Bologna's Shopping Areas, Bologna

Bologna's Shopping Areas (Self Guided), Bologna

When it comes to shopping, Bologna walks tall amid grands like Milan or Rome, with a harmonious mix of international chains, exclusive boutiques, luxury stores and open-air markets lining the streets in the city center, offering a wealth of international fashion, designer brands and top quality local delicacies in rich supply.

Shopping here is particularly pleasant on weekends when Zone 'T' (via Rizzoli and Via Independenza) and the streets east of Piazza Maggiore (which is a great place itself to browse – with craft shops, specialty delicatessens, cafés and wine bars) are closed to traffic, yielding way to the stalls with seasonal fruit, fresh fish and seafood, prosciutto, mortadella salami and so much more – for a true taste of Bologna! Some of the outlets, however, follow a somewhat unusual schedule: being closed on Thursday afternoon and Sunday.

The main shopping streets, leading off Piazza Maggiore, are Via Indipendenza and Via Rizzoli. The latter – a historic road built 2,000 years ago – is where most of Italy's high-end designer names have their storefronts. While the former is one of Bologna's main shopping areas with a variety of clothing stores, eateries, and fine wine sellers.

If you prefer a town market to luxury shopping, don't miss a stroll around the Mercato di Mezzo – a central location for trade and good food since the Medieval times.

Another one of the city’s most popular food mercatos is Orefici Market – well worth considering for a choice of Italian specialties and regional delicacies.

Whether you are a nostalgic old-style shop fan, a street market lover, or a luxury brand addict, this self-guided tour will cater to your needs, leading you to some of Bologna’s top shopping locations, reflecting the best the city has to offer!
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Bologna's Shopping Areas Map

Guide Name: Bologna's Shopping Areas
Guide Location: Italy » Bologna (See other walking tours in Bologna)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.8 Km or 0.5 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Piazza Maggiore (Main Square)
  • Mercato di Mezzo (Mezzo Market)
  • Orefici Market
  • Via Rizzoli (Rizzoli Street)
  • Via Indipendenza (Independence Street)
Piazza Maggiore (Main Square)

1) Piazza Maggiore (Main Square) (must see)

Piazza Maggiore is an ancient square that serves as the heart of old Bologna. Its origins date back to 1200 AD when the Municipality sought to bring city activities together in one spot. The square was expanded in the 14th century, and many grand buildings were added in the 16th century. This grand square is one of the oldest in Italy.

Today, many landmarks surround Piazza Maggiore. Visitors will find the impressive Basilica of San Petronio, the Notary Palace, the Accursio Palace and the Clock Tower, the Podesta Palace, and the Bianchi Palace. In the center of the square, visitors will also find the magnificent Fountain of Neptune.

The square features a raised area referred to as Crescentone, as it resembles a Crescenta style bread. During the Allied operation that freed Bologna in 1945, Allied tanks damaged the Crescentone. The Bolognese left the damage to commemorate this historic day.

In July and August, the Under the Stars Cinema film festival is held in the square. Over 3,000 chairs are placed on the Crescentone and the square turns into one of Italy's largest outdoor cinemas.

In addition to the large concentration of gorgeous and historic buildings, Piazza Maggiore has many cafes and restaurants. Dine outdoors and watch the activity in the busy square.

Why You Should Visit:
The historic square is home to beautiful architecture, historic buildings and is the cultural heart of Bologna. The main streets of Bologna radiate from Piazza Maggiore.

The main tourist office is located in the square and is a great resource for visitors.
Mercato di Mezzo (Mezzo Market)

2) Mercato di Mezzo (Mezzo Market) (must see)

The Mezzo Market has been a central location for trade and good food since Medieval times. The market is housed in a 19th-century pavilion and underwent redevelopment in 2014. Today, as in the past, the market draws locals and visitors with fabulous food, wine, and gourmet choices. It's open daily until midnight and offers a fabulous way to immerse yourself in Italian culture.

The covered pavilion is three stories high and has a variety of choices. Try pizza, cheeses, craft beer, espresso coffee, and taste pastries from Bologna's favorite bakery.

The Emilia Romagna wine store offers over 60 different wines, including organic options. Romanzo sells meat from a farm that breeds cows and pigs on nearby hills, so you know you are getting local farm-fresh goods.

For take-out, try fried fish from Pescheria Pavaglione. At the Rosso Pomodoro pizzeria, you can watch the pizza dough resting. Don't miss the Baladin microbrewery in the basement. The basement also hosts stalls with great hamburgers and salads. As you tour the market, don't miss trying the variety of Italian pasta.
Orefici Market

3) Orefici Market

Via degli Orefici is a narrow, yet well-known street in the heart of Bologna – “the gourmet capital of Italy” – that is packed with restaurants, bars and trendy clubs ideal for a romantic dinner or outing with friends. Also, there is an eponymous street market, famed as one of the city’s most popular food mercatos. There, in addition to a variety of Italian specialties, you will find a heavenly selection of regional delicacies.

The names of the streets in this part of town offer guidance to the businesses located there. For instance, the goldsmiths are found traditionally in Via degli Orefici (Goldsmiths' Street). Indeed, a large number of goldsmith shops have populated this street since the Middle Ages, producing rings, necklaces and bracelets fitted with gems and pearls, for generations, to this very day.

So, if you need a gold bangle – a great Italian souvenir! – make sure to pop into one of the Orefici shops.
Via Rizzoli (Rizzoli Street)

4) Via Rizzoli (Rizzoli Street)

The Rizzoli Street is a historic road that links Piazza Maggiore with the Two Towers. Two thousand years ago, this road was the Roman road Via Aemilia.

Today, it is named after Francesco Rizzoli, a famous orthopedist who founded Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute, one of the top orthopedic institutes in Italy.

On hot days, the porticos offer pedestrians shade and a break from the sun. The porticos also have gorgeous mosaic flooring, adding a Roman flair to this historic street. The Rizzoli Street is lined with shops, coffee shops, and restaurants. Most of Italy's high-end designers have storefronts on this street.

Visitors will be treated to fabulous views of The Two Towers as you walk this busy street. On the weekends, The Rizzoli Street is closed to traffic. During busy times, you'll be treated to various street performances.
Via Indipendenza (Independence Street)

5) Via Indipendenza (Independence Street) (must see)

The Independence Street is one of Bologna's main streets. It starts at Piazza Maggiore and ends at Central Station. The road was traced along the original Roman Maximus between 1885 and 1890.

The Independence Street is a popular shopping area with a variety of clothing stores, cafes, restaurants, chocolatiers, and fine wine sellers. Along the Independence Street, visitors will also find the Arena del Sole historical theatre. The Independence Street passes through Piazza VIII Agosto. The stunning Basilica of San Pietro is also located on this historic street.

Don't miss the Majani building, built-in 1908 for the Majani chocolate makers. Since then, it has housed a tea hall and a ballroom. Today, it houses a clothing megastore.

The word "T" is well-known to locals. The T refers to the crossroads of streets that form the heart of Bologna: the Independence Street, the Rizzoli Street, and the Ugo Bassi Street. T Days refers to days when these vital streets turn into pedestrian-only streets. T Days are usually weekends and public holidays.

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