Piazza Maggiore

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Piazza Maggiore: Our most recommended tours and activities

Bologna: City Center Walking Tour

1. Bologna: City Center Walking Tour

Your tour starts from Piazza del Nettuno. You'll discover the Piazza Maggiore and the Basilica of San Petronio and the Meridian. Next visit the oldest library in the world and Piazza Santo Stefano, where you'll see the wonderful Basilica that overlooks the square. Then visit the Towers of Bologna, the Asinelli and the Garisenda, before you explore the historical market Quadrilatero to admire the historical shops and take in the scents of local food. Finally, visit Palazzo Re Enzo which overlooks the square and is the palace seat of the municipality.

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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 staff person, who will welcome you and respond to your information. When you return, you will get to taste of typical products in one of the historical markets.  

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Bologna: Red Bus City Tour and Local Food Tasting

3. 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.

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Bologna: Historical Center Exploration Game

4. Bologna: Historical Center Exploration Game

Be led on an exciting self-guided tour around Bologna's Old Town while playing a mobile-based quest with your friends and family. Solve clues and discover the fascinating history behind the monuments and attractions. Download the app, go to the starting point, and begin the adventure. Follow clues that will take you back in time to learn about the origins of some of the city's most iconic buildings and tourist sites. Here's a sneak peek at the storyline: “You’re an emerging writer from London, whose debut novel was a success. But now writers’ block has struck. The year is 1815. [...] In your despair, you’ve come to Bologna. You heard the city’s many secrets and artistic flair inspire many artists. You hope to be next...." Unlock the secret stories of the places you visit as you solve the problem and guess the answers. Learn about the seven secrets that cloak Bologna in mystery, the streets of the Quadrilatero, and more. Use the clues to lead you from one site to another. Each clue provides you with exact directions so you won't need a map, GPS, or guide. Complete the tour in about 1.5 hours, however, there’s no time limit, allowing you to go at your own pace. Play as a group or split into smaller groups/teams and compete against the others. Each person can also play on their own, separate from the group, and meet the group at the end of the tour.

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Best of Italy: 5-Day Escorted Tour from Rome

5. Best of Italy: 5-Day Escorted Tour from Rome

Over the course of five days, visit the most enchanting locations of Italy, soaking up art, culture, cuisine and the famous Italian romance. Led by a friendly guide, depart from Rome and visit Assisi, Siena, Florence, Pisa, Bologna, Padova, Venice and Montepulciano. See masterpieces from the likes of Michelangelo, Giotto, and Cimabue. Roam ancient cobbled streets, marvel at magnificent cathedrals, and taste delightful wines. This tour aims to inform and entertain you at the same time. Staying in comfy accommodation and traveling by deluxe bus, touring Italy couldn’t be easier. With 4 meals provided for you, plus an excellent itinerary and knowledgeable guides, sit back, relax and "get Italian". Day 1 Depart from Rome at 7:15 AM heading towards Assisi. Explore this tiny town dating back to the Middle Ages. Visit the Basilica of St. Francis and see works by Giotto and Cimabue. Afterwards drive towards Siena, whose highlight is Piazza del Campo. Continue to Florence where you will check in at your hotel before enjoying dinner (included) and a well-deserved night of rest. Day 2: Florence After breakfast, spend the day exploring Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance. Visit the Duomo, the Campanile Tower, Palazzo Vecchio and the Basilica of Santa Croce. Lunch (for free) in a typical Tuscan restaurant in Piazza Santa Croce. In the afternoon, wander the cobbled streets or take a short, optional trip to Pisa where you could enjoy a tour of the Square of Miracles, the Leaning Tower and the Duomo. Dinner is at your leisure. Back in Florence rest in your hotel and recharge your batteries for the next day. Day 3 Depart for Bologna after breakfast in Florence. Wander through the city’s 38 kilometers' worth of elegant arcades, for which it is famous. From Piazza Malpighi, walk to Piazza del Nettuno and Piazza Maggiore in the heart of the city. In the afternoon, continue towards Padova, with its original Sant’Antonio Basilica. Later, you will arrive in Venice, famous for its quaint gondola boats and intricate architecture. Check in at your hotel and enjoy your first Venetian dinner (included) and overnight stay. Day 4: Venice Hit the water and board a private waterbus to enjoy a cruise through the canals of Venice. Stop off at Murano to learn about the ancient art of glass blowing. Continue on to St. Mark’s Square for an exterior visit of the splendid cathedral. See the Doge Palace and the Bridge of Sighs. Spend the afternoon roaming along Venice’s canals at your leisure and then return to the hotel for an overnight stay. Day 5 After breakfast, departure from Piazzale Roma heading to Tuscany, world-known for its landscapes, its churches, castles and its delicious wines. Proceed to Val di Chiana with a stop in Montepulciano, a medieval town rich in history and art. Known for its “Noble” wine, on purchase in local wine houses, Montepulciano also hosts an annual jazz and wine festival every July. Lunch in a typical restaurant included! Spend the afternoon discovering Montepulciano at your own pace, enjoying free wine tastings in many wine shops and free time for shopping. In the evening, you will arrive in Rome, where the tour ends.

