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Things to do in Bologna

This northern Italian city combines rich local cuisine, iconic luxury cars, and stunning towers and porticoes.

Our most recommended things to do in Bologna

Bologna: City Center Walking Tour

1. Bologna: City Center Walking Tour

Take a classic walking tour through the streets of the Bologna city center. With this guided tour, discover the history of Bologna and its major cultural attractions. Make stops at the Asinelli tower, Neptune fountain, and the Basilica of San Petronio. Meet your guide and walk through the city streets admiring the architecture and discovering the most-famous cultural attraction. See the towers of Bologna and marvel at their height and significance. Then, stroll through the Quadrilatero Market, and learn important historical facts. Make a wish at the Neptune fountain and see if it comes true. Then, gaze at the Basilica of San Petronio, as your guide shares its story and welcomes you into the city of Bologna.

From Bologna: Train to San Luca Basilica & Food Tasting

2. From Bologna: Train to San Luca Basilica & Food Tasting

The Basilica of San Luca is one of the symbols of the city of Bologna. Situated on the Monte Guardia, the Sanctuary connects to the city center through the longest continuous portico in the world, made up of 666 arcades. At the meeting point, you'll receive a map and a timetable of the return train, which is available every 45 minutes. You’ll also receive a voucher for the food tasting.  This tour departs every day and will help you discover the city from aboard the San Luca Express train, where the audio guides, available in 8 languages, will tell you about the city until your arrival at the Basilica of San Luca. Here, you can visit the Basilica at your own pace and decide what time to return by consulting the schedules on the map. On board, you will find a member of staff who'll welcome you and provide any information you may require. When you return, you will get to taste typical products in one of the historical markets.

Bologna: Torre degli Asinelli Entrance Ticket & Food Tasting

3. Bologna: Torre degli Asinelli Entrance Ticket & Food Tasting

Take in the incredible views from the tallest leaning medieval tower in the world, built between 1109 and 1119. The panoramic view from the Torre degli Asinelli will take your breath away.  After the tower visit, enjoy a food tasting of Bologna's typical products in the city center.

Bologna: Hands on Home Cooking Class

4. Bologna: Hands on Home Cooking Class

You will be hosted in a cozy apartment in Bologna. Learn to cook like a Bolognese in a typical Bologna home. Get hands-on help preparing your own lunch or dinner from a friendly chef during this activity. This experience consists of preparing some specialties of Bologna culinary tradition. Begin by preparing the dough for your pasta. Learn how to make tagliatelle and tortelloni then fill them with ricotta cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano, garlic, parsley, nutmeg, white pepper, and salt. Then make some delicious ragù for your pasta. After, enjoy your pasta with some delicious wine and a local dessert.  

Bologna: Red Bus City Tour and Local Food Tasting

5. Bologna: Red Bus City Tour and Local Food Tasting

Discover Bologna in comfort via an open top bus, enabling you to admire and photograph all the major attractions of the city.  Upon arriving at the meeting point, staff will welcome you onboard. Choose from an audioguide available in 10 different languages to learn more about the specific landmarks as well as the general history of the city. You will then journey across the city, capturing views of some of the most famous points of interest. Hop on and off at your leisure at some popular spots such as: • Basilica San Petronio • Palazzo dei Notai • Palazzo Comunale • Palazzo di Re Enzo • Palazzo del Podestà, • Tower of Asinelli and Garisenda • Museo Civico Archeologico • Archiginnasio • Palazzo Bevilacqua • Porta Saragozza • Palazzo Bentivoglio • Fontana del Nettuno • Teatro Comunale. After the tour, enjoy a food tour in a historical market in Bologna, where you will try local delicacies.

Bologna: Dining Experience at a Local's Home

6. Bologna: Dining Experience at a Local's Home

Immerse yourself in a private dining experience at a local's home, as you enjoy an exclusive show cooking and taste authentic recipes treasured in family cookbooks passed down by real Italian "Mammas". This experience will enable you to feel the warmth of Italian hospitality as you connect with local people. You will enjoy a 4-course menu including a starter, pasta, a main course with a side dish, and dessert. Drinks are also included, and consist of water, a selection of red and white wines from regional cellars, and coffee.

