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Things to do in Bologna

This northern Italian city combines rich local cuisine, iconic luxury cars, and stunning towers and porticoes.

Our most recommended things to do in Bologna

Bologna: City Center Walking Tour

1. Bologna: City Center Walking Tour

Take a classic walking tour through the streets of the Bologna city center. With this guided tour, discover the history of Bologna and its major cultural attractions. Make stops at the Asinelli tower, Neptune fountain, and the Basilica of San Petronio. Meet your guide and walk through the city streets admiring the architecture and discovering the most-famous cultural attraction. See the towers of Bologna and marvel at their height and significance. Then, stroll through the Quadrilatero Market, and learn important historical facts. Make a wish at the Neptune fountain and see if it comes true. Then, gaze at the Basilica of San Petronio, as your guide shares its story and welcomes you into the city of Bologna.

From Bologna: Train to San Luca Basilica & Food Tasting

2. From Bologna: Train to San Luca Basilica & Food Tasting

The Basilica of San Luca is one of the symbols of the city of Bologna. Situated on the Monte Guardia, the Sanctuary connects to the city center through the longest continuous portico in the world, made up of 666 arcades. At the meeting point, you'll receive a map and a timetable of the return train, which is available every 45 minutes. You’ll also receive a voucher for the food tasting.  This tour departs every day and will help you discover the city from aboard the San Luca Express train, where the audio guides, available in 8 languages, will tell you about the city until your arrival at the Basilica of San Luca. Here, you can visit the Basilica at your own pace and decide what time to return by consulting the schedules on the map. On board, you will find a member of staff who'll welcome you and provide any information you may require. When you return, you will get to taste typical products in one of the historical markets.

Bologna: Torre degli Asinelli Entrance Ticket & Food Tasting

3. Bologna: Torre degli Asinelli Entrance Ticket & Food Tasting

Take in the incredible views from the tallest leaning medieval tower in the world, built between 1109 and 1119. The panoramic view from the Torre degli Asinelli will take your breath away.  After the tower visit, enjoy a food tasting of Bologna's typical products in the city center.

Bologna: 3-Hour Secret Food Tour

4. Bologna: 3-Hour Secret Food Tour

Head to the Quadrilatero area, the vibrant heart of Bologna, to start your 3-hour food tour. Step off the beaten paths, discover unexpected sights and hear amazing stories about the origins and traditions of the city. First, make your way to a small trattoria to sample traditional Ragù alla Bolognese (Bolognese sauce). Sample and learn why a five-year-old Parmigiano Reggiano is so special, and sip 12 to 24-year-old balsamic vinegars from Modena. Enjoy a carefully selected charcuterie sampler from Emilia-Romagna and see how homemade, fresh pasta is created by Bologna's very own sfogline (pasta-makers). Upgrade your experience to indulge in an ammazzacaffé, a coffee-liqueur beverage. As you end your savory stroll through the city, enjoy the best artisanal gelato in town. Your entire Italian-gastro experience is infused in the heart of this medieval town at some of the best secret spots where locals eat, off the tourist paths.

Bologna: FICO Eataly World Admission Ticket

5. Bologna: FICO Eataly World Admission Ticket

Visit FICO, the new Italian Food Theme and Amusement park in Bologna. Fico is the "park to taste" and combines the passion for Italian food with fun. Explore seven themed areas dedicated to great Italian culinary excellence (Areas of Salami, Cheese, Pasta, Game, Wine, Oil, and Sweets) divided by new and spectacular scenery, enriched with games, rides, and food-themed attractions

