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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.
A: Take your getaway to the next level with the help of a rental car. Whether you're discovering everything that Imola has to offer or heading out into the wider Bologna area, having your own set of wheels gives you the freedom to do your holiday your way. Have a look at our guide to Cheap Car Hire in Bologna and hit the road in style.
A: Most people visiting Bologna touchdown at Bologna (BLQ-Guglielmo Marconi). This popular airport operates around 2,431 international flights every month.
A: The most frequently booked accommodation in Bologna are apartments. Also in high demand are hotels, bed & breakfasts and guest houses.
A: Flights, a sweet ride and somewhere to lay your head at the end of the day — we have you covered. All you need to do is figure out what combination of these meets your needs. With Expedia, you can plan your trip to Bologna how you like it, with plenty of attractions and experiences as well.
A: We're going to let you in on a little secret — it's our holiday packages. By locking in your Flights, Hotels and Activities with the help of Expedia, you'll pick up deals that'll make your wallet sing. It's as easy as that. Not ready to finalize that car or hotel just yet? No problem. You'll be able to add them to your existing booking at any time and still enjoy access to terrific discounts. How does up to 42% off selected hotels sound to you?
A: Imola packs a serious punch when it comes to attractions and activities. If you're headed to this big city, begin your sightseeing at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari. Make a detour to Sforza Castle and Palazzo Machirelli afterwards.
15 minutes by taxi from the airport (€20) and the same to town or a €2 bus ride. We went at new year and thought the New Years party was excellent value and great fun. Probably a good base in the summer if you wanted to tour Italy and visited Florence, Pisa etc. Close to the Ducati and Ferrari ...
Lovely hotel with a sense of history. Great city centre location close to places of interest, restaurants and bars
A classical Grand Hotel. The location could not be better. The staff is very professional and friendly. This is not an easy period for any hotel so I wish the entire team to stay strong safe. Hope to be back and enjoy the beautiful city of Bologna.
The receptionist, Crypien, has been wonderful and thoughtful in changing our rooms for a shower bathroom instead of bathtub one as my mum is old and has weak legs. The overall service is commendable and excellent from NH Bologna not to mention the great rooks and comfy bed. Definitely Comig back ...
Great location. Rooms were clean and comfortable. Fast internet. Friendly staff. Breakfast could be better.
Located near the "Fiera district" and close to FICO center. Checkout time is a little sooner (10 am) and cleanliness can be improved in the room (dust). Breakfast is ok.
This hotel was awesome. Having the bar and restaurant was greaf and service was excellent!