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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

Your tour starts from Piazza del Nettuno. You'll discover the Piazza Maggiore and the Basilica of San Petronio and the Meridian. Next visit the oldest library in the world and Piazza Santo Stefano, where you'll see the wonderful Basilica that overlooks the square. Then visit the Towers of Bologna, the Asinelli and the Garisenda, before you explore the historical market Quadrilatero to admire the historical shops and take in the scents of local food. Finally, visit Palazzo Re Enzo which overlooks the square and is the palace seat of the municipality.

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: Red Bus City Tour and Local Food Tasting

3. Bologna: Red Bus City Tour and Local Food Tasting

Discover Bologna in comfort via an open top bus, enabling you to admire and photograph all the major attractions of the city.  Upon arriving at the meeting point, staff will welcome you onboard. Choose from an audioguide available in 10 different languages to learn more about the specific landmarks as well as the general history of the city. You will then journey across the city, capturing views of some of the most famous points of interest. Hop on and off at your leisure at some popular spots such as: • Basilica San Petronio • Palazzo dei Notai • Palazzo Comunale • Palazzo di Re Enzo • Palazzo del Podestà, • Tower of Asinelli and Garisenda • Museo Civico Archeologico • Archiginnasio • Palazzo Bevilacqua • Porta Saragozza • Palazzo Bentivoglio • Fontana del Nettuno • Teatro Comunale. After the tour, enjoy a food tour in a historical market in Bologna, where you will try local delicacies.

Bologna: Guided Traditional Food Tour

4. Bologna: Guided Traditional Food Tour

In Italian tradition, Bologna is called “the wise” (for containing the second oldest university in Europe), “the red” (for the red roofs of its houses), and “the rich” (for its food offerings and flavor). Italian gastronomy points to the Emilia-Romagna region as a reference due to its historical ties with food, and Bologna is quite a hot spot for Italian culinary excellence.  This Bologna traditional food tour is a unique opportunity to visit the city center from an unusual perspective. Learn all of the secrets of Italian traditional food culture, specifical items from the Bologna region. Your food guide will navigate you through the history behind dishes and preparation. It will even disclose to you some of their favorite recipes. Within your food tour, try dishes such as cured meats with cheese and hand-baked bread, various styles of bolognese, "brazadela" (an Italian dessert), and espresso with whipped cream. This tour will surely leave you with a profound knowledge of Italian cuisine.

Bologna: Hands on Home Cooking Class

5. Bologna: Hands on Home Cooking Class

You will be hosted in a cozy apartment in Bologna. Learn to cook like a Bolognese in a typical Bologna home. Get hands-on help preparing your own lunch or dinner from a friendly chef during this activity. This experience consists of preparing some specialties of Bologna culinary tradition. Begin by preparing the dough for your pasta. Learn how to make tagliatelle and tortelloni then fill them with ricotta cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano, garlic, parsley, nutmeg, white pepper, and salt. Then make some delicious ragù for your pasta. After, enjoy your pasta with some delicious wine and a local dessert.  

Bologna: Taste Local Specialties on a Guided Walking Tour

6. Bologna: Taste Local Specialties on a Guided Walking Tour

Experience the vibrant historic center of Bologna on this walking tour. Admire sights like the Basilica of San Petronio and the Loggia of Merchants. Stop to try specialties at three establishments. Have a glass of delectable local wine. Start your tour in Piazza del Nettuno, where your guide will share insights into Bolognese culture with you. See an excellent example of Italian Gothic architecture at the Basilica of San Petronio. Admire the two towers that are the symbol of Bologna. View the Loggia of Merchants, where commercial and trading activities have been overseen in Bologna for hundreds of years. Walk to the vibrant Quadrilatero Market. Wander through the sights and smells in this market that has been around since the middle ages. Visit Bottega Ranocchi to try authentic Mortadella Bologna. Enter one of the oldest taverns in Europe at Osteria del Sole. Head to Gilberto, a shop which has been open for over a century. Savor crescentina (stuffed flatbread) and Bolognese tigella (flatbread sandwich) with a glass of local wine.

From Bologna: Emilia Excellence Food Tour

7. From Bologna: Emilia Excellence Food Tour

Learn about the production of gastronomic excellence in Emilia on a unique day trip from Bologna. Tour local factories and family-run producers for a look behind the scenes at the creation of products appreciated all over the world, including Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, balsamic vinegar of Modena, and Lambrusco and Pignoletto wine. Begin with an 8:00 AM pickup from your hotel in Bologna and head toward a dairy production site via a private transfer. Once there, tour the grounds with a guide and learn about the production of the world's favorite cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano. Snack on a sample of the delicious creation before heading to Acetaia, where you'll see how the traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena is made. Taste some of the "gold of Modena".  Transfer to a wine cellar, where you'll hear about the work that goes behind creating the delicious Lambrusco and Pignoletto wines. Taste some of this local treat and then cap the tour off with a light lunch in a traditional Italian restaurant. Return to your hotel in Bologna around 2:30 PM.

Bologna: Torre degli Asinelli & Food Tasting

8. Bologna: Torre degli Asinelli & 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: Dining Experience at a Local's Home

9. Bologna: Dining Experience at a Local's Home

Immerse yourself in a private dining experience at a local's home, as you enjoy an exclusive show cooking and taste authentic recipes treasured in family cookbooks passed down by real Italian "Mammas". This experience will enable you to feel the warmth of Italian hospitality as you connect with local people. You will enjoy a 4-course menu including a starter, pasta, a main course with a side dish, and dessert. Drinks are also included, and consist of water, a selection of red and white wines from regional cellars, and coffee.

Bologna: Self-Guided Food Tasting Tour with Vouchers

10. 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.

Frequently asked questions about Bologna

What are the best day trips and excursions from Bologna?

The best day trips and excursions from Bologna are:

Ravenna

Other Sightseeing Options in Bologna

Want to discover all there is to do in Bologna? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Bologna

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 1,348 reviews

This was a brillant overview of this wonderful city!! The tour guide firstly was easy to find in the square, helpful, informative and easy to understand. Lots of the places she showed us, she advised us if we wanted to know more or interested in more activities to do - we could come back or buy a ticket to see more ie a museum or botanical garden etc. Good pace and just very interesting to explore!

Having the privilege of enjoying a typical meal with residents of Bologna is a great idea that allows us to get to know not only the cuisine better but also the people who live there. I loved this experience and recommend it.

Amazing experience would never of found this on our own. Guide was lovely and we learnt alot. Also bought some of the wines we tasted absolutely reasonable prices much cheaper than good wines in the UK

We had a wonderful guide - Stefania. She was informative but also entertaining. We learnt a little about the secrets of the city as well as its wonderful history.

Antonia was outstanding. She had great knowledge of the history of Bologna, was patient and a joy to be around.