Are you in Bologna and do not know what to do? Read more to find out our tips! Discover the must-see monuments of the city!
1. Climb the Asinelli Tower
One of the symbols of Bologna is the Asinelli Tower, located at the end of St. Rizzoli, more precisely in Piazza di Porta Ravegnana. It was built between 1109 and 1119 at the behest of the Asinelli family and it has 498 steps with a height of 97,20 meters.
By climbing the Asinelli tower you will enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the city of Bologna. But be careful, if you are a university student you should not get to the top as, according to the legend, it could lengthen your graduation times or even prevent it.
The tower is open every day from 10 am to 6.15 pm: to visit it, it is necessary to book on the site or at the Punto Bologna Welcome in Piazza Maggiore 1/e.
Tickets cost 5€ per person and 3€ for over-65s, children under the age of 12, school groups, university students and holders of Card Musei Metropolitani. The climb is free for owners of Bologna Welcome Card EASY and Bologna Welcome Card PLUS, people with disabilities, Licensed Tourist Guides, tour leader of groups with minimum 20 participants and for children under the age of 4.
If you want to know more about the history of the Asinelli Tower, check the article Myths and curiosities of the two towers of Bologna: Garisenda and Asinelli.
2. Walking under the portico of San Luca
The Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca is a church located on the Colle della Guardia. You can reach it either on foot or by car, but we recommend the first option: once you arrive under the arco del Meloncello, in the Saragozza district, you can see the beginning of the arcades that will lead you to the top of the hill. A fun game while climbing is counting how many arches the portico has… How many do you think are?
In addition to that, along the way you can see the numerous chapels in honor of the families who financially supported its construction in 1650.
The Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca is also related to two miracles: if you want to discover its history do not miss the article The Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca between sacred and legend.
3. Drink wine in the most ancient tavern of Bologna
In Bologna, the oldest tavern is the Osteria del Sole: it opened for the first time in 1465 and it is still working today.
This tavern is located in vicolo Ranocchi and it is very unique as you can only drink wine there; the food can be taken from home or bought in one of the many nearby shops.
The wide choice of wine that it offers always satisfies all customers, even the most demanding ones.
The full story and other curiosities can be found in the article The five best taverns and trattorie in Bologna: from the 15th century to now.
4. Go to FICO fair
FICO is a permanent exhibition dedicated to the food: it occupies 10 hectares of land and it hosts about 150 companies.
FICO was born between 2012 and 2017, taking inspiration from the Universal Exhibition of Milan in 2015. In the theme park there are also workshops, multimedia rides, animals, conference center, Luna Farm (farm amusement park) and several outdoor areas.
FICO is currently closed due to the worldwide pandemic, but its reopening is scheduled for 7 July 2021.
It is located in St. Paolo Canali 8 and it can be reached by car, bus and bike! If you arrive by car, there are two free parking lots (P1 and P2) also provided with columns for charging electric cars. The bus line that gets there is the number 35, you have to get off at “Facoltà di Agraria” stop; the journey takes about 15 minutes from the Central Station. You can also reach FICO by bike through the many bike paths of the city: if you need a bike download the Mobike app, a bike sharing platform that offers e-bikes available 24 hours a day at a small price. To know more about how to arrive and move around Bologna
There are different types of entrance tickets:
- visit of the entire fair and parking: 10€ online or 12€ there;
- only the entry in the food and wine stands: 8€ online or 12€ there;
- Admission + tasting at 19€ or 25€ there; FICO subscription (valid for one year) to 29€ or 35€ there;
- FICO + LUNA FARM subscription (valid for one year) to 59€ online or 65€ there.
Do not miss this opportunity, go visit FICO!
5. Admire the city landscape from San Michele in Bosco
The San Michele in Bosco complex is located in St. Pupilli 1 in Bologna.
Its history begins in 1300, when the monastery was built. In the following centuries, on the hill where the Complex is located, so many wars took place that the surrounding wood was dismantled in order to have a better view of the area. In the middle of the 16th century, the cloister was constructed by the Caracci brothers and the church was renovated.
At the end of the 18th century, under the government of Napoleon Bonaparte, all the monastic orders were abolished so that the monastery was confiscated and used as a barrack and then as a prison. Only in 1841 it became the villa of the papal legate and then the Royal Villa: at the time the hill was accessible to everybody and it became the favourite spot for people who wanted to take a walk.
In 1895 the ancient monastery became the seat of the Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute until 1933, when Olivetan monks came back.
More about the complex
This complex hides a curiosity: once you enter and reach the presbytery, opening the door in front of you, you will find yourself in a long corridor (called il cannocchiale, literally “the telescope”) at the end of which there is a window from which you will think to be able to touch the Asinelli tower thanks to an optical effect.
There is also the Umberto I Library, where many ancient manuscripts are still kept and where you can stop to study. Sepaking of which, have a look at our article about the Salaborsa Library! You will discover the various functions it had over time!
The San Michele in Bosco Complex is open every day from 9 am to 12 pm and from 4 pm to 6 pm. The admission is free. After visiting the Monastery our advice is to stop to admire the breathtaking view that the hill offers.
- Degli Esposti C., Il santuario della Madonna di San Luca e il suo portico, Bologna, Persiani editore, 2012.
- Molinari Pradelli A., Bologna tra storia e osterie. Viaggio nelle tradizioni enogastronomiche petroniane, Bologna, Pendragon, 2007.
- Paltrinieri A. (a cura di), Il Monastero di San Michele in Bosco e l’Istituto ortopedico Rizzoli, Bologna, Pendragon, 2006.
- Roversi G., Le due torri di Bologna. Quando, come e perché, Bologna, Fondazione del Monte, 2011.