🇬🇧 24 hours in Bologna 🇬🇧

What to do in 24 hours in Bologna.

4/11/20237 min read

🇫🇷 Retrouve cet article en Français ici ! 🇫🇷

During our 15 days road trip in Italy, we stopped in Bologna.

In this article I will talk about our stay, what we did, what we visited and where we stayed.

Bologna is a city in northeastern Italy, it counts around 400 000 residents. Its orange/red walls give it a very particular style. Its many towers, which used to be build by rich families and used as defensive instruments and power symbols, ranks it among the best historic cities of Italy. Personally I loved this city and I will tell you why.

For how long ?

Bologna was the third stop of our road trip.

We arrived on Saturday 23rd and we left on Sunday July 24th. So we only stayed for 1 night. Because we arrived around 1pm, we spent the afternoon visiting, and also the next morning before leaving. So we spent around 24 hours in the city.

For us, it was enough , we were able to visit everything we wanted to see and we had a really good overview of Bologna.

Where to sleep ?

We had a little trouble finding accommodation in the center of Bologna. But after multiple searches, we finally find one in the commercial area of Bologna.

This time we stayed in a Booking. It was a 4 stars hotel : The Sydney Hotel. And we were delighted ! We didn’t realise when we booked the room that it was inside a 4 stars hotel. So it was a big surprise when we arrived.

The price was really reasonable, only 70€ for 1 night (This is why we were doubly surprised to arrive in a 4 stars hotel !). Moreover, there was a swimming pool available to all customers ! We took advantage of it on Saturday night, after our walk in Bologna under 104 degree Fahrenheit (40 degree Celsius). We also had breakfast in the morning, really perfect !

I really recommend you this hotel, the room was beautiful, clean and it was very pleasant to enjoy the comfort of a 4 stars hotel, after staying in Airbnbs more or less good.

Day 1 :

We arrived on Saturday July 23rd around 1pm. We went straight to our hotel and once we were ready, we took the car towards the city center.

Be careful, it is very hard to park in Bologna. We toured the streets for a while before stopping in a private parking, guarded by a guard and therefore chargeable. Unfortunately we had no other choices. In my memories, the price for the full afternoon was around 20€.

The Piazza Maggiore

It is the main square of Bologna, and around there are the city’s most important buildings dating from the medieval period. You can find the Palazzo del Podestà, the Torre dell’Arengo, The Palazzo Re Enzo, The Palazzo Accursio (city hall and Morandi museum), the San Petronio Basilica (with its unfinished gray facade) and the Palazzo dei Banchi.

Finestrella (The little window overlooking the canal)

Situated at the Via Piella, this little window is hidden among the walls of the city. All you have to do is open its little door to discover Bologna’s hidden canal, which is called the « Little Venice ».

Indeed, Bologna is actually built above hundreds of canals. Many have been covered during the construction of the city, but a few like this one, the Canale Delle Moline, remains visible thanks to this little window. By looking through this window, you will discover a very charming view on the canal, its orange colour and balconies.

I put the exact address here !

The Archiginnasio Palace

It is a Renaissance style building, built in the 16th century. It once was the main building of the University of Bologna.

Inside you can find the anatomical theatre, which was the place of the faculty of medicine’s experiments. It is in the shape of an amphitheater, fully built in fir wood, with statues and coffered ceiling.

It’s in 1838 that the palace have been transformed into a public library.

It is possible to enter the palace and to visit a few rooms for free. However the anatomical theatre is paying and the library is only reserved for researchers, but it is possible to visit it during exceptional openings.

I really recommend you to go inside, its architecture is impressive and beautiful.

Asinelli Tower

The Asinelli Tower is the highest tower of Bologna (97,2 meters) and it is tilted 1,3°. It was built during the 12th century and belonged to a rich family of the city. It served as a defensive instrument but also as a symbol of power for this family.

We decided to climb all the way to the top ! We bought our tickets there (only 5€ per person), but I suggest you to buy them earlier on the Tiqets app, because if there are to much people, you won’t be able to climb.

After climbing the 498 steps, a good sweat and nearly fainting, we arrived at the top and we were treated with a breathtaking view on Bologna. It was really amazing and the sporty climb was quickly forgotten !

Day 2 :

After a really good night, we were able to have our breakfast at the hotel restaurant, before packing our bags and leaving towards an other part of Bologna.

The Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca

The sanctuary is a basilica situated at the top of a wooden hill overlooking the city.

A road leads to the sanctuary, so it is possible to go there by car. But the best way to go there, is to walk up the path passing under the 666 arches. This path is 3,5km long, so you need to be prepared ! We went there during summer time and our ascent under 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) was very difficult. But it is something you can only do here and the show is gorgeous.

The sanctuary was built to shelter the Holy Virgin icon, and it has always served as a religious pilgrimage.

When you arrived at the top you can admire a beautiful view on Bologna and the hills around.

Then we took the road towards the next destination of our road trip : Florence ! I invite you to come check our stay in Florence on this article.

Despite spending only 24 hours, I loved Bologna ! It is not a very famous city and only a few tourists visit it. But I really liked its style and its charm with its orange and red painted buildings, its big porticoes along the streets and its rich history. I would love to go back there one day to discover more of its secrets. If you are not far from Bologna, I suggest you to make a stop, even if it’s only for a little coffee, it is worth it !

You can also check our stay in Bologna in my Youtube Video down below (Sorry it is in Franch though…)

I hope you enjoy the reading of this article and that it was helpful to you. Do not hesitate to send me a message via the « contact » tab, on the top right of the screen, or to subscribe to my Newsletter.

I will see you soon in a new article !

Laura :)