Destinations Italy Travel Blog

What To Do In Bologna – Hidden Italy

what to do in Bologna

You’re wondering what to do in Bologna. Because you loved our magical intriguing opening blog post about Bologna, you now want to visit the culinary capital of Italy. (We think culinary capital of the world, but hey, that’s just us)

But you’re a planner!

You’re a where, when, how, what, type of traveller. And you’re now wanting to know what to do in Bologna when you visit.


Well, you’re going to need some help where to stay in Bologna, what to do in Bologna, places to eat in Bologna – you get the idea.

That’s why we created a top 10 things to do in Bologna.

I know we are so kind.

Top 10 things to do in Bologna

1. Piazza Maggiore

This is a must for things to do in Bologna. Surrounded by the beauty of the old and very typically Bolognese buildings, it’s like stepping back in time.

Take a stroll through the main square..

Top tip – this is a great spot for photographers. We only had our iPhone with us at the time.

Enjoy the warmth of the midday sun with an espresso doppio.

Or visit Palazzo del Podesta- which is only open on exhibition days.

A great way to start you off if you’re looking for things to do in Bologna.

2. Get lost in the Quadrilatero

Visiting Bologna, Italy in general for that matter?

It’s all about one thing –


You’ll never be lost for places to eat in Bologna.

Leaving the tall buildings of the beautiful Piazza Maggiore, you’ll find yourself getting lost in the narrow alley ways of the old medieval market.

what to do in Bologna

There goes the phantom photobomber again!

This has to be one of Bologna, Italy for that matter (again) top points of interest.

Remember we said it was all about the food?

Rather than looking for restaurants in Bologna- take the time to get lost in the typically Italian atmosphere the old town in Bologna.

Wondering what to do in Bologna that’s entered around culture?

You’ll find noisy meat and veg sellers scattered along the tight streets.

In here you’ll find the best food Bologna has to offer.

The best food in Bologna:

  • Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Tortellini
  • Tortelloni
  • Tagliateli
  • Mortadella
  • Ragù

Aaaah….Take us back.

If you’re looking what to do in Bologna in a day, visit the Quadrilatero.

3. Climb Torre Asinelli

what to do in Bologna

If you’re looking what to do in Bologna in a day – climb to the top of the Asinelli Tower.

After eating all of that food, you’ll have to burn some calories for your next culinary stop – when you visit places to eat in Bologna.

what to do in Bologna

Yikes! Don’t look down…

But the views are amazing…

what to do in Bologna

Il Due Torre (the two towers), the Asinelli Tower and the Garisenda are the symbol of Bologna.

So this is one of the best things to do in Bologna.

Built at the latter part part of the 11th century, it’s got a staggering 498 steep and narrow steps leading to the best view in Bologna.

Overlooking the red roofs, surrounded by the beautiful mountains in the distance, it’s worth the journey to the top.

4. Places to eat in Bologna

This has to be top of your list if you don’t know what to do in Bologna.

Italy is all about the food.

Find the best restaurants in Bologna to really get what being an Italian means.

Remember – it’s all about the food.

The Tortellini is famous in Bologna

Visit the bars in Bologna near to the student areas or just outside of Piazza Maggiore.

If you’re from the Uk, you’ll know ham and cheap meat, wrapped in a packet is a regular sight.

Not here!

Fill your boots.

Enjoy the strong tastes of Mortadella, with Parma ham on a cold meat board with Birra Moretti on side.

what to do in Bologna

De Cesari Restaurant

Or how about Crescentine with cold cuts and cheese.

What to do in Bologna: Food

  • Tortellini
  • Ragù
  • Tagliatelle al ragu

We recommend – De Cesari for the best restaurants in Bologna.

what to do in Bologna

So if you’re wondering what to do in Bologna, eat!

5. Eat Pizza

Yes – Food again

Where is the best pizza in Italy?

According to travel giants – they’re gunning for Bologna on their top ten best pizzerias in Italy.

For places to eat in Bologna – try Ristorante Pizzeria Labella Napoli.

“The best Pizza in Italy” – according to ‘Dave M’ – trip advisor.

what to do in Bologna

“Mamma Mia!”

To find it, navigate here.

Still wondering what to do in Bologna?

Eat pizza!

6. Visit the Archaeological Civic Museum of Bologna

MCA for short

Cost: 5 euros

For cultural things to do in Bologna, visit here.

Museo Civico Archeologico (Bologna, Italy) known as “The hospital of Death”.

You’ll find it in the 15th Century Palazzo Galvani building. Located here.

If you’re unsure what to do in Bologna you’ll find this very interesting.

We loved it.

Inside there’s a large amount of finds from archaeological digs from 1860. The finds date back to the Roman and even prehistoric times.

If you’re interested in Egyptology – the museums ancient Egyptian finds are amongst the best in Europe.

Looking for art in Bologna?

The museum focuses on the arts – in particular the large naked statues!

7. Train from Bologna to Florence

Or tren de Bologna a Firenze!

What to do in Bologna in a day – or get the train from Bologna to Florence and find what to do in Florence in a day.

We had one day to visit Florence.

The train journey is a top must in itself.