Best of Italy: 5-Day Escorted Tour from Rome

6. Best of Italy: 5-Day Escorted Tour from Rome

Over the course of five days, visit the most enchanting locations of Italy, soaking up art, culture, cuisine and the famous Italian romance. Led by a friendly guide, depart from Rome and visit Assisi, Siena, Florence, Pisa, Bologna, Padova, Venice and Montepulciano. See masterpieces from the likes of Michelangelo, Giotto, and Cimabue. Roam ancient cobbled streets, marvel at magnificent cathedrals, and taste delightful wines. This tour aims to inform and entertain you at the same time. Staying in comfy accommodation and traveling by deluxe bus, touring Italy couldn’t be easier. With 4 meals provided for you, plus an excellent itinerary and knowledgeable guides, sit back, relax and "get Italian". Day 1 Depart from Rome at 7:15 AM heading towards Assisi. Explore this tiny town dating back to the Middle Ages. Visit the Basilica of St. Francis and see works by Giotto and Cimabue. Afterwards drive towards Siena, whose highlight is Piazza del Campo. Continue to Florence where you will check in at your hotel before enjoying dinner (included) and a well-deserved night of rest. Day 2: Florence After breakfast, spend the day exploring Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance. Visit the Duomo, the Campanile Tower, Palazzo Vecchio and the Basilica of Santa Croce. Lunch (for free) in a typical Tuscan restaurant in Piazza Santa Croce. In the afternoon, wander the cobbled streets or take a short, optional trip to Pisa where you could enjoy a tour of the Square of Miracles, the Leaning Tower and the Duomo. Dinner is at your leisure. Back in Florence rest in your hotel and recharge your batteries for the next day. Day 3 Depart for Bologna after breakfast in Florence. Wander through the city’s 38 kilometers' worth of elegant arcades, for which it is famous. From Piazza Malpighi, walk to Piazza del Nettuno and Piazza Maggiore in the heart of the city. In the afternoon, continue towards Padova, with its original Sant’Antonio Basilica. Later, you will arrive in Venice, famous for its quaint gondola boats and intricate architecture. Check in at your hotel and enjoy your first Venetian dinner (included) and overnight stay. Day 4: Venice Hit the water and board a private waterbus to enjoy a cruise through the canals of Venice. Stop off at Murano to learn about the ancient art of glass blowing. Continue on to St. Mark’s Square for an exterior visit of the splendid cathedral. See the Doge Palace and the Bridge of Sighs. Enjoy a spritz or Prosecco with your guide to cap off a day of discovery. Spend the afternoon roaming along Venice’s canals at your leisure and then return to the hotel and overnight. Day 5 After breakfast, departure from Piazzale Roma heading to Tuscany, world-known for its landscapes, its churches, castles and its delicious wines. Proceed to Val di Chiana with a stop in Montepulciano, a medieval town rich in history and art. Known for its “Noble” wine, on purchase in local wine houses, Montepulciano also hosts an annual jazz and wine festival every July. Lunch in a typical restaurant included! Spend the afternoon discovering Montepulciano at your own pace, enjoying free wine tastings in many wine shops and free time for shopping. In the evening, you will arrive in Rome, where the tour ends.

From Florence: Private Bologna Walking Tour with Lunch

7. From Florence: Private Bologna Walking Tour with Lunch

From art to history to good food, discover Bologna in all its aspects on this private trip with round-trip private transportation from Florence. Enjoy a guided walking tour through the city, a 2-course restaurant lunch, and tickets for the iconic San Luca Express. The private transfer will pick you up directly from your accommodation in Florence and take you to Bologna’s city center, from where you will start your tour in the city. You will be greeted by a staff member upon arrival, who will introduce you to your private guide. With your guide, discover the center of Bologna, admiring some of the most beautiful and important buildings of the city. Visit the Church of San Petronio, patron saint of the city, which was the seat of some important historical events, such as the imperial coronation of Charles V in 1530. From there, move on to admire the courtyard of the Archiginnasio, one of the oldest and most relevant libraries in the city. The guide will then take you to the historic market, also known as Quadrilatero, where the street names still echo the old crafts of the past: Via Caprarie, Via Pescherie, and more. Witness time that has stopped in these history-rich spots. Continue toward the Asinelli Tower, the symbol and bulwark of the city, of which the guide will tell you stories and anecdotes. If walking also makes you hungry, after your journey through the streets of Bologna, you’ll settle in a typical inn where you can relax while enjoying a 2-course lunch in the name of tradition: cold cuts and a typical dish of your choice, accompanied by a glass of wine and water. After lunch, set out to discover the famous hills of Bologna aboard the San Luca Express. Sit back on this classic train as it takes you to the Basilica of San Luca. This imposing complex has dominated the city since 1195 and has become a symbol of home for locals. The train will then take you directly back to the city center, from where you’ll be picked up once again via private transportation to head back to Florence after your full day in Bologna.

