effects of tourism in the same way that destinations such as Florence and Venice have.

The city’s old quarter is notable for piazza Maggiore and the adjoining piazza del Nettuno; both squares offering distinctly Renaissance and medieval influenced architecture. The splendid Fontana del Nettuno (Neptune’s Fountain) is something of a focal point for this area and has come to be a popular symbol of the city, as well as providing a meeting point for socialites.

The world’s oldest university is located in Bologna. As a working educational facility, it naturally brings large numbers of youthful characters to the city which in turn stimulates the local nightlife, encouraging lively bars, cafés and nightclubs. For the best of the action, head for the via Zamboni area but don’t expect to leave before dawn unless you’re of extremely strong will.


Archaeological Museum: is home to artifacts from Emilia as well as one of the country’s most significant Egyptian collections.

Basilica di San Domenico: dating from the 13th century, this splendid religious structure is home to the beautiful and ornately decorated tomb of St Domenico.

Basilica di San Petronio: despite three centuries of construction, this basilica was never completed but is nevertheless, a fine piece of religious architecture.

National Picture Gallery: houses works by major Italian artists, including magnificent pieces such as St Cecilia in Estasi by Raphael and St Sebastian and Pietà, St Andrea Corsini, The Slaying of the Innocents and Samson the Victorious by Guido Reni.

Palazzo Comunale: Bologna’s town hall building dates back to the 14th century and, while subject to a number of restorations, it still retains much of its original splendor.