From culture to food, Bologna is a city full of things to do, wonders to see and itineraries not to be missed. Let’s find out the 10 best things to do and some eco-friendly experiences not to be missed!

Bologna is also called “la Dotta” (the Learned), “la Rossa” (the Red) and “la Grassa” (the Fat).

  • La Dotta for the presence of one of the oldest universities in Italy.
  • La Rossa for the red color that the roofs of the houses give to the city.
  • La Grassa for the tasty and wide gastronomy, known all over the world, that the city offers.

But what to do and what to see in Bologna?

Well, there are so many things, but we have selected 10 unmissable ones, starting from history, to move on to gastronomy up to the opportunities for an eco-friendly holiday.

1) Piazza Maggiore

Piazza Maggiore, Bologna
One of the most important squares in Bologna, Piazza Maggiore. Photo from CanvaPro

Piazza Maggiore is the heart of the city, the center of civil and religious life. It is known for the variety of history that surrounds it, the Neptune Fountain, the Town Hall, the Palazzo dei Banchi, the Basilica of San Petronio, and the Palazzo del Podestà. All buildings testify to the long history of the city.
According to a belief, however, Piazza Maggiore is a symbol of bad luck for the students who attend the university. It is said that whoever crosses the square passing through the center will be able to say goodbye to the much sought-after degree.

2) Church of Santa Maria Maddalena

Church of Santa Maria Maddalena
Photo from Wikipedia

The Church of Santa Maria Maddalena is particular of its kind, in fact the work Mind of the Door was installed here. The faithful and visitors can only open the main door with a simple smile.

3) Tower of the Asinelli

towers of asinelli in bologna, italy
Photo from CanvaPro

The towers are one of the many peculiarities of Bologna. The two most important towers are that of the Asinelli and the Garisenda. The Asinelli Tower was built between 1109 and 1119, and was also used for military purposes. Once you have covered the 498 steps of the staircase, you can reach the top of the tower, 97.20 meters high, and admire the red city. During the beautiful days, you get to see as far as the sea and the Prealps of the Veneto. Unfortunately, the Torre Garisenda cannot be visited.

4) Archiginnasio

Archiginnasio, Bologna
Photo from Wikipedia

Another part of history is represented by the Archiginnasio, it is one of the most beautiful buildings in Bologna. At first glance, you can only see the door, but entering it we will find the long portico with 30 arches decorated with hundreds of coats of arms and two loggias on the upper floors. The goal was to give a beautiful home to the oldest university in Italy. You will be able to see the two highly decorated classrooms, where once they housed artists and legislators. In addition, there is also the Anatomical Theater, destroyed by bombing in 1954, but rebuilt with the original materials.

5) Porticoes of San Luca

Porticoes of San Luca, Bologna
Photo from CanvaPro

Bologna is not Bologna without the arcades, and for 40 kilometers the city is crossed by these architectural elements. The arcades, however, are also excellent protection both in winter and in summer from the sun and rain.

The best-known portico is the one that leads from the center of Bologna to the Church of San Luca, an extension of 4 kilometers. Linked to the cult of the image of the Blessed Virgin of St. Luke, the church is characterized by the works of Guido Reni and Guercino. The covered portico with 666 arches connects the city from Porta Saragozza with the sanctuary. The number 666 represents the arcades that have the shape of a snake crushed by the foot of the Madonna, represented by the church with the miraculous image of her. So the climb is a symbol of liberation and purification from sins. It is also possible to climb even higher, or on the roof of the dome, and admire Bologna from above in all its splendor.

6) Ancient Canals of Bologna

Canals of Bologna
Photo from CanvaPro

A little secret of Bologna, which few people know, is that it has always been a city of water, like a little Venice, which can still be admired from a small window in Via Piella. Opening the window you can admire a glimpse of the Moline canal. Furthermore, every year the IT.A.CÀ Responsible Tourism Festival proposes slow itineraries to discover the secrets of Bologna, also through the ancient canals and waterways.

7) Basilica di Santo Stefano

Basilica of Santo Stefano
Photo from CanvaPro

Walking through Piazza Santo Stefano, we can see the Basilica of Santo Stefano, characterized by a set of buildings that form the complex of the Seven Churches. The church of the Crucifix, the Basilica del Sepolcro, the church of San Vitale and Sant’Agricola, the Pilate’s courtyard, the church of the Martyrium, the medieval cloister, and the museum of Santo Stefano (free admission).

8) Cavaticcio Park

Cavaticcio Park in Bologna
Photo from Wikipedia

Cavaticcio Park also known as Giardini del Cavaticcio is a beautiful green area in the center of Bologna. This park is located below the ancient port. In fact, also for this reason, the name was originally attributed to the canal that flowed into the port and fed the mills and shops in the area.

9) Typical dishes and specialties from farm to table

Typical dishes and specialties at zero km
Photo by Nik’s from Unsplash, Typical dishes, and specialties at zero km

Now let’s move on to the gastronomy part. What to eat in Bologna and what to taste absolutely during your holiday or short weekend?

The Bolognese cuisine is very vast and very good, we can taste the tortellini, prepared by hand and served in broth, the Bolognese ragú accompanied by tagliatelle or lasagna. The Bolognese cutlet, covered with cheese and a slice of raw prosciutto. The mortadella. Crescentine and tigelle. While for dessert there is the famous Carthusian, a Christmas cake prepared with honey, almonds, candied fruit, pine nuts, butter, sultanas, cinnamon, and dark chocolate.
To be among the young I recommend that you eat around Piazza Maggiore, you will be spoiled for choice for how many restaurants there are.

10) Where to sleep eco-friendly in Bologna and surroundings

Eco hotel Bologna

Among the hills of Bologna, you can find different possibilities to live a sustainable holiday experience. After a walk in the city or an e-bike excursion in the area you can choose to stay in one of the beautiful eco-friendly accommodations, choosing from organic farmhouses in the hills, organic farms with restaurant and swimming pool, or small green b & bs in the heart of the city .

Bologna is waiting to be discovered, full of beauty and very warm. Come and discover the history, culture, and gastronomy of this city.

Cover image: CanvaPro