15 Unmissable Things To Do In Bologna At Night
Landing at Bologna Airport? You can find Bologna right in the middle of northern Italy between the Ligurian Sea and the Adriatic Sea. Bologna is located in the Emilia Romagna Region of Northern Italy. Emilia-Romagna is between Florence and Venice and is one of the most prominent areas of Italy. It may be an underrated city, but you should add Bologna to your list of things to do on your trip to Italy.
The city of more than 400 thousand residents boasts a mixed culture of over 150 different nationalities. Since the middle ages, dating back to the 3rd millennium BC, there have been settlements in the area. But in the 7th century, the Etruscan peoples came and founded the site they named Felsina.
The last large walled city in Europe, Bologna, Italy is the historic center of Italy with a plethora of baroque, renaissance, and medieval buildings in the city. Piazza maggiore is an important plaza within walking distance of the walls. In this historic center filled with local bars, live bands, and medieval buildings, you will feel like you stepped back in time.
Food tours are especially perfect at night in Bologna, to try the best Italian food just about anywhere that serves food. If you look in the Bologna nightlife guide, you will see that people from the western world like to eat so there are Bologna hotels serving their own food that include aged balsamic vinegar and other delights. You can even hear eclectic live music.
Night owls love Bologna because there is always something going on at all times of the day and night. Just take a walk down the narrow streets in the historic center of Bologna to find some of the best things to do after dark. But first, drop off your suitcases, backpacks, or some of your terrific shopping purchases at a Bologna luggage storage site for safekeeping.
Bologna Hotel Touring
This may not seem like a very interesting thing to do in Bologna, Italy, but you should visit the Hotel Touring during your visit to Bologna. It is located on the quiet streets in the historic centre and features a stellar view from its rooftop terrace. Enjoy a meal of handmade pasta with a few drops of balsamic vinegar (the best!) for a modern twist as you look out over the Italian cities.
Bologna is a city that is easy to navigate. Why not take public transit and head to Matis? Near Casteldebole train station, to the west of the Bologna city centre, students flock to Matis for techno and hip hop from both international and local DJs. Following the very latest music trends, the main club nights are, of course, Fridays and Saturdays and often hosts large dinners with live acts. Although you may not hear any country music, it does not matter because if you like loud music, crowds, and dancing, you will love Matis.
Bologna Bar Wolf
Follow your ears (and the locals) to the Wolf Bar where you can hear live music, drink Italian beers, and stuff yourself on pasta with more of that traditional balsamic vinegar. They also have amazing cocktails as well as burgers and other delicious items like pizza, paninis, and gelato. You can enjoy avant-garde performance art, folk-rock, experimental funk, and fun people at Bar Wolf, which has been jamming since 1960.
Osteria del Sole
Osteria del Sole is the oldest bar in the country, founded in 1465, and is one of those famous places in Bologna you should not miss when you visit. You can find happy hour at Osteria del Sole all night long, every night of the week. Join the locals as well as tourists drinking Italian liqueurs and eating whatever food they bring. Yes, you have to bring your own food because all they serve is liquor.
Cantina Bentivoglio is different. It is almost always packed and it is hard to decide whether it is a jazz club or a restaurant. But they serve delicious food, over 500 types of wine, and play live jazz music every night. During the summer, you will find the music outside for the Salotto del Jazz Festival. But you should reserve a spot because the locals and travelers love this place.
National Art Gallery of Bologna (Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna)
Museums in Bologna are always a highlight. See some Renaissance artwork at this famous museum located in the city center. It is housed in the same building as the Academy of Fine Arts so you really get two museums in one, which is a lot of art. They are open until 7 PM and feature special works like The Last Supper by El Greco from 1568 and a Polyptych by Giotto from 1330. The oldest is a painting done by Vitale da Bologna in the 130s.
If this is your first trip to the Italian city of Bologna, you have to try some authentic Italian food while you are in town. The best Bologna restaurants include tiny diners and cafes as well as large and prestigious eateries. The delicious food of Bologna is more than just some homemade pasta with meat sauce and parmesan cheese though. Try some traditional Bolognese dishes like risotto alla Milanese, tortelli di zucca, and panettone. A few snacks like cheese, bread, and cured meats can even make a delicious meal.
