Home of the European higher-education system (and pasta Bolognese)
The city of Bologna offers amazing sights around every corner. Being one of the oldest cities in Europe, its rich history can be observed on every single building, even the pavement rocks. Just walking around this magnificent work-of-art place is a feast for one’s eyes, but for those who need inspiration, we have prepared a few carefully picked suggestions.
The main square of the city dates to the 15th century. The square is dominated by the Duomo – Basilica of San Petronio, which is the world’s largest brick-built church – the first brick was laid down in 1390. The main façade remains unfinished. Many architects were commissioned to propose plans, but none was ever accepted. The church is the last resting place of Elisa Bonaparte, sister of Napoleon Bonaparte.
The entrance is free for public
Monday to Friday 7:45am-1:30pm and 3pm-6:30pm
Saturday and Sunday 7:45am-6:30pm.
The University, University library and
The main University building can be found on Via Zamboni, a 10 min walk from Piazza Maggiore. The internal yard is accessible for public throughout the day. The university library is located in the same area. Since 1712, when Luigi Ferdinando Marsili created the Institute of Sciences and endowed it with his own collection of books and manuscripts, the library had gone through multiple stages of restoration and development. Currently, the library holds over 1 250 000 volumes, an art collection of 400 portraits, and its walls are decorated with recently restored 16th century frescoes. Public opening hours are:
Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 6:45 p.m
Saturday 9 a.m to 1:30 p.m
Palazzo Poggi is the headquarters of the University of Bologna. The building dates back to 1560 and became the house of The Institute of Sciences in 1714 forming into the key part of the University of Bologna. All museal collections from the history of the university are located here.
The entrance ticket costs 5€ and opening hours are:
Tuesday to Friday 10am – 4pm
Saturday, Sunday and holidays 10am – 6pm
Piazza del Nettuno
Just a few steps from the main square stands Piazza del Nettuno with one of the most famous monuments of Bologna – Fountain of Neptune. Dating back to 1567, the fountain’s main ornament is an oversized god Neptune made of bronze.
The trident in this statue has served as a base for the Maserati logo, representing the strength and vigor of the sports car company and tying them back to the company’s original hometown.
Santa Maria della Vita and the Hospital of Death
Just off the main square, you can also find the Santa Maria della Vita church. It is a late baroque style roman catholic church accessible for public. Inside you can find a sculptural group Sorrow over dead Christ by Niccolò dell’Arca, and an adjacent oratory houses Transit of the Madonna by Alfonso Lombardi.
Right in front of the church, you can find a majestic portico (a porch) that once led to the Ospedale della Morte – Death Hospital. This used to be a big complex running alongside Via dei Musei, formerly Via della Morte – street of Death, which was used to store dead bodies of executed men, women and the wounded, frequented by medicine students studying anatomy on the corpses.
Two blocks from the University, you can find the Orto Botanico – the Botanical Garden of the University of Bologna. Established in 1568, it is one of the oldest in Italy. The Garden spreads over two hectares, there are four greenhouses: two contain tropical plants and two others a collection of succulents. Other sectors include medicinal plants, ornamental area, and the forest. The entrance to the Garden is free and opening hours are Monday – Sunday and holidays 9am – 3pm.
Bologna Welcome card
There is a service provided by the city of Bologna called Bologna Welcome card, which, if purchased, grants you access to multiple museums, attractions and other services. The card costs 30€ and works for 72 hours. The full list of museums, guided tours, and other services can be found on www.bolognawelcome.com.
A day in Bologna