A day in Bologna will allow you to be exploring all of the most important sights and attractions in town, as well as discovering its peculiar, lively and fully authentic Italian lifestyle.

I want to share with you all of the reasons I love Bologna so much! Prepare to be discovering all of the secrets and the most unusual, authentic sights into town, the ones only locals are aware of. Stroll with me under the many porticoes of the city centre, grab a gelato, and be ready to be enjoying the city at its best!

From Main Square, elegant heart and historic cradle of the town, I will be leading you all across the ancient, medieval alleys of Bologna up until reaching the Two Towers, truest symbol of the town, St. Stephen Basilica, ancient Jewish Ghetto area and the Canals.

Stops will be arranged at God Neptune Fountain, Main Square, City Hall, St. Petronius Basilica, Archiginnasio Palace, Santuario di Santa Maria della Vita, ancient medieval market area, Mercanzia Palace, St. Stephen Basilica, Two Towers, ancient Jewish Ghetto areaSt. Cecilia Chapel, Canals.

In order for you to be able to enjoying your day at the most, my suggestion would be to divide your tour part in the morning and part in the afternoon, so that you may be having a well-deserved pause, trying some of the terrific food the city is renown for, from handmade pasta – tagliatelle, tortellini and lasagne – down to Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, prosciutto and mortadella… the list is endless! I will be more then happy to be sharing with you my local tips on where to be having some real treat!

Full day walking tour of Bologna is 6 hours long. Full wheelchair accessibility to all stops except for St. Stephen Basilica, with limited accessibility, and St. Cecilia Chapel, unfortunately fully inaccessible, at the moment.

Meeting point

Meeting point is at the bottom of the God Neptune Fountain, at the very centre of Piazza del Nettuno, right in the middle of Bologna city centre. That is where our tour will be leaving from. Of course, it is also possible to be arranging our meeting right at the hall of the hotel you’re staying in, if located in Bologna city centre.
For those reaching the city by bus, meeting point will be arranged at Piazza Malpighi, drop off/pick up point for tour buses, 7 minutes walking time from Main Square area.

Tour details

Right at the heart of Bologna city centre is Renaissance God Neptune Fountain. I will be revealing you its many secrets: prepare to be having fun discovering the tricks undertaken by its sculptor Giambologna in order to be making fool of the Popes, Lords of the town when the Fountain was built!

Elegant open air-drawing room of the city, surrounded by majestic architecture, the Main Square is the best spot all across town to be spying on Bologna people, here gathering and having a chat. This is where you will find imposing, medieval City Hall Palace, seat of the proud government of the city for over eight-hundred years, as well as gothic St. Petronius Basilica, one of the largest churches throughout Europe, originally intended to be larger and longer then St. Peter Basilica in Rome, no less. On the inside, a forest of tall cloister pillars, gothic frescos and stained glass windows overlooking the longest and largest calendar all across the world, designed by astronomer Cassini on the floor of the Basilica itself for the most complex science and physics experiments.

Fair to say Bologna wouldn’t be the same without its world-famous University: this is where university system was conceived over one thousand years ago, later to be exported all across the world. And we are awfully proud of that!  We shall be reaching Renaissance Archiginnasio Palace, the very first campus building of history. Only one of the original 22 classrooms of the building is still perfectly preserved, the all-wooden built Anatomical Theatre, in order for medicine to be taught: this is where you will follow me, discovering ancient rituals and daily life of Bologna University students, and how they shaped the history of knowledge.

Following stop will be the narrow medieval alleys of the so-called Middle Market area, kingdom of ancient delicatessen shops featuring dangerously delicious Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, sausages and handmade pasta: all the foodstuffs the city is renown for. This is Bologna, the fat one, at its best. I will be introducing you to mysterious Battuti brotherhood, having inspired Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code: we shall be visiting their church, Santa Maria della Vita Basilica, where touching Mourning over Dead Christ terracotta group by Niccolò dell’Arca is located.

St. Stephen Complex, locally affectionately nicknamed ‘Seven Churches’ or ‘Holy Jerusalem of Bologna’ is definitely the most beloved spot all across the town by locals. Located in a tiny little square miles away from the noise of the crowd and major tourist circuits, this ancient medieval monastery, offering an unprecedented history spanning over two thousand years, will surely be able to be fascinating you. From ancient Roman ruins to mysterious medieval secrets and rituals, here you have it all!

At the border of market area, we will be reaching the Two Towers: mentioned by Dante in his Inferno, one-thousand years old Asinelli and Garisenda towers are the definitive, truest symbol of the town.
They are only a couple of the many towers that topped the sky of Bologna in 12th and 13th century, and admired ever since. Prepare yourself to bend over, in order to be enjoying the best view of them!

The narrow, picturesque alleys of former Jewish Ghetto area of the city still preserve life and traditions of one of the most ancient Jewish communities of Europe, offering a unique glimpse of 16th century popular Bologna, the area untouched by later urban development. Just nearby, one beautiful hidden gem: the tiny, breathtaking St Cecilia Chapel, also known as ‘Bologna Sistine Chapel’, totally decorated by masters of Bologna and Ferrara Renaissance style.

There’s not a great many being aware of how, for one thousand years, Bologna looked like Amsterdam and Venice: crossed by many bridges and canals, the city hosted one of the most important harbours of Europe. And that’s quite peculiar, considering the city is 90 driving minute time away from the sea! As our last stop, we will reach the stunning ‘Little Venice’ area, the only area in town where still visible are the canals having been marking the story of Bologna. Prepare to be amazed!

Entrance fees

Entrance fee to Anatomical Theatre in Archiginnasio Palaceis € 3 per person.

Optional, but suggested, entrance fee to Mourning over Dead Christ terracotta group in Santa Maria della Vita Basilica is € 4 per person, reduced ticket € 2 for groups larger then 15 people.

For school trips, free entrance to Anatomical Theatre and Mourning over Dead Jesus terracotta group for students under 18 years of age.

For groups larger the 7 people entrance to St. Petronius Basilica is allowed only by using whispers system.