Many people visit Bologna just for the food and wine so leaving without trying some of the local tastes would be a shame. In fact, if you take a food tour at the start of your visit, you will know where to go to get the best food for the rest of your stay.
Take a Bologna Food Tour
While you are out on your food tour, make sure you stop at the Cremeria Santo Stefano where you can get the best gelato in Bologna. There are many food tours available in Bologna from the Secret Food Tours to the Food Tour and Wine Tasting. Try the four-hour Classic Bologna tour with Sara of Taste Bologna. Or learn how to make some of the famous pasta dishes with a cooking class.
The Secret Tour includes breakfast and coffee, a sample of charcuterie, Parmigiano Reggiano, handmade pasta, and balsamic vinegar. Try the Bologna Food Experiment that includes a full day of touring the Bologna province of food factories, delicious cuisine, and wine tasting at a wine bar.
Whether you are a car lover or not, you should plan a visit to the Ferrari Museum where you can learn the history of this eclectic vehicle while you are in Bologna. The Ferrari is the most well-known Italian sports car and this museum features 25 of the best. This includes a Formula One racing car, road vehicles, and prototypes that can only be seen in this museum. It is only open until 7:00 PM so plan your time wisely.
Piazza Santo Stefano
In the heart of the city, you will find the Square of the Seven Churches. The Basilica here got its name from the seven religious buildings that were built here. Although there are only four left, it is still a must-see. You can visit the Chiesa della Trinita, Santi Vitale e Agricola, Santo Sepolcro, and the Crocefisso and check out artifacts that date back to the 8th century.
Also known as Maggiore Plaza, this popular spot is the main square in the city of Bologna and features medieval buildings like City Hall and Basilica di San Petronio, the main cathedral with its two towers. At night, the buildings of the Piazza Maggiore are especially magnificent. Take a seat at one of the bars or Bologna restaurants and listen to the history of the square that has been there since the 1300s.
See the Fountain of Neptune all lit up, which is one of the main symbols of the city, and the Biblioteca Salaborsa Bologna Public Library. The streets surrounding the square are crammed with stalls and restaurants selling produce, ham, and giant wheels of cheese. Piazza Maggiore is the locals' favorite piazza. In July and August, they host an open-air cinema showing movies nightly for all to see.
The Two Towers of Bologna are considered to be the symbols of the city, located at the intersection of the five gates of the mura dei torresotti, the old ring wall. Constructed in 1109 and 1119, these two leaning structures are named for the families who constructed them, the Asinelli and the Garisenda.
According to the locale, it started as a competition to see which family was the most powerful although the family of the tallest one, Asinelli, was not mentioned in documents until 70 years later. The Asinelli Tower is almost 319 feet tall while the other is just 157 feet tall. The Asinelli is the only one you can visit and it has 498 stairs to climb with no elevator.
University of Bologna
Open until 7 PM, the University of Bologna is the oldest educational establishment in the world, opened in 1088. It is also known as Alma Mater Studiorum, which means "the nourishing mother of study" in Latin. There have been students from all over the world studying at this important college. Some of the famous scholars include Dante, Erasmus, and four different Popes.
If you just want to see some really cool illuminated porticoes (ancient porches), the Bologna Porticoes is where to go. Located in the Cavour Galleria, these porticoes are considered to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You probably will not want to walk through all 39 miles but seeing the details and ornate craftsmanship lit up at night is breathtaking. This is a marvelous free activity too!
Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca
On top of Colle della Guardia, the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Saint Luke (Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca) is one of the most photographed buildings in Bologna. The basilica church sits up on a hill in the forest about 985 feet above the city. You can take the road up or walk through the roofed arcade that has more than 650 arches.
Visit Bologna at Night
Bologna comes alive at night and you can see things you would never see here during the day. One of the locals' favorite things to do in Bologna at night is to drink and listen to live music. Wherever you decide to go, you will hear great stories of the city and its history from the iconic Two Towers to the oldest university in the world, the University of Bologna.