Bologna: Guided Traditional Food Tour

7. Bologna: Guided Traditional Food Tour

Learn all of the secrets of traditional Italian food culture and items from the Bologna region on this guided food tour. Your food guide will navigate you through the history behind the dishes and their preparation. Experience Bologna from an unusual perspective.  Learn why Bologna is known as the wise for containing the second oldest university in Europe, the red because of the red roofs of its houses, and the rich for its food offerings and flavor.  Discover the secrets behind Italian gastronomy in the Emilia-Romagna region as a reference due to its historical ties with food and Bologna as a hotspot for Italian culinary excellence.  The following are a few dishes that you may try during the tour: Local cured meats and cheeses with hand-baked bread or platter of mixed pizza - the meal opens with a wide variety of local cured meats and cheeses or with a delicious platter of mixed gourmet pizza.Fresh pasta like Bolognese tortellini stuffed with different types of meat and parmesan cheese. Usually, they are served in meat broth, but our guests will have the opportunity to choose among different options for garnishing their tortellini.Bolognese cotoletta, a veal meat served with a rich sauce made with cream and parmesan cheese and topped with smoked ham. The traditional recipe requires that the meat is fried, then served in meat broth. Finally, it is briefly baked in the oven and served covered in melted cheese and ham.Brazadela, is a cake prepared in a doughnut shape from a traditional peasant recipe. Since its origins, the recipe has been passed from mothers to their children in order to preserve its simplicity and delicate taste.Espresso coffee is the inevitable conclusion of every Italian proper meal. Espresso will be offered in a historic coffee shop, accompanied by artisanal whipped cream.

Bologna: 3-Hour Secret Food Tour

8. Bologna: 3-Hour Secret Food Tour

Head to the Quadrilatero area, the vibrant heart of Bologna, to start your 3-hour food tour. Step off the beaten paths, discover unexpected sights and hear amazing stories about the origins and traditions of the city. First, make your way to a small trattoria to sample traditional Ragù alla Bolognese (Bolognese sauce). Sample and learn why a five-year-old Parmigiano Reggiano is so special, and sip 12 to 24-year-old balsamic vinegars from Modena. Enjoy a carefully selected charcuterie sampler from Emilia-Romagna and see how homemade, fresh pasta is created by Bologna's very own sfogline (pasta-makers). Upgrade your experience to indulge in an ammazzacaffé, a coffee-liqueur beverage. As you end your savory stroll through the city, enjoy the best artisanal gelato in town. Your entire Italian-gastro experience is infused in the heart of this medieval town at some of the best secret spots where locals eat, off the tourist paths.

Bologna: Taste Local Specialties on a Guided Walking Tour

9. Bologna: Taste Local Specialties on a Guided Walking Tour

Experience the vibrant historic center of Bologna on this walking tour. Admire sights like the Basilica of San Petronio and the Loggia of Merchants. Stop to try specialties at three establishments and enjoy a glass of delectable local wine. Start your tour in Piazza del Nettuno, where your guide will share insights into Bolognese culture with you. See an excellent example of Italian Gothic architecture at the Basilica of San Petronio. Admire the two towers that are the symbol of Bologna. View the Loggia of Merchants, where commercial and trading activities have been overseen in Bologna for hundreds of years. Walk to the vibrant Quadrilatero Market. Wander through the sights and smells in this market that has been around since the middle ages.

Bologna: FICO Eataly World Admission Ticket

10. Bologna: FICO Eataly World Admission Ticket

Visit FICO, the new Italian Food Theme and Amusement park in Bologna. Fico is the "park to taste" and combines the passion for Italian food with fun. Explore seven themed areas dedicated to great Italian culinary excellence (Areas of Salami, Cheese, Pasta, Game, Wine, Oil, and Sweets) divided by new and spectacular scenery, enriched with games, rides, and food-themed attractions

Available activities

  • Bolognese food & markets
  • Exploring Bologna
  • Italian wine & vineyards
  • Ferrari, Lamborghini, & Ducati
  • Bologna cooking classes
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What people are saying about Bologna

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 1,348 reviews

I definitely would recommend this experience. I was able to taste things that I probably wouldn't have tried if I was just going around myself. The value is perfectly reasonable, and it's so nice to be able to just hand the waiter the voucher and not have to do anything else. Everything I had was very tasty and although smaller portion sizes, I was very full after using all the vouchers (within the span of 5 hours, on a day trip). The cold cuts platter with a full glass of wine and the parmigiano sample with balsamic were especially exceptional. It was just such a pleasure to be able to tour around Bologna, walking around and stopping to try different Italian foods and snacks. I would absolutely suggest doing this food tour, which you can completely moderate to your own pace as the vouchers don't expire.

Stella was fantastic as our guide. Her insight and knowledge of Bologna was exactly what we needed as we had just arrived. The tour gave us a great understanding of the area, and places to revisit once the tour was over. Thanks Stella- we had a great time

very high tower and many steps it seems to never arrive, but in the end a spiritual satisfaction to feel so high and look at the beauty of bologna from above

This was such a great experience. Food was amazing and our guide was very informative. We were shown many things that is traditional of the Bologna area.

The view of the city from above is amazing!!! A bit tiring but absolutely doable.