Bologna- Picturesque student city rich with art and culture

This picturesque town in Northern Italy is a popular choice to study abroad for many American students, and the kids are definitely on to something. The birthplace of The University of Bologna, one of Europe’s oldest institution of education, the collegiate hub charms with its down-to-earth atmosphere and relatively affordable living standards.Bologna is the lively, historic capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, in northern Italy.

Its Piazza Maggiore is a sprawling plaza lined with arched colonnades, cafes and medieval and Renaissance structures such as City Hall, the Fountain of Neptune and the Basilica di San Petronio. Among the city’s many medieval towers are the Two Towers, leaning Asinelli and Garisenda.

bologna square street of bologna

How to get in Bologna

Bologna’s closest airport is Guglielmo Marconi (Bologna) International Airport (IATA: BLQ) , just a few minutes from the city centre, served by taxi and a special bus line called the Aerobus. A taxi from the airport to the centre costs about €15. An Aerobus Ticket costs €6, and it stops outside the main terminal building. The ticket is also valid for 1 hour on the other buses in Bologna.

Bus 54 goes towards the west suburbs of Bologna, and will get you on to the ‘main’ routes. Another bus stop is about 10 minutes walk from the airport (bus stop name: Birra – other side of the elevated motorway, follow the road out of the airport, turn right at the first roundabout and straight through the second roundabout) and you can board buses 81 and 91 which will take you to Bologna Central railway station.

Bus tickets are valid for 75 minutes travel and cost €1.5 purchased at the bus, €1.3 purchased in advance (one can buy tickets in the bar on the opposite side of the street or at the airport in Carrefour Express). Go to the website of the local bus company, TPER, and you will find maps that show all routes including that of the airport bus.

Due to its central location and geography, Bologna has emerged as the main rail transport hub of northern Italy, making it very well connected with other major Italian cities. From 14 December 2008, the new high speed railway line is available to/from Milan, shortening the journey to 65 minutes. Bologna is also 37 minutes from Florence, 2 hours 20 minutes from Rome, 2 hours from Venice, 1 hour from Ferrara, etc. The new high speed train line between Rome and Bologna is now fully available and can make trips much faster.

There is also an overnight sleeper service from Paris Bercy to Bologna. Departs Paris 6:52 pm and arrives Bologna at 6 am. Return departs Bologna 10:30 pm and arrives in Paris at 9:06 am.

Things to do in Bologna

Bologna is also known as La Rossa or the red, for its terra cotta rooftops, it’s a medieval city so you will find beautiful cathedrals and historic buildings but it’s also a left-leaning progressive city with modern art exhibits. There’s no shortage of culture in Bologna.

 As the central square in Bologna, the Piazza Maggiore is located right in the centre of the city and serves as an important historical place.This square is packed full with important buildings including the Pallazo d’Accursio, the Palazzo del Podesta, the Basilica di San Petronio and the Palazzo Comunale.Furthermore to the north west of the square sits the Piazza del Nettuno that contains the famous Fountain of Neptune.Admire the fantastic architecture, visit the palaces and basilica, or sit and enjoy a fine Italian meal at one of the restaurants nestled in the Porticos.

Wander the streets of the Quadrilatero, the medieval market where you can browse through the outside stands and old shops selling all sorts of delicacies. Here’s where you can buy all the most famous Bolognese and regional specialties to bring home: tortellini, tagliatelle and other hand-made pasta, mortadellaParmigiano Reggiano, the signature Bolognese sauce ragù, and local wines like PignolettoLambrusco and Sangiovese.

bologna hill bologna san luca

Asinelli Tower is the city’s largest tower and you can climb to the top to get a great view. It slightly leans, and is actually taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the 498 steps to the top will surely work off the extra pasta calories.

bologna tower

This immense structure stands as the 10th largest church in the world by volume and presents a domineering presence in the centre of the Piazza Maggiore. Dedicated to Saint Petronius who is actually the patron saint of Bologna, the church has a Gothic design and it is noted for both it sheer size and its unfinished front facade.

Originally constructed in 1388 through to 1479, the church has never been truly finished and its front facade is quite bizarre – the lower half features coloured marble stone work, whilst the top half remains bare and contains exposed brown brickwork.

Burn off all that Bolognese food by hiking to the top of San Luca under the longest portico in the world – 3,8 km and 666 arcades. The reward is the beautiful sanctuary of the Basilica of San Luca at the top of the hill. A side note: the portico is a unique feature of Bologna; the city has 53 km of these arcades that began being built in the 11th century.

For the foodies Bologna is a paradise , food everywhere and all of this food is amazing. So if you decide to come here you must make sure that you will try most of this food.

Accommodation in Bologna

As a student and University city Bologna offer all kind of long and short term of accommodation. From budget hostels and youth backpackers hostels to stylish hotels. Depend what is your budget you can find for sure what you looking for in Bologna.