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Things to do in Bologna

From medieval churches to jazz bars, and art galleries to family trattorias, Bologna is a user-friendly city that’s full of things to do.

While just walking through the arcaded streets of the old town is fascinating in itself, Bologna’s centre also has beautiful monuments such as the four linked churches of San Stefano and the skewed medieval turrets of the Due Torri. Bologna’s red brick centre is home to excellent, good value restaurants, speciality food shops like Pasta Fresca Naldi, one-off art and craft galleries and charming old bars including Osteria L’Infedele, while the streets surrounding the university, northeast of the old town, are full of younger drinkers socialising into the early morning.

Bologna shopping.

Bologna shopping

For local specialities, try Via Caprarie’s Tamburini, a food shop specialising in regional Emilian delicacies that also has a self-service restaurant at the back.  Crete – Piece Unique in Via Del Guidei sells one-off ceramics and other artworks made by local artists, while for something a little more offbeat, Fondazza’s Magica New Age sells unusual jewellery mixed with crystals, lucky charms and other New Age paraphernalia.

Bologna sightseeing.

Bologna sightseeing

The Santo Stefano religious complex in Bologna’s old city contains four early medieval churches grouped around a quiet cloister. Piazza Maggiore is Bologna’s arcaded central square, home to the elaborate renaissance Neptune fountain. You’ll find out more about the city’s past at the Museum of the History of Bologna, while the Due Torri, the leaning remnants of the many towers that dotted medieval Bologna, have excellent city views from their tops.

Bologna restaurants.

Bologna restaurants

Women from three generations cook at Via Pratello’s Pasta Fresca Naldi, a small restaurant and shop that serves local pasta dishes such as fresh tortelloni and orecchiette with broccoli. Affordable Cinque 50 in Via Goito dishes up local classics including Parma ham with melon and smoked tuna carpaccio. For something more high end, Ristorante Garganelli, housed in the Savoia Hotel Regency, has been serving classic Bolognese cuisine since the 1960s. For ice creams and sorbets, try the homemade creations at Sorbetteria Castiglione, in the street of the same name.

Bologna nightlife.

Bologna nightlife

Vanilia & Comics is a quirky café bar with that doubles as a drinking place and comic shop. Locomotiv Club is a live music venue and nightclub that hosts some of the best, edgiest live music concerts in the city, while Osteria L’Infedele is a more low key, traditional-looking bar lined with vintage adverts, where drinks are served to a soundtrack of jazz and blues.

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