Bologna: Guided Traditional Food Tour

8. Bologna: Guided Traditional Food Tour

Learn all of the secrets of traditional Italian food culture and items from the Bologna region on this guided food tour. Your food guide will navigate you through the history behind the dishes and their preparation. Experience Bologna from an unusual perspective.  Learn why Bologna is known as the wise for containing the second oldest university in Europe, the red because of the red roofs of its houses, and the rich for its food offerings and flavor.  Discover the secrets behind Italian gastronomy in the Emilia-Romagna region as a reference due to its historical ties with food and Bologna as a hotspot for Italian culinary excellence.  The following are a few dishes that you may try during the tour: Local cured meats and cheeses with hand-baked bread or platter of mixed pizza - the meal opens with a wide variety of local cured meats and cheeses or with a delicious platter of mixed gourmet pizza.Fresh pasta like Bolognese tortellini stuffed with different types of meat and parmesan cheese. Usually, they are served in meat broth, but our guests will have the opportunity to choose among different options for garnishing their tortellini.Bolognese cotoletta, a veal meat served with a rich sauce made with cream and parmesan cheese and topped with smoked ham. The traditional recipe requires that the meat is fried, then served in meat broth. Finally, it is briefly baked in the oven and served covered in melted cheese and ham.Brazadela, is a cake prepared in a doughnut shape from a traditional peasant recipe. Since its origins, the recipe has been passed from mothers to their children in order to preserve its simplicity and delicate taste.Espresso coffee is the inevitable conclusion of every Italian proper meal. Espresso will be offered in a historic coffee shop, accompanied by artisanal whipped cream.

Bologna: Self-Guided Food Tasting Tour with Vouchers

9. Bologna: Self-Guided Food Tasting Tour with Vouchers

Discover the secrets of the city’s cuisine with a food tasting tour of Bologna. With a map and a set of vouchers for local food samples, taste your way through the city at your own pace. Enjoy a self-guided food tour, wander the narrow streets of the old town, take breaks for photos, and explore the points of interest suggested by the map. Collect tastings of local and traditional food along the way. Try handmade chocolates, delicious ice cream, and the famous Tigellone with typical ragù sauce, while adults will also receive a glass of wine, a coffee, and a parmesan sample. Each voucher says what it includes and where to use it, and you can scan the QR code to follow the path on google maps.

Bologna: Marconi Airport Bus Transfer to/from Florence City

10. Bologna: Marconi Airport Bus Transfer to/from Florence City

Avoid the hassle of public transport before or after your airplane journey. Sit back and relax aboard an air-conditioned Appennino Shuttle with extra legroom as you are taken to the airport or Piazzale Montelungo in Florence city center. Benefit from helpful staff who will assist you. Choose a 1-way shuttle service to or from the airport. Be greeted by staff who will wait for you to board the bus. Hop on board and have your luggage safely stowed away. Relax on a modern air-conditioned bus and enjoy the view of the Tuscany region. Arrive at Bologna airport or Florence city center.

Available activities

  • Bolognese food & markets
  • Exploring Bologna
  • Italian wine & vineyards
  • Ferrari, Lamborghini, & Ducati
  • Bologna cooking classes
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What people are saying about Bologna

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 1,348 reviews

I definitely would recommend this experience. I was able to taste things that I probably wouldn't have tried if I was just going around myself. The value is perfectly reasonable, and it's so nice to be able to just hand the waiter the voucher and not have to do anything else. Everything I had was very tasty and although smaller portion sizes, I was very full after using all the vouchers (within the span of 5 hours, on a day trip). The cold cuts platter with a full glass of wine and the parmigiano sample with balsamic were especially exceptional. It was just such a pleasure to be able to tour around Bologna, walking around and stopping to try different Italian foods and snacks. I would absolutely suggest doing this food tour, which you can completely moderate to your own pace as the vouchers don't expire.

Stella was fantastic as our guide. Her insight and knowledge of Bologna was exactly what we needed as we had just arrived. The tour gave us a great understanding of the area, and places to revisit once the tour was over. Thanks Stella- we had a great time

very high tower and many steps it seems to never arrive, but in the end a spiritual satisfaction to feel so high and look at the beauty of bologna from above

This was such a great experience. Food was amazing and our guide was very informative. We were shown many things that is traditional of the Bologna area.

The view of the city from above is amazing!!! A bit tiring but absolutely doable.