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Bologna Introduction Walk (Self Guided), Bologna

Bologna is a beautiful Italian city with a lot of spectacular sightseeing. It contains well-preserved architecture over 1,000 years old, including beautiful palaces with patrimonial art and furniture. This orientation walk will lead you to Bologna’s most popular attractions.
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Bologna Introduction Walk Map

Guide Name: Bologna Introduction Walk
Guide Location: Italy » Bologna (See other walking tours in Bologna)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 16
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 Km or 2.5 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Basilica of San Petronio
  • Archaeological Museum
  • Piazza Maggiore
  • Palace of Podestà
  • Fountain of Neptune
  • Via Indipendenza
  • Theater Arena del Sole
  • Parco Montagnola
  • Botanical Garden
  • Luigi Cattaneo Wax Museum
  • Porta San Donato
  • Museum of Mineralogy
  • National Art Gallery of Bologna
  • University Quarter
  • San Giacomo Maggiore Church
  • Two Towers
Basilica of San Petronio

1) Basilica of San Petronio (must see)

The Basilica of San Petronio is the main church of Bologna, northern Italy. It dominates the Piazza Maggiore. It is the sixth largest church in the world, stretching for 132 meters in length and 60 meters in width, while the vault reaches 45 meters inside and 51 meters in the facade. It can contain about 28,000 persons. The basilica is dedicated to the patron saint of the city, Saint Petronius, who was the bishop of Bologna in the fifth century. The construction was a communal project of Bologna, not of the bishops. The property was a symbol of communal power that was not transferred from the city to the diocese until 1929; the basilica was finally consecrated in 1954. It has been the seat of the relics of Bologna's patron saint only since 2000.

The interior is notable for a Madonna with Saints by Lorenzo Costa the Younger and a Pietà by Amico Aspertini. Also the colours of the walls and the stained glass windows are noteworthy. The choir was made in 15th century by Agostino de' Marchi, while the ciborium is a work by Vignola.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Archaeological Museum

2) Archaeological Museum (must see)

The Archaeological Museum is the most popular and interesting museum in Bologna. It houses one of Italy's best Egyptian collections, including mummies and treasures from ancient Egypt, as well as artwork from the Roman Empire and many precious sculptures.

Opening hours: Monday - Friday: 9 am - 6 pm; Saturday – Sunday and holidays: 10 am – 6.30 pm; closed: Tuesdays (except holidays).
Piazza Maggiore

3) Piazza Maggiore (must see)

Piazza Maggiore, Bologna’s main square, houses Palazzo Comunale and Palazzo del Podesta. The latter was the seat of the municipal government for many years. Arengo Tower stands behind a palace in this square, as well as a beautiful fountain of Neptune and an old magnificent church.
Palace of Podestà

4) Palace of Podestà (must see)

Palace of Podestà is located in the city’s main square, Piazza Maggiore. It dates back to the 13th century and was reconstructed in the 15th century, by designer A. Fioravanti. There is also a tall medieval tower created by Master Alberto, an engineering masterpiece built not on the ground but on the pillars of the palace’s arched vault.
Fountain of Neptune

5) Fountain of Neptune (must see)

The Fountain of Neptune (Fontana di Nettuno) is a monumental civic fountain located in the eponymous square, Piazza Nettuno, next to Piazza Maggiore, in Bologna, Italy. Its bronze figure of Neptune, extending his reach in a lordly gesture of stilling and controlling the waters, is an early work of Giambologna's maturity, completed about 1567.

The work was designed by the Palermitan architect Tommaso Laureti in 1563, with an over-lifesize bronze of the god Neptune on the top, executed by Giambologna, who had submitted a model for the fountain of Neptune in Florence, but had lost the commission to Baccio Bandinelli. Before the fountain was built, an entire edifice was demolished to make space for it. The fountain was completed in 1565, and the Neptune was fixed in place within a couple of years.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Via Indipendenza

6) Via Indipendenza (must see)

Via Indipendenza is Bologna’s most popular street for shopping. There are a wide variety of goods sold here, where something for everyone can be found. Majani chocolates, Italy’s finest chocolates, are sold here, as well as the best Italian wines and many other things.
Theater Arena del Sole

7) Theater Arena del Sole (must see)

Founded in 1810, Theater Arena del Sole preserves its historical charm. Its architecture is characteristic of the Neoclassical and Baroque styles and possesses many intricate decorative elements.
Parco Montagnola

8) Parco Montagnola (must see)

Parco Montagnola, located in the center of Bologna, is a park dating back to the 17th century with a monument and a beautiful fountain. You can see an impressive staircase leading up to it, which is part of the remains of the castle the park was built on. This popular site attracts many tourists.
Botanical Garden

9) Botanical Garden (must see)

The Botanical Garden, established in 1568, contains over 5,000 specimens of local and exotic plants. There are three greenhouses containing unique tropical plants. Italy is known to have been one of the first countries to construct gardens of this type and this one is well worth visiting.
Luigi Cattaneo Wax Museum

10) Luigi Cattaneo Wax Museum

The Luigi Cattaneo Wax Museum is one of the many University Museums. It is not a wax museum of celebrities, as one might think. This museum displays models of human organs, including diseased ones, as it is dedicated to educating visitors.
Porta San Donato

11) Porta San Donato (must see)

Porta San Donato, built in the 13th century is part of the city wall that used to protect the city. Made in the form of an arch, it is wonderfully decorated with architectural elements of that time.
Museum of Mineralogy

12) Museum of Mineralogy (must see)

The Museum of Mineralogy, located on one of the most beautiful squares in Bologna, is an interesting place to visit, displaying unique items such as meteorites, precious stones, other rare stones, minerals and much more.
National Art Gallery of Bologna

13) National Art Gallery of Bologna (must see)

The National Art Gallery of Bologna (Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna) is a museum in Bologna. It is located in the former Saint Ignatius Jesuit novitiate of the city's University district, and inside the same building that houses the Academy of Fine Arts.

