What to do in Bologna

Bologna is an underrated city in Italy! There are many things to see and to explore in Bologna. We were there for there nights this summer and these are our stories:

Why Bologna? Well the flight first of all, it is cheaper to fly to from London, compares to other cities like Rome or Venice. And there is a good airport connection from Bologna airport if you would like to travel to other European countries.

Piazza Maggiore in Bologna

Second, Bologna is as beautiful as the other Italian cities. It has fabulous main square, Piazza Maggiore, and tons of beautiful medieval architectures.

Le due Torri: the iconic two towers in Bologna

The Two Towers or Le due Torri is one of the examples of medieval architectures in Bologna.

Bologna Cathedral

Bologna Cathedral or Cattedrale Metropolitana di San Pietro also has medieval tower.

Inside Bologna Cathedral
Small but old picture of Madonna holding Baby Jesus
Another altar at Bologna Cathedral

The early construction of the Cathedral dates back to the 12th century. While at present, the ornaments inside the Church, for example: altars, paintings, marbles, were from circa 17th century.

Piazza Maggiore

The Cathedral is tuck away from the main square. As there is another old Church in the main square Basilica di San Petronio. It is dedicated to Patron Saint of Bologna: Saint Petronio.

Basilica di San Petronio

The Basilica has a unique and distinctive front look. Inside the Basilica, you will be amazed by the interior.

Altar at Basilica di San Petronio
One altar inside the Basilica: look at the stained glass windows!
Another beautiful altar with stained glass windows
Closed up the main altar
This crucifix is very old!

There is an old Crucifix which from the explanation below is from around the fifth century AD.

The explanation of the old crucifix
Private mass inside the Basilica
Scene when Jesus laid after the crucifiction

Inside Basilica di San Petronio, there is also a Museum. It is free so it is worth to have a look!

Museo di San Petronio

The Museum holds a few collection of antique Hymn / song books.

Old Hymn Book
How beautiful is this Hymn book!
Antique Hymn book from Museo di San Petronio
Beautiful collection of silver cups
What a wonderful antique! Is it a tabernacle?
Antique Monstrant

We also pay a visit to see the roof terrace of the Basilica. Unfortunately it is not free, but it is worth it seeing panoramic view of Bologna.

Panoramic view of Bologna
Panoramic view of Bologna from the roof terrace of Basilica di San Petronio
Breath taking view of Bologna – the red brick city
Lovely panoramic of Bologna from Basilica di San Petronio

When we were in Bologna, we stayed at Mercure Hotel just opposite the train station.

Mercure Hotel Bologna
View from our bedroom is the garden
The bathroom at Mercure Hotel Bologna
Our bedroom at Mercure Hotel Bologna

Personally I would say that the hotel needs modernisation. And probably, this is just my feeling, that the hotel has strange feeling that you could not really sleep well at night. But this probably because we are in old city!

Breakfast at Mercure Hotel Bologna

We love the breakfast, there are plenty of choices.

Yummy breakfast at Mercure Bologna

Back to the sightseeing, we went to the Biblioteca comunale dell’Archiginnasio, I think it is a public library of Bologna. This library once was the Archiginnasio Palace, one of the most important buidings in Bologna.

Biblioteca comunale dell’Archiginnasio
Outside the Library of Bologna

Inside the Biblioteca, there is Anatomical Theatre built by Antonio Levanti in 1637. This is where anatomy was taught by dissection of corpses.

Anatomical theatre of the Archiginnasio

On a whole, the Anatomical Theatre is an Archiginnasio Palace, decorated with statues of ancient and Bolognese physicians. Archiginnasio Palace is one of the most important buildings in Bologna, as it is the first permanent seat of the University of Bologna. Archiginnasio Palace is built in 1563.

Archiginnasio Palace

On the ceiling of the Archiginnasio Palace, there is Apollo surrounded by stars.

Apollo surrounded by a group of stars
Beautiful wooden ceiling at the Anatomical Theatre
Archiginnasio Palace – the first seat of University of Bologna

The library itself is truly a beautiful building with loads of characters.

Library main hall
Painted ceilings of the Bologna library
I am not sure what these are? Coat of arms?
Anyone know what are these? And why they are in Bologna library?
Painted walls at the Biblioteca comunale dell’Archiginnasio
This section if off from public, but what a beautiful old library
Fisica – at the Bologna Library
Arte Militare

Not sure what symbol is this? Double heads eagle?

Double heads bird?

We also went to the Archaeological Museum in Bologna.

The Archaeological Museum in Bologna
Marble, Mid-1st Century AD, belongs to Emperor Nero
Some artefacts from the Archaeological Museum
Commemorative for the Death – Roman Era at the Archaeological Museum
Ticket to Museo Archeologico Bologna
Which era of emperor is this?

We also visited the Medieval Museum of Bologna.

Ticket to Museo Medievale Bologna

The collection is pretty impressive. There are some Chinese antiques too.

Celadon Yuan Dynasty Circa 13th – 14th Century at Medieval Museum in Bologna
Chinese shoes
Lamb of God, circa 13th Century
Mosaic Virgin Mary Theotokos, Byzantine period
I think this is Archbishop presenting the City of Bologna
Antique Crosses and Rings
Pope rings
Cross with Christ and the Gospel figures
Cross with Christ and Saints figure, circa 14th century.
Studying in Medieval time?
Interesting dresses in Medieval period
I think people like to read a lot, during medieval time
Sepolcro di Pietro Canonici, circa 1502
Saint Michael the Archangel
Graduale del Tempo, 13th century
Maestro della Bibbia di Gerona, 13th century

We also visited an interesting Church: San Filippo Neri.

Beautiful Church of San Filippo Neri in Bologna
Breathtaking ceilings of Chiesa San Filippo Neri
Main Altar at Chiesa San Filippo Neri
Hand painted ceilings
Hand painted ceilings at Chiesa San Filippo Neri
One of the altars at San Fillipo Neri church in Bologna

Another name of Chiesa San Filippo Neri is Chiesa Della Madonna di Galliera. The foundation of the church dates back to 1304.

The foundation is from circa 1304
Madonna di Galliera e di San Filippo Neri
The altars and paintings are from 16th to 18th century
Lovely painting at San Filippo Neri church

Don’t forget to also visit the icon of Bologna: The Fountain of Neptune.

Fountain Neptune in Bologna
Piazza Maggiore the central square in Bologna

And di visit some restaurants and cafes in the city centre. They are delicious!

Italian food in Bologna
Cafes in Bologna

I hope you enjoy this travel edition in underrated city of Bologna!

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