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Holiday in Bologna

Immerse yourself in the colours, aromas and traditions of Emilia-Romagna with a holiday in Bologna, and discover the city's rich artistic heritage. Bologna was the first cosmopolitan university centre in Western history. It has been flooded with students since 1088 A.D. The capital of the region, Bologna is a blend of innovation and tradition. Just take a look at the city's architecture. It had a typical medieval history, but was so advanced that citizens could walk throughout the city sheltered from the rain, thanks to kilometres of porticoes, making it unlike any other city in the world.

Bologna offers a different kind of architectural fabric from Florence or Rome, where masterpieces and buildings seem to stand out from the rest of the city. Hugged by city walls, in Bologna even the most beautiful Baroque or Renaissance buildings blend into the medieval layout of the historical centre, sprinkled along the various roads leading to the very heart of the city: Piazza di Porta Ravegnana, with its two iconic towers. Our holiday offers to Bologna are always plentiful, thanks to the many things to see and do, the numerous festivals and year round events, and in view of the city's large student population.

One self-guided tour we recommend, which lasts about three to four hours, starts from Neptune's Fountain, another symbol of the city. Before beholding the splendid Piazza Maggiore, take a step back in time into ancient Bologna, by entering the Salaborsa. This multimedia library has a section of glass flooring to the centre, which offers a glimpse of the city's origins. Heading onto the Piazza Maggiore, to the Bolognese simply “la piazza”, let yourself be swept away by the broad space and by the charm of the Palazzo D'Accursio, the city's headquarters, (which houses the Municipal Art Collection), the Basilica of San Petronio, which boasts the world's largest sundial, and the Voltone del Podestà. Moving on towards the lovely portico of the Pavaglione, one of the best places for shopping, you'll find the City Archaeological Museum, just a stone's throw from the Archiginnasio Palace, the original site of the oldest university in the Western World, where the Anatomy Theatre is well worth a visit.

Retracing your steps, behind Piazza Maggiore, have fun exploring the alleyways of the ancient city market, the Quadrilatero. Here, during the day you'll come across stalls selling every kind of food, from seasonal fruit to fresh fish, tortellini, mortadella, traditional sweets and much more. Arriving on Piazza Santo Stefano, along the Corte Isolani, in just a few minutes you'll be on the Strada Maggiore, where you can discover why Bologna is the "city of towers". The magnificent Asinelli Tower and Garisenda stand at the centre of a pin-wheel, with all the major roads radiating outwards towards the five gateways in the Antica Cerchia city walls. From the two towers, head down Via Zamboni, the university street, until you reach Via Indipendenza, dedicated to shopping. Before returning to Piazza Maggiore, if you have some time to spare, visit the City Medieval Museum just behind the square, one of the city's most beautiful museums.

Bologna is also famous for its vitality. Every year there's a plethora of cultural events focused on music, cinema and theatre, and countless exhibitions to spread and promote the arts. There are many traditional festivals and celebrations, such as the Sagra della Cuccagna, the International Soup Festival, the Domenica di Primavera (Spring Sunday), the Carnival in mid-April, and the renowned Mercato della Versilia in Forte dei Marmi.

Bolognese cuisine is considered some of the best in Italy. Tortellini, mortadella and tagliatelle alla bolognese made with succulent ragu sauce are just some of the treats that await you in any typical restaurant in this capital of flavour. Antica Trattoria Spiga, though a bit difficult to find, offers a great example of excellent local cuisine, as does the Osteria dell’Orsa. We also recommend Da Gianni, the Ristorante della Grada, Grassilli, Diana (perhaps the city's most famous eatery), and the rustic two-storey Da Cesari, in business for over a century. Thanks to its fame as a university city, Bologna boasts great night-life. Via del Pratello, Via Zamboni and Via delle Belle Arti are its students' top picks. Great places for live music are the Bentivoglio cantina or the Osteria de Poeti, the oldest in the city, which was at one time frequented by Carducci and Pascoli. If you enjoy classical music, an essential visit for you is the Mozart hall in the Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna, which offers a rich calendar of events. If all of this still hasn't convinced you to book a last minute holiday in Bologna, the city's endless list of pubs and discotheques might soon make you change your mind.