The museum offers a wide collection of Emilian paintings from the 13th to the 18th century and other fundamental works by artists who were in some way related to the city. The gallery's first nucleus of works came from the acquisition in 1762 by monsignor Francesco Zambeccari of eight early 15th-century altarpieces, salvaged from the demolition of Saint Mary Magdalene's church. In 1997 the Gallery was complety renovated to comply the European standards, and it is one of the best known Italian art galleries, internationally known and appreciated for its space dedicated exclusively to temporary exhibitions and for its educational activities.

Opening hours: Tue,Wed: 8:30 am- 2 pm; Thu-Sat: 2:30 pm- 7:30 pm; Sunday: 8:30 am- 7:30 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
University Quarter

14) University Quarter (must see)

There are many bars and cafés in Bologna’s university quarter, along Via Zamboni. The University of Bologna is located here, which is the oldest university in Europe, established over 900 years ago.
Sight description based on wikipedia
San Giacomo Maggiore Church

15) San Giacomo Maggiore Church (must see)

San Giacomo Maggiore is a church in Bologna, central Italy. It was founded by the Augustinian Order in 1267 and houses, among the rest, the Bentivoglio Chapel, featuring numerous Renaissance artworks. A community of hermits had established itself near the walls of Bologna, along the Savena river, as early as 1247. Here they founded a monastery with the annexed church of St. James. They were later merged with the Augustinian Order in 1256 and, as they needed a larger religious complex within the walls, in 1267 construction of the new church in the present location. The edifice was finished in 1315, but it consecration took place in 1344 after the completion of the apse section.

The façade is the oldest part of the church, with its late-Romanesque proportions. The decorations in Istrian stone on the ogival windows, in Venetian style, were added by Lombardy masters in 1295. The four funerary cells were added in the early 14th century, a few time after those in the portico, which date to the 13th century and had frescoes; the original entrance protyrus was modified in the same period.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Two Towers

16) Two Towers (must see)

The Two Towers, both of them leaning, are the symbol of the city. They are located at the intersection of the roads that lead to the five gates of the old ring wall. The taller one is called the Asinelli while the smaller but more leaning tower is called the Garisenda. Their names derive from the families which are traditionally credited for their construction between 1109 and 1119.

It is believed that the Asinelli Tower initially had a height of ca. 70 m and was raised only later to the current 97.2 m. The Asinelli Tower was used by the scientists Giovanni Battista Riccioli and Giovanni Battista Guglielmini for experiments to study the motion of heavy bodies and the earth rotation. The Garisenda Tower has today a height of 48 m with an overhang of 3.2 m. Initially it was approximately 60 m high, but had to be lowered in the 14th century due to a yielding of the ground which left it slanting and dangerous. In the early 15th century, the tower was bought by the Arte dei Drappieri, which remained the sole owner until the Garisenda became municipal property at the end of the 19th century.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Bologna, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Bologna

Create Your Own Walk in Bologna

Creating your own self-guided walk in Bologna is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Western Bologna Walking Tour

Western Bologna Walking Tour

The western part of Bologna has several historical sites, such as the old city gate, Old Town, several old churches, as well as art galleries and museums. This self-guided tour will lead you to the most interesting places in Bologna’s west end.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Southern Bologna Walking Tour

Southern Bologna Walking Tour

Southern Bologna boasts many great attractions, such as the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Saint Luca, museums and palaces with magnificent architecture. Take this self-guided tour and explore the most interesting sites in the south of Bologna.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.5 Km or 2.8 Miles
Bologna Museums

Bologna Museums

Bologna, a very old and beautiful Italian city, offers many museums, some of them located in beautiful palaces built centuries ago. Take this self-guided tour to discover the most fascinating museums in Bologna.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Bologna's Shopping Areas

Bologna's Shopping Areas

Bologna offers a wide selection of shopping, having streets lined with small shops and markets. Shops follow an unusual schedule, being closed on Thursday afternoon and on Sunday. This self-guided tour will lead you to Bologna’s most interesting shops and shopping streets.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 Km or 0.7 Miles
Historical Churches

Historical Churches

There are many magnificent, centuries-old churches in Bologna. Many of them are well-preserved and worth visiting during your stay in this fascinating old city. You can see unforgettable religious paintings by world famous artists. This self-guided tour will lead you to the majestic churches in downtown Bologna.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Bologna Art Galleries

Bologna Art Galleries

Italy has given the world some of the most talented artistic masters throughout history. Bologna has a fantastic art heritage, one of the most extensive in Italy. Its galleries display priceless patrimonial and contemporary art. This self-guided tour will lead you to the most famous art galleries in Bologna.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles