Not packed in a bus. Not herded with a group. Self guided walk is the SAFEST way to sightsee while observing SOCIAL DISTANCING!

Bologna Palaces (Self Guided), Bologna

Bologna is an ancient city with beautiful architecture. In these palaces you can see art by the great masters, intricately decorated interiors and luxurious old furniture. This self-guided tour will lead you to Bologna’s most historically significant palaces.
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Bologna Palaces Map

Guide Name: Bologna Palaces
Guide Location: Italy » Bologna (See other walking tours in Bologna)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Palazzo Aldrovandi
  • Marescalchi Palace
  • Caprara Palace
  • Palazzo dei Notai
  • Palazzo d'Accursio
  • Palace of Podestà
  • Archiginnasio Palace
  • Palazzi dei Pepoli
  • Palazzo Della Mercanzia
  • Palazzo Bolognini
  • Palazzo Fantuzzi
Palazzo Aldrovandi

1) Palazzo Aldrovandi

The Palazzo Aldovrandi is a Senatorial palace on Strada di Galliera in Bologna, built in Rococo style. Replacing an older construction, the palace we see today began in 1725 under the patronage of the Cardinal Pompeo Aldrovandi with plans commissioned from Franco Maria Angelini. After Angelini's death in 1731, the work, including the Rococo facade, ornamented with Istrian marble, continued by 1741 under Alfonso Torreggiani. The cardinal's once large art collection mainly made its way to the National Gallery of London. The library was dispersed by the middle of the 19th century. In the 19th century the Aldrovandi family had a majolic factory in a section of the palace. The interior contains the frescoes of Vittorio Maria Bigari. The grand entry staircase is particulary notable. The palace changed hands in the 19th century to the Montanari family.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Marescalchi Palace

2) Marescalchi Palace

The 16th century Marescalchi Palace is known for housing many wonderful frescoes and paintings. Floriano Ambrosini designed its beautiful façade. Inside are paintings by Tiarini, Reni and Tibaldi and a unique oval room with intricate adornments.
Caprara Palace

3) Caprara Palace

Caprara Palace, designed by Francesco Morandi, boasts an impressive stairway from 1705 and splendid frescoes. During his trip to Bologna, Napoleon resided here. Currently, it houses the Prefecture of Bologna.
Palazzo dei Notai

4) Palazzo dei Notai

Palazzo dei Notai is a palace in Bologna. Facing the Piazza Maggiore, it was built in 1381 by the city's notaries guild as their seat, under design by Berto Cavalletto and Lorenzo da Bagnomarino. Another section facing Palazzo d'Accursio was remade by Bartolomeo Fioravanti around 1437. It was again restored in 1908 by Alfonso Rubbiani. The interior has 15th century frescoes.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Palazzo d'Accursio

5) Palazzo d'Accursio

Palazzo d'Accursio (or Palazzo Comunale) is a palace in Bologna. It is located on the Piazza Maggiore and had been the city's Town Hall until 11 November 2008. Palazzo d'Accursio is home to the Civic Art Collection, with paintings from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. It also houses the Museo Morandi, with the works by Giorgio Morandi donated to the comune by his family. In 1336 it became the seat of the Anziani ("Elder"), the highest magistrates of the commune, and then seat of the government. In the 15th century it was restored by Fioravante Fioravanti, who added, among the other feature, the Clock Tower (Torre d'Accursio).

The façade features a portcullis and a Madonna with Child, a terracotta by Niccolò dell'Arca in the upper section. Over the portal is a large bronze statue of the Bolognese Pope Gregory XIII (1580). A bronze statue of Pope Boniface VIII is now in Medieval Museum. The Hall of the Communal Council, on the first floor, is where the Bolognese Senators met, and contains a frescoed gallery ceiling by Angelo Michele Colonna and Gioacchino Pizzoli (1675–1677). The Farnese Hall, on the second floor, was rebuilt in 1665 by Cardinal Girolamo Farnese. It has fresco decoration by pupils of Francesco Albani.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Palace of Podestà

6) 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.
Archiginnasio Palace

7) Archiginnasio Palace (must see)

The Archiginnasio of Bologna is one of the most important buildings in the city of Bologna; once the main building of the University of Bologna, it currently houses the Archiginnasio Communal Library. The construction of the Archiginnasio dates back to the 16th century, when Piazza Maggiore was drastically remodeled under papal orders. The Archiginnasio was the main building of the University of Bologna from 1563 until 1803, when it became the location for the Institute of Science. In 1838, one section of the Archiginnasio was given to the Archiginnasio Municipal Library, the largest library in Emilia-Romagna.

It houses important historical, philosophical, political, literary, artistic, biographical and bibliographical texts as well as an extensive section dedicated to Bologna's culture. The library holds around 35,000 manuscripts and incunabula, among other objects. Upon entering, visitors are asked to hand over all bags and writing materials which can be picked up when leaving. The building is made up of two levels with a lower portico and inner courtyard that surround the former church of Santa Maria dei Bulgari. The upper level houses the study rooms of the legisti, and the artisti. The upper level still houses the Anatomical theater of the Archiginnasio, which was built in 1637 by Antonio Levanti.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Palazzi dei Pepoli

8) Palazzi dei Pepoli

Palazzi dei Pepoli is made up of two historical palaces built at different times. It houses several works by famous artists, including frescoes, paintings of the Pepoli family and luxurious furniture.
Palazzo Della Mercanzia

9) Palazzo Della Mercanzia (must see)

The Gothic Palazzo Della Mercanzia, dating back to 1384, was made from clay brick and marble. It contains statues of the patron saints of Bologna, a statue of Justice and beautiful paintings by famous artists. Heavily damaged during World War II, it underwent reconstruction to restore its former beauty.
Palazzo Bolognini

10) Palazzo Bolognini

Palazzo Bolognini is one of the city’s most beautiful palaces. Its construction began in 1517 and was completed 1602. The sculpture of the façade, by Alfonso Lombardi and Niccolò da Volterra, is especially impressive.
Palazzo Fantuzzi

11) Palazzo Fantuzzi

The Renaissance Palazzo Fantuzzi, built in 1517, was an occasional residence of King James III and VIII. It boasts a magnificent façade decorated with elephants made in the Tosco-Roman tradition. Inside, there many fine frescoes and sculptures that are well worth seeing.

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.
Bologna Introduction Walk

Bologna Introduction Walk

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.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 Km or 2.5 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
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
Specialty Shops Walking Tour

Specialty Shops Walking Tour

Italians prefer to do their shopping in small specialty shops, which are numerous in Bologna. You can find anything from Italian wines, Italian hats, ceramics and books to unique designer shoes and much more. Take this self-guided tour to discover the best in Bologna’s specialty shops.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 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
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