Top Hotel Deals

See all 917 properties in Bologna
Starhotels Excelsior £65
Starhotels Excelsior

Starhotels Excelsior

Viale Pietro Pietramellara 51, Bologna
     
    4.3
    of 5, from 1,790 reviews
    4.5 out of 5.0

    Set in Bologna, this family-friendly hotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of Via Indipendenza, Bologna Botanical Gardens and Piazza Maggiore. FICO Eataly World and Ducati Museum are also within 6 miles (10 km).

    Hotel Internazionale £87
    Hotel Internazionale

    Hotel Internazionale

    Via Indipendenza 60, Bologna
       
      4.3
      of 5, from 1,248 reviews
      4.0 out of 5.0

      Located in Bologna City Centre, this hotel is steps away from Via Indipendenza, Montagnola Park and Piazza VIII Agosto. Piazza Maggiore and University of Bologna are also within 6 miles (10 km).

      Hotel Metropolitan £86
      Hotel Metropolitan

      Hotel Metropolitan

      Via dell'Orso 6, Bologna
         
        4.3
        of 5, from 639 reviews
        4.0 out of 5.0

        Located in Bologna City Centre, this hotel is 0.2 mi (0.3 km) from Teatro Auditorium Manzoni and 0.6 mi (0.9 km) from Mercato Delle Erbe.

        Hotel Corona d 'Oro £135
        Hotel Corona d 'Oro

        Hotel Corona d 'Oro

        Via Oberdan 12, Bologna
           
          4.6
          of 5, from 425 reviews
          4.5 out of 5.0

          Located in Bologna City Centre, this luxury hotel is steps away from Tower of the Asinelli and Jewish Museum. Piazza Maggiore and University of Bologna are also within 6 miles (10 km).

          Hotel Michelino Bologna Fiera £36
          Hotel Michelino Bologna Fiera

          Hotel Michelino Bologna Fiera

          Via Michelino 91, Bologna
             
            4.4
            of 5, from 502 reviews
            3.5 out of 5.0

            This hotel is located in Bologna (Bologna Fiere District), close to BolognaFiere, National Art Gallery of Bologna and University of Bologna. Local attractions also include Basilica Santo Stefano and Fountain of Neptune.

            Grand Hotel Elite £44
            Grand Hotel Elite

            Grand Hotel Elite

            Via Aurelio Saffi 36, Bologna
               
              3.8
              of 5, from 794 reviews
              4.0 out of 5.0

              Located in Bologna City Centre, this hotel is within 6 miles (10 km) of Ospedale Maggiore di Bologna, Piazza Maggiore and Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute. University of Bologna and Ducati Museum are also within 6 miles (10 km).

              Hotel Bologna Airport £46
              Hotel Bologna Airport

              Hotel Bologna Airport

              Via M.E Lepido 203/14, Bologna
                 
                4.1
                of 5, from 1,089 reviews
                4.0 out of 5.0

                Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 6 miles (10 km) of Ducati Museum, Piazza Maggiore and Unipol Arena. Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute and Gelato Museum Carpigiani are also within 6 miles (10 km).

                iH Hotels Bologna Amadeus £43
                iH Hotels Bologna Amadeus

                iH Hotels Bologna Amadeus

                Via Marco Emilio Lepido, 39, Bologna
                   
                  4.1
                  of 5, from 814 reviews
                  4.0 out of 5.0

                  Located in Borgo Panigale, this hotel is within 6 miles (10 km) of Ducati Museum, Piazza Maggiore and Unipol Arena. Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute and Ospedale Maggiore di Bologna are also within 6 miles (10 km).

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