The journey on the train from Bologna to Florence is around 1.5 hours long. But the views are worth it.

Enjoy the views of the hills in the Emilia Romagna region.

Looking for things to do in Florence?

Points of interest Florence include the Piazza del Michelangelo, Piazza del Duomo. Historical walk areas such as Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore.

Or a walk along the bridge of Ponte Vecchio.

How to get from Bologna to Florence?

Trenitalia is the best way to get from Bologna to Florence.

Book a ticket online one day prior to travel. The train departs from the end of the main platform (to the right of the station entrance) at Bologna Centrale

Tickets cost 18 euros per person return.

It takes 15 to 20 minutes walking to the station from the centre of Bologna. If you walk quite quick.

8. Canale delle Moline (Moline Channel)

Reminiscent of Venice.

The waterways of Bologna were originally a rival to Venice’s canals.

what to do in Bologna

This area has actually been described as “little Venice”.

Best of all, it’s completely FREE!

Walking from the walls of Trecento, it’s now visible from small bridges you’ll find walking around Bologna.

You can see the channel from small windows in Via Oberdan, Malcontenti and Piella. Find them here.

The water channel is from an old plumbing system dating back to 1100’s.

Wondering what to do in Bologna if you’re a photographer?

Visiting the Channel is one of the best things to do in Bologna for photographers – it takes a great shot!

Walk a little further and it’s also a great spot for the best food in Bologna and some of the quieter bars in Bologna.

If you’re looking where to stay in Bologna, this area is a great place to stay within the action.

9. Visit the museum of the History of Bologna

Feeling cultural?

Looking what to do in Bologna that centres around culture?

Looking for history related things to do in Bologna?

You’ll find this great museum in Palazzo Pepoli.

The museum is a time warp of the whole history of Bologna.

This is a popular place for university students looking what to do in Bologna.

You’ll expect to find history from ancient times, medieval era, politics, music and modern times. Basically anything and everything from the history of Bologna.

If it’s a short trip and you are looking for things to do in Bologna in a day, the History of Bologna Museum is a must visit.

10. The Whispering Walls

Walls that whisper in Bologna?

If you see people talking to a wall in Bologna, don’t worry, they’re not mad.

Unless it’s a totally different wall, then that is weird. Walk away from them, slowly.

You have to visit.

Where are the Whispering walls?

The whispering walls are located near Piazza Maggiore, entering through Palazzo de Podesta.

There will be four corners at the intersection of the Bologna Welcome Tourist Office.

The corners are right there.

Click here to find where the whispering walls are.

Stand in one corner while a friend stands in the other (has to be diagonally opposite your corner)

Then get as close to the wall as you can and start talking.

Can you hear it?

The walls are whispering.

Originally, it was a safe way for lepers to confess their sins and the clever acoustics of the walls allow this effect.

So if you’re stuck for things to do in Bologna, talk to a wall.

Top things to remember:

What to do in Bologna?

  • Follow your nose
  • Visit museums
  • Talk to a wall
  • Eat, a lot
  • Go to a channel

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  • Kelly
    April 5, 2017 at 11:29 am

    You had me at pizza!! Lol. The food here looks amazing, not to mention, all the various attractions that Bologna hasto offer. I love the channels that are throughout the city. And the view you gor wad amazing. Great share!!

    • James
      April 5, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      Yes, you would love it. The food is the main pull here but there’s so much to see.

  • Make Travel Reality
    April 5, 2017 at 11:35 am

    We definitely want to go to Bologna now! Great article. Thanks for sharing!

    • James
      April 5, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      Thanks! You should. The food and architecture here is amazing!

    April 5, 2017 at 11:46 am

    I didn’t realize there are a lot to do in Bologna. Whispering wall? That’s interesting. I want to experience it. I really want to climb the Assinelli Towers. But If my son ask me to carry him, I will be 5 kg lighter when i reached the top😂 How long is the train ride from Bologna to Florence? I love Italy and Ive been to Rome, Venice and Milan. I would love to visit these cities. Thanks for sharing!

    • James
      April 6, 2017 at 11:15 am

      Haha! Glad you enjoyed it mate. You should definitely visit. It’s different to all other Italian cities. The train from Bologna to Florence is around two hours, max. It’s worth it for the views on the way.

  • Siddharth and Shruti
    April 5, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Wow! Bologna sounds great! Didn’t know there was a mini ‘Venice’ in Bologna! Thanks for sharing.

    • James
      April 5, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      Thanks!Yes, you should visit! It’s amazing.

  • Natasha
    April 5, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    I absolutely love Italy but I haven’t tried Bologna yet. The pizza looks exactly like how they done it in Rome… Delcious

    • James
      April 5, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      You would love it! It’s typically Italian but not what immediately comes to mind when you think of Italy, but that’s what makes it even more amazing. Give it a go.

  • Megan Knox-Davies
    April 6, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Bologna looks amazing and that pizza has just reminded me that it is lunch time – hungry! i loved your tips and will definitely save this post for when we get to visit Bologna!

    • James
      April 6, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      Thanks and yes Bologna is pretty different. Try the pizza place we visited, you’ll love it! Enjoy!