Travel to Bologna and see an outstanding ensemble of beautiful buildings from the medieval, Renaissance and Baroque schools

The city of Bologna was once Europe's fifth largest, testament to its importance as a seat of learning (home to the world's first university, founded in 1088) and its economic prosperity.

This city of around 400,000 people continues to exude a well-to-do air and is regarded by many Italians as one of the best places to live in the country. Coldish Winters and hot Summers mean that the city is best visited in March to June and during the months of September and October, with airplane tickets also being cheaper outside the Summer holiday period. The journey can be made in under 15 hours, depending on flight connections. Flights arrive at Guglielmo Marconi International Airport which is just 6 km from the city centre. The local currency is the euro and Bologna is one hour behind South African time.

Although the city was heavily bombed during World War Two, the city centre was carefully restored and is viewed as Europe's second largest historic centre. Bologna is particularly famous for its towers, of which about 20 out of around 180 originally built in the 12th and 13th centuries still remain, and its porticoes (covered walkways) which run for a total of 24 miles around the centre. The Torre degli Asinelli is open to the public and offers great views of the surrounding countryside and the city, including the Piazza Maggiore and Neptune Fountain, which is something of a symbol of the city. On the Piazza Maggiore itself stands Bologna city hall, the Palazzo Comunale, housing beautiful paintings and a gigantic main staircase, whilst the striking Archiginnasio, the main university building for 240 years, is just around the corner.

Like all Italian cities, Bologna has a wealth of stunning churches and religious buildings. The most popular include:
  • The Santuario di San Stefano
  • The Santuario di Santa Maria della Vita
  • The Santuario di Madonna di San Luca
  • San Petronio (one of the largest churches in the world)
  • San Domenico

Bologna - home to fast cars, unusual museums and hearty cuisine!

Bologna is a perfect location for fans of Italian motor vehicles to indulge their passion. The Ducati, Lamborghini and Ferrari museums are all either in the city or within easy reach of it. For lovers of more sedate pleasures, Bologna has been a UNESCO city of music since 2006 and regular music festivals in the city take in genres from classical and jazz to electronic music and children's songs.
The performing arts have traditionally been significant players on the local scene. Theatre, contemporary dance and opera productions may all be seen in the city.
A stay in Bologna offers the opportunity to see some of Italy's more bizarre museums, including the Museo Delle Cere Anatomiche (wax models of the human anatomy) and the European Students Museum (one of six museums in the university's Palazzo Poggi). Other interesting venues are the Giorgio Morandi museum, the Pinacoteca Nazionale de Bologna fine arts museum and the Museo Internazionale e Biblioteca della Musica di Bologna (international museum and library of music).
If you travel to Bologna, you'll soon realize that the city has something of a reputation amongst Italians for good food. Obviously, Bolognese sauce hails from here, but you might also want to try locally-produced Prosciutto and Mortadella, desserts like fave dei morti (almond paste biscuits) and torta di riso (almond, rice and amaretto cake).
Finally, to help you prepare your trip, you'll find lots of useful information on Air France's website covering everything from vaccinations to accommodation .

Bologna - make your stay a better one with these travel and tourism websites

See the best of Bologna by checking out these websites:

Ducati museum