Bologna Culture & history

Our most recommended Bologna Culture & history

From Bologna: Train to San Luca Basilica & Food Tasting

1. 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: Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and City Tour

2. Bologna: Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and City Tour

Explore Bologna with an interactive smartphone tour. Immerse yourself in the city while solving location-based riddles on this walking tour. Marvel at the two leaning towers  Asinelli and Garisenda. Admire the 12th-century Santissimo Salvatore church. Solve puzzles outside of ten Bologna attractions. Use clues at each attraction to find your next destination. Enjoy the challenge of using logic, imagination, observation, and team spirit to complete the game. Feel the satisfaction of solving each riddle. Have the freedom to pause or resume the tour whenever you want. Admire the city at your own pace. Uncover interesting information and facts about the city. Snap as many pictures as you want.  You can start playing anytime, the schedule is indicative. Start your tour at Towers of Bologna. Visit the Biblioteca Salaborsa with its unique archives. Photograph the municipal complex of Palazzo d'Accursio and the chapel and admire the Santuario di Santa Maria della Vita with its original Gothic style and lifelike sculptures. Then head to the Salina Palace and Osteria Le Sette Chiese for some unbeatable photo opportunities. Admire the beautiful Piazza Minghetti and the interior of Basilica di San Domenico. The small but miraculous Oratorio dello Spirito Santo is well worth your time, and the icing on the cake is the Church of the Holy Savior.

From Bologna: Lamborghini & Ferrari Museums Private Day Tour

3. From Bologna: Lamborghini & Ferrari Museums Private Day Tour

Embark on a private tour of the Lamborghini and Ferrari museums from Bologna. Start with pickup from your hotel in Bologna. Discover the history of the iconic cars made in Italy on a tour in the Lamborghini Museum, from the first models such as the Miura and the Countach to the ultimate and exclusive ones like the Aventador SVJ. To follow, visit the Ferrari Museum in Maranello and enjoy a guided tour of the Cittadella Ferrari, in which the guide will share information about the factory, the history of the Fiorano racetrack, and of all the Cittadella Ferrari, which still preserves the original factory entrance door. At the end of the tour, stop at a local restaurant for a tasty lunch with typical products. Afterward, relax on the journey back to Bologna.

From Bologna or Modena: Parma Gastronomic Tour with Lunch

4. From Bologna or Modena: Parma Gastronomic Tour with Lunch

Discover the production of two excellences of Italian cuisine, Parmigiano Reggiano and Parma Ham, on a gastronomic tour from Bologna. After being picked up from your accommodation in Bologna or Modena Learn more about Parma and its local cuisine that is so popular that it often ends up dominating conversations among locals. Visit a historic Parmigiano Reggiano factory where an expert guide will show you the stages of production, and you'll be able to taste some of the cheese made by the factory. Then, discover more about the production of Parma Ham. Learn the secrets of this Italian delicacy followed by a tasting paired with a glass of local wine.  Following your visit to the Parma Ham factory, enjoy a light lunch at a prosciuttificio with typical products and dishes. Finally, head back to your accommodation in Bologna or Modena.

Bologna: 2-Hour Private Guided Walking Tour

5. 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.

Bologna: Clock Tower Audio Guide and Food Tasting

6. Bologna: Clock Tower Audio Guide and Food Tasting

This unique experience will let you discover Palazzo d'Accursio, one of the most iconic and impressive places in Bologna. The Clock Tower acts as the beating heart of the city, and you'll explore it using a handy audio guide. While listening to facts and stories on your smartphone, you'll make your way through the various parts of the tower until you finally reach the inner mechanism that makes the clock work. You'll also get to admire the Municipal Art Collections, full of artistic treasures that reveal the history of Bologna, and hear anecdotes about how the building has functioned over the centuries. Finish your day with a tasting of typical products in the city center to get the full Bologna experience! 

Best of Italy: 5-Day Escorted Tour from Rome

7. 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. Enjoy a spritz or Prosecco with your guide to cap off a day of discovery. Spend the afternoon roaming along Venice’s canals at your leisure and then return to the hotel and overnight. 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.

Bologna: Churches and Cathedrals Walking Tour

8. Bologna: Churches and Cathedrals Walking Tour

Bologna is rich in well-known churches and cathedrals. From the Basilica of San Petronio to the Cathedral of San Pietro, you will discover the wonders of ecclesiastical Bologna. During the tour you will range from Gothic to Baroque churches crossing centuries of history. Did you know that San Petronio is the largest brick-built Gothic church in the world? Discover many other curiosities with your expert guide! At the end of your tour, enjoy a tasty treat in the city centre.

Bologna: Old Town Hidden Gems Exploration Game

9. Bologna: Old Town Hidden Gems 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.

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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What people are saying about Bologna

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 149 reviews

I boarded the San Luca express at 4.10pm and we were provided with headphones so to listen to the tour on the way. We arrived at the Basilica of St Luca about 30 mins later - it took us along the road adjacent to the Portici where people can walk all the way to the Basilica - it is used as a place to exercise also for sportspeople. When we arrived, we had about 50 mins till the next San Luca Express. We could take photos from the outside visit the Basilica inside and pay our respects (it was a pilgrimage place that many believers would visit). It was a most glorious evening and a view of the mountains on the outskirts of Bologna was visible.

Incredible tour of an authentic Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factory and a wonderful tour of a family owned Parma Ham factory in the hills. Our driver Francesco was very friendly, professional, and polite offering dinner suggestions on the way home. Everyone from both factories were very friendly and welcoming as well. We thoroughly enjoyed the tours and loved the traditional Italian lunch that followed. Highly recommend

Super nice and uncomplicated pickup. Passing the line, I got my ticket and vouchers straight away. The journey was very relaxed and the Basilica of San Luca is definitely worth a visit. It was easy to get back from the same exit point to my entry point on Piazza Maggiore, from where I could easily walk to the pizzeria and ice cream parlor to redeem the vouchers. All-round successful action :)

Interesting tour full of history and local food. Our guide took us to her favourite spots where locals prepared special treats and we sampled some of the famous local products. Our guide willingly bought extras she talked about for us to try as well. I would highly recommend Sara as a guide and host. Well done!

Our guide is so knowledgeable about the history of Bologna & knows the very best places to experience the food & drink of Bologna! Do not hesitate! Book with her!!! Art & Food Tours was the best we could have booked. You can find her on the internet without going through another company. We had a great time!