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The Top 10 Things To Do in Bologna
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Things to Do in Bologna

Italy is a well-known food lover's destination, and Bologna is at the epicenter of the country's culinary heart. This historic city, the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, is a place where eating can rightly be called a local pastime—and one of the main reasons people visit. Food tours in and around Bologna include such local delicacies as prosciutto from nearby Parma, nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and the famous balsamic vinegar from the town of Modena just 28 miles (45 kilometers) away. Walk through the city's colorful food markets with a guide to find out what’s on menus all over town, or learn the secrets of Italian cuisine from expert chefs during a cooking class. When you need a break from all that eating, take a walking tour or guided bike ride through Bologna's historic center to see the Basilica di San Petronio and Fountain of Neptune (Fontana del Nettuno) on Piazza Maggiore, the two medieval leaning towers, and the University of Bologna, founded in 1088 AD by its own students. For farther-afield highlights, take a day trip to the nearby towns of Bazzano and Vignola; the pretty villages of the Reno Valley; or the factories where Lamborghini, Pagani, and Ferrari make their sports cars.
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Bologna Piazza Maggiore
76 Tours and Activities

bologna’s beating heart is piazza maggiore, in the city’s old center. a classic example of renaissance town planning, it is one of the most graceful public squares in italy.

the pedestrianised square is surrounded by the basilica di san petronio, the palazzo communale (city hall), palatial public buildings and bologna’s trademark covered walkways ringed by arches.

sit at an outdoor cafe to enjoy people watching in the sunshine during the day, and visit in the early evening to see the beautifully floodlit fountain of neptune, sculpted in 1566.

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San Petronio Basilica (Basilica di San Petronio)
The Top 10 Things To Do in Bologna
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43 Tours and Activities

named for bologna’s patron saint, the city’s fifth-century bishop, the basilica di san petronio is the world’s fifth-largest church and a fabulous example of gothic grandeur.

365bet体育网站 construction began in 1390, but plans to enlarge the basilica were halted in the 1500s when the design threatened to overshadow that of st peter’s in rome. thanks to this creative curtailment, the basilica’s facade detail remains unfinished.

on a tour of the basilica’s interior, admire the frescoed chapels and apse, the rich stained glass and marble. the exterior features detailed carvings of biblical scenes. look out for the brass sundial embedded in the floor of the eastern aisle.

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Anatomical Theatre of the Archiginnasio (Teatro Anatomico dell'Archiginnasio)
31 Tours and Activities

bologna is home to the world’s oldest university in continuous operation - founded in 1088 - and one of the many schools in the university is a medical school. you might not think that a medical school would be an attraction worth seeking out, but the historic anatomical theatre of the archiginnasio alone is worth the trip.

365bet体育网站 the archiginnasio is a university building, originally constructed in the 16th century, that served for many years as the primary university building. today, it houses the largest municipal library in the region, but the main attraction is the anatomical theatre. built in 1637, it’s a gorgeous room paneled entirely in spruce with a coffered ceiling. the seating is amphitheatre-style, and the seat from which a professor would deliver lectures more closely resembles a throne or a preacher’s pulpit than a teacher’s desk.

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Bologna University Quarter
33 Tours and Activities

bologna owes much of its contemporary charm and vibrancy to its lively university quarter. as in all good university cities, it has a good cache of cafes, bars and clubs to cater to its student population.

bologna’s university has an impressive lineage, dating back to 1088, making it the first university in europe. during the renaissance and baroque eras, it attracted some of europe’s finest thinkers, including renaissance scholars mirandola and alberti, astronomer copernicus, and the artists durer and borromeo.

the university houses a number of museums, including an anatomy museum, herbarium, physics museum, museum of anthropology, wax museum and museum of zoology.

most museums are found in the palazzo poggi, the university’s seat after 1803. a highlight is the astronomy museum, along with the palazzo’s many frescoes and impressive decor.

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Fountain of Neptune (Fontana del Nettuno)
The Top 10 Things To Do in Bologna
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18 Tours and Activities

365bet体育网站sculpted by frenchman giambologna in 1566, the bronze statue of neptune waving his trident aloft is a classic example of the high mannerist art of the late renaissance.

at the base of the neptune fountain, or fontana del nettuno, in the circular pools, the four sirens spouting water from their breasts represent the four continents. four cherubs represent the winds.

the fountain is particularly effective when floodlit at night.

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Basilica of Santo Stefano (Basilica di Santo Stefano)
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16 Tours and Activities

a jumble of four churches make up the basilica of st stephen, or basilica di santo stefano, dating back to the romanesque era. with interesting cloisters, statues and artworks, the complex was once made up of seven churches.

365bet体育网站 the church of the crucifix houses the bones of st petronio, and is next to the octagonal church of the holy sepulcher, formerly a baptistery.

