Essential Bologna

Tour Creator

Oliver is a Cambridge-based writer and archaeologist. Completing a BA in Archaeology, he continued to postgraduate research specialising in Early Iron Age architecture. He has excavated in Greece and led…Read More Bio »



Remote Tour Included



Well known as a food capital of Italy, this tour explores all the architectural and artistic delights the city of Bologna has to offer. Starting at the iconic Due Torre, or ‘two towers’, this circuit of the heart of the city reveals how Bologna has retained its medieval character, from the churches crowded together in Piazza Santa Stefano, to the behemoth Basilica of San Petronio. The Bolognese have always embraced pedestrians, building more covered arcades than can be found in any other Italian city, which makes our walking route even more pleasant.

Avoid the Crowds

Allows you to explore without having to be shoulder-to-shoulder in a large tour group

Expert-created Tour

Written by a Cambridge-based archaeologist, whose postgraduate (MRes) research has been devoted to Early Iron Age architecture

GPS Directions

Easy-to-follow GPS directions to get you from one point to the next on your tour

Highlights include:

Due Torri, The Archiginnasio, and Via Pescherie Vecchie

Remote Tour Included

As with all our tours, a remote tour is included that can be enjoyed from home


Essential Bologna

  1. Le Due Torri - The iconic Due Torri, or ‘Two Towers’, are literally an unmissable sight in Bologna! Towering up to 70 metres, these medieval-era skyscrapers are the ideal place to begin our tour of the city.
  2. Piazza della Mercanzia - This lovely looking red brick and stone building still serves the city of Bologna as the Chamber of Commerce in a nod to its original purpose, as the court for merchants and guilds.
  3. Piazza Santo Stefano - Originally seven, now sadly only four, the combined churches in complex at Santo Stefano is one of the most moving and ancient places in the city.
  4. Basilica di San Domenico - In the quieter square of San Domenico lies the Basilica of the same name, once amongst the busiest sites of pilgrimage in Northern Italy and the final resting place of the saint himself.
  5. The Archiginnasio - Tucked away behind the Piazza Maggiore is the so-called Archiginassio. the original and oldest surviving part of Bologna’s ancient University.
  6. Civic Archaeological Museum - Perhaps the greatest array of Etruscan artefacts outside the capital, Bologna’s civic archaeological museum has a fascinating history to rival its collection.
  7. Via Pescherie Vecchie - A cultural spectacle like no other in Italy, the street markets, food stalls and restaurants of the so-called Quadrilatero, provide the 21st century visitor a glimpse back in time — it’s shopping Medieval-style!
  8. Piazza Maggiore - The major square of the city of Bologna, the elegant facades of the major offices of state surround this elegant square. Dominating the southern edge is the large Basilica of San Petronio, Bologna’s most imposing church.
  9. The Fountain of Neptune - A symbol for the Bolognese people up to this day, the mannerist sculpture of Neptune and adjoining fountain is a favourite spot for locals and tourists alike.
  10. Palazzo Re Enzo - This palace is perhaps the most famous in Bologna, owing to its famous resident King Enzo and the stories of his imprisonment inside the palace.
  11. Metropolitan Cathedral of St Peter - Bologna’s metropolitan cathedral is literally crammed between narrow medieval streets and so coming across it always feels like a surprise. Nevertheless, its austere facade conceals behind it a fine Baroque interior.

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