Bologna is a truly incredible city at the heart of an incredible region, home to some of the most enduring Italian legends. Just consider that not far from Bologna, you can find Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Morini, Malaguti and Ducati, in addition to the circuits of Imola and Misano. In nearby Modena, Osteria Francescana was decreed as best restaurant in the world in 2016 and 2018. Bologna’s University is the oldest in the world, founded in 1088. Curiously, one of the most famous Italian recipes outside the country – so-called spaghetti Bolognese – is not in actual fact a speciality in the city, where pasta with ragù meat sauce is made using tagliatelle. Bologna is a beautiful city for a stroll, with no end of cafés, restaurants and stores in which to celebrate the joy of being alive.
Boggi Milano in Bologna
We are proud to have a store in this fantastic city:
A Boggi Milano look for Bologna
If Bologna has a dominant colour, it would be the red of the millions of bricks used to build its palazzi, towers and churches. And so this look featuring the versatile linen-wool jacket with hazelnut check m0tif, coordinated with burnt-sienna cotton grosgrain trousers, will make you feel perfectly at home, smart enough for just about any occasion. Under the beautifully-tailored jacket, a white polo shirt in cotton crepe is cool and comfortable. Complete the look with a pair of suede loafers and a suede belt with nubuck lining.
Top ten sights in Bologna
1. The longest portico in the world
One of the most distinctive characteristics of Bologna is its porticoes. It is the city that has most in the world, for a total length of over 38 km, and it has the longest single portico, San Luca, almost 3.8 km long, with 666 arched spans, runing from Arco Bonaccorsi at Porta Saragozza, up to a religious building, Santuario della Madonna di San Luca, on the hill Colle della Guardia. The porticoes originated from the habit of increasing the space available on upper floors of buildings, initially just by extending the floor beams to create cantilevered extensions, and later by adding supporting columns on the ground floor for better stability. The need for extra space began from the 11th century, due to the constant arrival of students and professors at the University of Bologna.
2. Neptune, Maserati and their attributes
The fountain named Fontana del Nettuno was completed in 1566, with sculpture by Giambologna and assistants. The trident held by Neptune was adopted by Maserati for their logo. According to legend, Giambologna – the complete name of this Flemish sculptor was Jean de Boulogne di Douai – wanted to give the nude statue a truly virile look, achieving it by the artful positioning of Neptune’s thumb. It’s not clear whether this was intentional or the result of chance, but there is a black stone in the piazza whose position corresponds to the best place in which to see the effect. It is named the “pietra della vergogna” – stone of shame.
Piazza del Nettuno, 40124 Bologna
3. Bagni di Mario – Conserva di Valverde
“Bagni di Mario” sounds like the name of an Ancient Roman baths, and it was thus called in the 19th century when this underground structure was rediscovered. In actual fact, it was built during the Renaissance, in about 1560, to provide fresh water for the Neptune Fountain down in the city. The visit, which has to be prebooked and is always a guided tour, enables you to visit the impressive vaulted octagonal hall, with its eight small water collection tanks, and a series of narrow brick channels. Further information and bookings at http://www.succedesoloabologna.it/conserva-di-valverde/
Tel. +39 051 226 934.
Via Bagni di Mario 10, 40136 Bologna
4. The towers
In the Middle Ages, Bologna had 180 towers. Today there are 23, and the most famous are Torre degli Asinelli and the Garisenda, both crooked. For a small entrance fee, you can climb to the top of Torre degli Asinelli to see the view. Incredible to think that it was built exactly a thousand years ago. Nearby, at Via Rizzoli 9, the Roxy Bar will sound familiar to Italian readers: it is the bar that Vasco Rossi included in his song Vita Spericolata.
Torre Prendiparte differs from the others in that you can sleep here in a B&B in an intimate setting with carefully restored rooms and antique furniture. A staircase leads up to a panoramic terrace at a height of 60 metres.
Piazzetta Prendiparte 5
Tel. +39 335 5616 858
5. Harpsichord collection
The Tagliavini collection of harpsichords is housed in the Palazzo of San Colombano, itself a fine location, recently restored and comprising a Medieval crypt. Open Tuesday-Sunday 11am-7pm, closed on Mondays. Concerts are regularly held here, using the antique harpsichords, spinets, organs and pianos, most of which are still functioning.
Via Parigi 5, Bologna
Tel. +39 051 1993 6366
6. Teatro Anatomico
The Teatro Anatomico in Bologna is a beautiful timber-lined hall, built in 1637, with twelve statues of famous doctors, 20 of the most famous anatomists working in Bologna, and two statues named “Spellati,” skinless men. Above the canopy borne by the Spellati, a seated female figure, an allegory of Anatomy, receives the tribute of a femur from a winged angel. The Theatre is part of the University of Bologna, one of the oldest in Europe, and it was used for demonstrations and dissections, with the professor explaining from the pulpit with the canopy, while his assistant worked on the body on the table. The Theatre can be visited from Monday to Friday, 10am-6pm, Saturday 10am-7pm, Sunday 10am-2pm, € 3.
Piazza Galvani 1, 40124 Bologna
Tel. +39 051 276 811
7. Museo del Patrimonio Industriale
Located in a converted brick kiln on the outskirts of Bologna, this museum presents highlights of industrial activities performed in the city in the past, such as silk mills, tortellini machines, the many motorbike factories of the city including Ducati, Minarelli and Morini, mortadella production and much more. Open from 16 September to 15 July, Tuesday-Sunday 9am-1pm, Saturday and Sunday 3pm-6.30pm. From 16 July to 15 September, open only for groups with prior booking. € 5.
Via della Beverara 123
Tel. +39 051 6356 611
8. Museo della Comunicazione G. Pelagalli
A rare example of a museum whose founder, Giovanni Pelegalli, is still there, ready to explain the exhibits comprising antique radios and other objects dating from 1760 to 2000, that illustrate the work of Guglielmo Marconi, Thomas Edison, the Lumière brothers and other personalities. It became part of the UNESCO heritage in 1997. €5, your visit has to be booked in advance by telephone.
Via Col di Lana 7/N
Tel. +39 051 6491 008, +39 338 8609 111
9. Museo delle Cere Anatomiche Luigi Cattaneo
This small collection of medical casts is part of the University of Bologna, and is interesting not only for medical students but for all adults who will appreciate having a relatively normal body. There are 18th-19th-century specimens and depictions of diseases that thankfully have disappeared, as well as deformities and diseases, and complications in pregnancy. Free of charge, open Monday-Friday 9am-1pm, Saturday, Sunday and holidays 10am-6pm. From 1 June to 31 August, it opens at 10am.
Via Irnerio 48, 40126 Bologna
Tel. +39 051 2091 556
If you like this sort of 19th-century view of the human body and science in general, there is another location worth listing. At Palazzo Poggi, there is a natural history collection, and a section dedicated to anatomy and obstetrics, with yet more wax models of dissected human bodies. Bologna was an important centre for science and medicine for centuries, and it developed a specialization for these wax models, used to train doctors and surgeons. Open Tuesday-Friday 10am-4pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am-6pm, closed on Mondays. €5.
Museo di Paolo Poggi
Via Zamboni 33, Bologna
10. Carpigiani Gelato Museum
The Ice-Cream Museum is about 12 km from central Bologna, and it is one of the few structures in Italy dedicated to artisanal ice-cream. It runs ice-cream experiences, classes and guided tours. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9am-6pm, but all visits are guided and have to be pre-booked. It is part of Carpigiani, a company that has been making artisanal ice-cream machines since 1946. See the website https://www.gelatomuseum.com for further details and bookings.
Gelato Museum Carpigiani
Via Emilia, 45 40011 Anzola Emilia (Bologna)
Tel. +39 051 6505 306, +39 344 3804 701