Posted by: debrakolkka | April 11, 2010

The walking tour in Bologna

Bologna is one of my favourite places in Italy.  We called in for a day on our way back from Lake Como.  As usual, we stayed at the hotel Drapperie in Via Drapperie.  You just can’t beat the location in the centre of the market area in the heart of Bologna.

opposite the door to Hotel Drapperie

the tour starts here

We took the walking tour which starts at the information centre.  Our excellent guide, Simona, had amazing knowledge of the city and its history.  It always makes the sights seem more interesting if you know a little about what you are looking at.

Neptune's fountain

We started at Neptunes’s fountain in the square of the same name and wandered through Piazza Maggiore, past the D’Accursio Palace and into the Basilica of Saint Petronius.  The locals just call Piazza Maggiore  – La Piazza – the square- because they feel it doesn’t need an adjective.  Here is an exerpt  from a book on Bologna – “The square is the heart of Bologna because here we can find the roots of the past and those of ancient times which have given us the opportunity of existing and of existing just the way we are now”.  Work that one out.

detail of the fountain

the huge basilica in Piazza Maggiore

detail on the back wall of the unfinished basilica

the lion symbol of Bologna on the oldest builing in the city

the wall with photos of those killed in WWII

a very sad wall

Bologna is a university town and claims the first university in Europe.  Part of the tour takes in the Anatomy room  in the old Medical university.  Students of anatomy gathered here to watch bodies being dissected.  When bodies weren’t available they studied wax models, which can be seen in another building.  It became quite popular for members of the public to watch the goings on as well as the students.  The room is entirely made of wood and beautifully carved.  It was almost destroyed by bombs in the Second World War and what we see today is a careful reconstruction.

the anatomy room

detail of the ceiling

the first plastic surgeon holding a nose

model of a man with the skin removed

Simona took us through the market streets – Via Pescherie and Via Drapperie – my favourite streets in Bologna and pointed out the shops she thinks are the best.  I don’t know how you could choose.

Simona's favourite deli

the sign inviting you in

prosciutto anyone?

I can’t recommend the walking tour enough.  The groups are usually not too large and our guide spoke very good English, Italian and German.  It takes about 2 hours.  On another tour we also saw  St Stephen’s Basilica, also known as the Seven Churches, which is fascinating.

The tours take place on – Monday 11.00am, Tuesday 3.00pm winter and 4.00pm summer, Wednesday 10.15am, Thursday 3.00pm winter and 4.00pm summer, Friday 11.00am, Saturday 10.15am and Sunday10.15am.

For more information, and to check that the times have not changed call 051 2750254 or email The cost is euro 13 per person and it is not necessary to book, just be at the information centre in Piazza Maggiore 10 minutes before the tours begin.

There are around 40 kilometres of portici in Bologna

the pretty park on Via Farina


  1. your pictures are always fantastic!

  2. Can’t wait to return to Bologna – our favourite town for food!
    Great blog – thank you.

  3. […] love Bologna.  I did the walking tour for the second time and loved it – again. Via Drapperie – my favourite food markets in […]

  4. Now,we need photos of the fruit stands. The colors are so rich and vibrant – next, please?

    I did the Susan G. Komen face/walk for breast cancer through Bologna. Past Neptune, and his lovely mermaids – they definitely promote breast awareness!

    My favorite part: I was behind an Italian couple in impeccable white track suits. The man stopped to order an espresso, and as his wife ran up, he stood at the curb, held out the tiny cup with an elegantly extended arm – like a water bearer at a marathon, but with Italian style.

    More at 4initalia….thanks for the great photos! But please photograph the fruit!

  5. Hello,

    I am a tourist from India, & will be visiting Bologna on June 30th.

    I want to join the walking tour that you have written about
    Can you please tell me the website where I can register to join this half day walking tour and how much I have to pay ?

    Looking forward to your early reply to me email id.



  6. […] is more information on the room in an earlier post on the walking tour in Bologna. Click here to se […]

  7. […] here, here, and here to see more on Bologna, or look on the Bologna […]

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