Travel Guide Europe Italy Bologna

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Introduction

Twin Medieval Towers of Bologna

Twin Medieval Towers of Bologna

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Bologna is a city in northern Italy and is the capital of Emilia-Romagna, a region in the Po Valley. The city has about 400,000 inhabitants and is one of the wealthiest cities in the country, at the same time offering splended culture and Italian cuisine to curious travellers who go beyond the general route.

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Neighbourhoods

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Sights and Activities

Bologna's historical city centre is one of the biggest in Europe (after Venice) and there are dozens of buildings dating back to the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings styles.

  • Medieval defensive towers / Twin Medieval Towers
  • The oldest university in the western world with the Anatomical Theatre (Archiginnasio) and Palazzo Poggi with collections from natural history, anatomy, physics and chemistry
  • The basilica of San Petronio, one of the biggest in the world
  • San Pietro Cathedral
  • Santo Stefano basilica and sanctuary
  • San Domenico basilica and sanctuary
  • St. Francis basilica
  • Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of San Luca
  • Arcades (porticos) like the Portico of San Luca

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Events and Festivals

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Weather

Bologna's climate is nice, with generally warm summers from late May to September when temperatures are usually between 25 °C and 30 °C and nights are roughly 10 °C colder than that. It can get pretty hot though on some day in July and August and combined with the European crowds this may not be the best time to visit. Winters last from December to March with temperatures well below zero during the day but around freezing in the coldest months (December and January). Summers are driest although winters don't see that much of rain (or the odd snow flock) either. Most of the precipitation falls during the early spring (March-early May) and late autumn (October-November) months. A good time to plan your visit would be late May, early June or the month of September, avoiding hot or cold weather, rain and crowds alltogether.

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Getting There

By Plane

Bologna Airport (BLQ) offers numerous flights throughout Europe and is one of the fastest growing airports in the country. Lowcost airlines like Ryanair serve cities like London, Oslo, Madrid, Brussels, Frankfurt, Valencia, Paris and Birmingham, among other smaller cities. Many other airlines have domestic or international flights, including to Rome, Reykjavik, Athens, Prague, Vienna, Dublin, Geneva, Berlin, Cologne, Lisbon and Casablanca.

The Aerobus BLQ shuttle service goes to the Railway Station from the airport, taking about 20 minutes. There are also direct buses going to Modena and Siena from the airport.

By Train

For train tickets to many Italian cities and international connections as well, check both the Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) andthe Trenitalia websites for schedules and prices.

By Car

The city is at the junction of the A1, A14 and A13 highways, and so is easily accessible from anywhere in Italy. Most traffic from Milan would exit the A1 and take the Tangenziale, but beware this road at rush hour because it is horrendously packed. Expect to use 2 hours from the A1 exit to the Tangenziale to the centre at certain peak times over summer busy weekends, especially at the beginning and end of August.

By Bus

Ferrara has regular bus connections, taking about 1 hours. For most other regional or domestic cities, trains are a far better option.
Eurolines connects Bologna directly with several European cities, though again, trains and planes are a far better option and hardly more expensive, if not cheaper.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

TPER manages public transport in Bologna. Their information and ticket centres are available at some central locations in the city, including the railway station Bologna Centrale and Autostazione di Bologna, the intercity bus station. Bus maps are available there. Single tickets and some other types of bus tickets can be also purchased at many other resellers around the city (newspaper sellers, tobacconists, cafés, etc.).

By Foot

Bologna is a great place around which to travel on foot, as getting around the city is quite easy: the streets are well marked. It is also a great way to find hidden gems which are frequented by locals. Some care has to be taken crossing roads: the city centre swarms with scooters and small motorcycles (cars banned during the day) and they ride them everywhere.

By Bike

Bikes are most popular among the people of Bologna. They are available for rent on various location around the city (Dynamo, the bicycle parking station, can be found nearby the train station). You can ride on the many bike trails and on the side of the road. Be sure to lock them safely with a good lock, as they get stolen all around town, especially around the University.

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Eat

There are many choices for where to eat, as Bologna is generally considered to be the gastronomic centre of Italy, the Food Capital. It is difficult to find a truly poor meal as the Bolognese, like most Italians, use fabulous quality local produce with sparkling ingenuity.

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Drink

Consider visiting the many pubs and clubs of Via Zamboni (university zone); some, such as "The Irish Pub", popular with students and foreigners, give happy hours on Tuesday/Wednesday. "Al Piccolo" down the road in Piazza Verdi is another famous student haunt, a live DJ playing techno into the early mornings. Otherwise, the Via Pratello has many bars and is the center of the city's alternative scene. Worth a look in particular is "Mutanye", whose owner is reputed to have been part of the Red Brigade in his youth, hence the many soviet posters. Via Mascarella, in the northeast area of the city, has plenty of nightspots, among them two jazz clubs. And, finally, check out the many bars and pubs hosting music contests and concerts, from rock to jazz to "liscio", the traditional folk songs in Emilia-Romagna.

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Sleep

Upscale

View our map of accommodation in Bologna or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Work

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Learn

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Keep Connected

Internet

Almost all towns and cities in Italy have internet cafes. A growing number of budget hostels and nicer hotels have free Wifi. By law all public-access internet points must keep records of web sites viewed by customers, and even the customer's ID: expect to be refused access if you don't provide identification. Hotels providing Internet access are not required to record IDs if the connection is provided in the guest's room, although if the connection is offered in the main public hall then IDs are required. Publicly available wireless access without user identification is illegal, so open Wi-Fi hotspots (like the ones you might expect to find in a mall or cafée) all have some form of (generally one-time) registration.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The main networks are TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile, part of Telecom Italia, formerly state controlled), Vodafone, Wind, and 3 (only UMTS cellphones). Best advice is to buy a prepaid SIM card (from € 10 upwards) and a cheap mobile phone (€ 19 upwards) to put it in (if you don't have a cellphone already that you can use). It will be much more practical. All land line numbers start with 0. Mobile numbers start with 3. Numbers starting with 89 are high-fee services. In case of emergency call the appropriate number from the list below. Such calls are usually free and calls to 112, 113 (police), 115 (fire), 118 (health) can be made from payphones for free without the need of inserting coins. 112 (standard emergency number in GSM specification) can be dialed in any case for free from any mobile phone.

Post

Post Italiane is the national postal services of Italy and has quite an efficient network of postal offices and reliable postal services. Standard letters and postcards (up to 20 grams) cost €0.39 to send within Europe and the Mediterranean countries outside Europe and €0.41 to all other destinations throughout the country. Up to 50 grams, prices start at €0.52 for Europe, €0.62 for other areas. Packages start at €1.55 within Europe, and around €2.50 for other countries. Post office business hours in Italy are from 8:30am to 2:00pm from Monday to Friday, with closing times at Saturday and the last day of the month at 12 noon. In general, larger post offices in bigger cities and in tourist areas keep longer hours than those in local towns. Also note that business hours in the south might be different than the north, with longer hours at night, especially in summer! If you want to send packages you might try faster and more reliable/efficient private courier companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 44.4944456
  • Longitude: 11.3492311

Accommodation in Bologna

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This is version 12. Last edited at 3:31 on Aug 2, 17 by sleepBot. 52 articles link to this page.

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