Think of Italy and the images that strike the mind are that of culture, history, music and great food – and if you want the best of it all, you can find it in the historic city of Bologna, the capital of the region of Emilia-Romagna, in northern Italy. Sightseeing in Bologna will be both a fun and enriching learning experience especially when you consider that it was declared the Capital of Culture in 2000 and in 2006 and UNESCO Creative City of Music in 2006.
There is much to see and do in the city. You can start your sightseeing tour of Bologna by visiting its historic buildings. The city is home to the largest medieval city centre flanked by buildings of great historical and architectural interest. The majority of the buildings are painted in various shades of reds, yellow and ochre, earning it the nickname of Bologna la Rossa (Bologna the Red).
Piazza Maggiore is the centre of all action. During the medieval period it was the venue of the Roman forum – today it plays host to music and arts festivals. The other architectural marvels here are sure to catch your interest.
The focal point of all activity in Bologna is the Piazza Maggiore. It once served as the venue of a Roman forum – today it is a popular site for hosting several music and arts festivals. The piazza is surrounded by other architectural splendours including the 13th-century Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall), which now houses the Museo di Giorgio Morandi and the Collezioni Comunali d’Arte. The highlight of the building is the massive staircase that was designed to be used by horse drawn carriages.
Then there is the 14th-century Basilica di San Petronio, with an unfinished front. The story goes that the Vatican cut off the funds for completion once it realized that there were plans underway to outdo the St Peter’s basilica in Rome in terms of grandeur and size. The basilica is the fifth largest in the world and draws its share of crowds.
While in the vicinity, you can also check out the Piazza del Nettuno, which houses the famous Fountain of Neptune. The piazza is surrounded by Palazzo del Podesta , which once served as the main law court of the city. You can also visit the 13th-century Palazzo Re Enzo, which is named after an illegitimate son of Emperor Frederick II.
Another major attraction in the historic city of Bologna is the network of medieval porticos which extend to about 53 kilometers. Come rain or heat, sightseeing in Bologna will always prove to be a pleasant experience considering that you can walk in the shade of the portico which boasts 15 chapels and 666 arches.
The wealthy families in the 12th century tried to outdo each other in building massive towers to show their powers. In fact, there were about 100 such towers built throughout Italy during this period. Of these only 21 remain two of which, the twin towers, can be found in Bologna.
The historic city of Bologna also has a strong music tradition besides being the hub for the manufacture of luxury cars and motorcycles. When it comes to food the city does not disappoint – indeed Bologna is also considered to be the culinary capital of Italy.