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Bologna: Guided Walking Tour

6. Bologna: Guided Walking Tour

Discover the historic sights of Bologna, starting on Piazza Maggiore where landmarks include the Fountain of Neptune and the Palazzo del Podestà. Learn why the city is known as "La Dotta" ("The Learned"), "La Grassa" ("The Fat") and "La Rossa" ("The Red"). See the medieval Torre Galluzzi and look inside the unique anatomical theater at the Archiginnasio. Stroll along Via Farini and walk to the magnificent porticoes of Piazza Santo Stefano. Discover the covered passageway of the Court Isolani on the way to Via Strada Maggiore. Chat to the locals in the Mercato di Mezzo about why food is so important in Bologna.

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Bologna: Home Cooking Experience & Walking Tour

7. Bologna: Home Cooking Experience & Walking Tour

Experience Bologna like a local, and discover Emilian culinary secrets with a friendly chef and guide. Enjoy a delightful walk around the city center and through the narrow cobblestone streets of the old food market, then a stroll around Piazza Maggiore, the real soul of the city. At the Herb Market, discover many hidden places that reveal the history of the city from the past to the present. Appreciate the true spirit of Bologna, admiring the beauty of its sights and discovering the richness of the Bolognese culinary tradition. Then, enter your chef's home and learn to make different dishes. Learn all about typical tortellini and then prepare them. Make the pasta fresca dough, the filling and then taste the fruits of your labor. Toast with fine local wine together with your chef and new friends.

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3-Hour Bologna Segway PT Authorized Tour

8. 3-Hour Bologna Segway PT Authorized Tour

There is no better way to experience the vibrant atmosphere of Bologna than on a Segway tour amid the beautiful arcades and hidden cloisters of the city. The tour begins in Piazza Minghetti - the historical center of the city - where you will have an opportunity to familiarise yourself with the Segway. A rather unusual but intriguing itinerary runs through Via De’ Toschi, leading you through the alleys of the medieval market (Via Clavature and Via Sampieri). The tour continues straight along one of the most peaceful streets, Via Santo Stefano, home of the Basilica di Santo Stefano complex. This complex includes 7 Romanesque and Gothic churches, as well as an artistic representation of the period when Bologna was raised to a Commune. The route then follows the street back towards the renowned “leaning towers” and continues on to the heart of the ancient Jewish ghetto. Proceeding down Via Zamboni, you will return to Piazza della Mercanzia where you will again see the two towers (Asinelli and Garisenda) but this time viewing them against the Loggia della Mercanzia. From Piazza della Mercanzia, you will wind your way back through the medieval market area, before reaching Piazza Maggiore, the largest square featuring a fountain depicting Neptune.

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Bologna: 2-Hour Private Guided Walking Tour

9. Bologna: 2-Hour Private Guided Walking Tour

Take advange of this tour lead by an expert guide to visit one of the most beautiful (and rich in history) cities of the whole Italy. The itinerary starts with Piazza Maggiore and its civic palaces, all of medieval origins: Palazzo di Re Enzo, Palazzo of the Notaries, Palazzo dei Banchi. In the square is also the Fountain of Neptune, with the precious late Renaissance sculptures by Giambologna; you'll then visit the gothic Basilica of San Petronio (on the façade, sculptures by the Sienese artist Jacopo della Quercia): inside, the precious late gothic paintings of the Cappella Bolognini and the sun-dial designed by the astronomer Cassini (XVII century).  Walking along the Pavaglione Portico and its elegant shops, you'll reach the 16th century Archiginnasio Palace, the old University building, decorated with about 6.000 coats of arms of students. Inside is the 17th century Anatomical Theater, where dissections were held, enriched of statues of doctors and sculptures of anatomy. Through the picturesque alleys of the Mercato di Mezzo, the old market, and its fabulous food shops you'll get to the lovely Square of Santo Stefano, with the complex of Santo Stefano also called the “Jerusalem of Bologna” or “The Seven Churches”, a group of small Romanesque churches.

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Sanctuary of S. Luca with Train and Private Guide

10. Sanctuary of S. Luca with Train and Private Guide

The arcade that connects Porta Saragozza to the Sanctuary of San Luca is the longest in the world. Within its 3.5 kilometers there are 666 arches, each marked by a number: the first 306 connect Porta Saragozza to Meloncello Arch, while the last 360 are located in the hilly area from Meloncello to Colle della Guardia. These are spaced out by 15 chapels illustrating the mystery of the rosary. The tour starts from Piazza Maggiore with a little train ride to Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca. Begin the guided tour with the Sanctuary of San Luca and its panoramic forecourt with an optional visit to the Dome of the Sanctuary to admire the panorama of the city. Enjoy the descent with a little train ride along the arcade that leads to Meloncello's Arch and then along via Saragozza. Passing through Porta Saragozza, arrive at the Collegio di Spagna and de'Carbonesi, continuing via Massimo d'Azeglio you’ll return to Piazza Maggiore.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Piazza Maggiore

Want to discover all there is to do in Piazza Maggiore? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Piazza Maggiore

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 284 reviews

Great way to begin our time in Bologna. Although we could have walked to the Basilica, the narration along the drive was terrific. The hike is also quite steep in parts. The vouchers for food were perfect and could be used any day. Definitely recommend!

Very interesting tour, knowledgeable guide who gave us a great introduction to Bologna’s history. It was great value for money. Our guide Sara was lovely and pleasant.

Good and clear tour. We were only in Bologna for 1 day because of the transit and thanks to this tour we were able to see all the highlights.

I had a fantastic tour yesterday. The guide was knowledgeable and very friendly. I would highly recommend this tour of Bologna.

The guide is very well prepared to give us the explains, to make with us an amazing visit in a lot of beautiful places.