365bet体育网站 the church of santi vitale e agricola, bologna’s oldest church, incorporates roman masonry and mostly dates from the 11th century. the medieval cloister is a tranquil resting place, en route to a small museum.

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Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca (Santuario della Madonna di San Luca)
7 Tours and Activities

365bet体育网站casting a protective eye over bologna, the hilltop santuario de madonna di san luca basilica can be seen from most vantage points in the city.

365bet体育网站 built in the mid-18th century to house a portrait of the virgin mary painted by st luke, the basilica has some notable artworks and statues.

one of the main highlights of this basilica is getting there – on foot. the sanctuary lies 4 km (2.5 miles) south-west of central bologna, linked by the world’s longest undercover portico. supported by 666 graceful arches, the portico is gently stepped as it winds uphill.

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More Things to Do in Bologna

National Gallery of Bologna (Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna)

National Gallery of Bologna (Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna)

The artworks of painters from the Emilia region are highlighted at Bologna’s pinacoteca, or picture gallery, focusing on the Early Renaissance to Baroque periods.

365bet体育网站 the source of the pinacoteca nazionale di bologna’s fine collection came initially from the artworks looted from churches and monasteries by napoleon on his italian campaigns, and shipped off to paris.

make sure you see the stellar paintings by giotto, el greco, titian and raphael’s ecstasy of st cecilia.

365bet体育网站 later highlights include works by annibale carracci and guido reni.

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Ferrari Museum (Museo Ferrari)

Ferrari Museum (Museo Ferrari)

50 Tours and Activities

you might easily associate the ferrari name with italy, but did you know that ferrari is based not far from bologna? in the town of maranello, just outside modena, you’ll find not only the ferrari museum but also the factory complex and the famous fiorano test track.

the ferrari museum - museo ferrari in italian - is a few steps from the factory in maranello where every ferrari is made. the museum contains a number of cars, including both cars designed for regular driving and some from the company’s illustrious formula 1 racing history. in addition to the actual cars, the museum also has exhibits of photographs and racing trophies as well as interactive displays.

for racing enthusiasts, the ferrari museum has an f1 racing simulator based on the monza race track outside milan. you need to reserve a slot in the simulator in advance, and before you begin your experience you’ll even get pointers from a ferrari technician.

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Lamborghini Museum (Museo Lamborghini)

Lamborghini Museum (Museo Lamborghini)

The Top 10 Things To Do in Bologna
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19 Tours and Activities

365bet体育网站showcasing italy’s most famous luxury vehicles, the lamborghini museum and factory tells the past, present, and future of the coveted car brand. from the first 350 gt model built in 1964 to the factory of custom cars built on site, visitors can get a sense of the passion behind the manufacturing process. the museum also unveiled the famed murciélago car, considered by many enthusiasts to be a masterpiece. visitors can see a range of vehicles on display — from vintage to contemporary, built for racing or as concept cars.

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365bet体育网站 open since 2001, the museum is a tribute to the passion and life’s work of founder ferruccio lamborghini. many of the older cars in fact come from his personal collection. there are behind-the-scenes glimpses into the production, including large-scale models and parts of cars that were never made. if you’re lucky, you may even spot a prototype out for testing.

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Enzo Ferrari Museum (Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari)

Enzo Ferrari Museum (Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari)

13 Tours and Activities

a futuristic, tall building with a curved bright yellow roof sits next to a traditional italian warehouse. both tell the story of enzo ferrari, race car driver and founder of the famous car brand ferrari. born in modena, visitors to the museum can experience the timeline of events that brought the cars to be, from the birth of enzo ferrari in his childhood home to the future of the brand. projected black and white films tell the story of his life, while vintage and modern vehicles on display tell the story of the cars. seeing the warehouse his father worked in gives context to how the unique cars were developed.

365bet体育网站 today the warehouse holds the museo dei motori, which showcases various race car models as well as their powerful engines. just beside the warehouse, the automotive design gallery houses the temporary exhibitions of some of ferrari’s most classic cars.

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Ducati Museum (Museo Ducati)

Ducati Museum (Museo Ducati)

The Top 10 Things To Do in Bologna
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5 Tours and Activities

fans of cars and italian design won’t want to miss a visit to the ducati museum, celebrating the world of the motorcycle.

365bet体育网站 part of the ducati factory headquarters, the museum highlights the glorious motorcycles that have been manufactured here since 1926.

dramatically lit machines, trophies motorbiking paraphernalia tell the history of the company and 55 years of bike racing drama. the highlight is the illuminated race track featuring 33 legendary motorcycles.

365bet体育网站 to get the most your of your visit, take a guided tour.

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The Top 10 Things To Do in Bologna
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