Posted by: debrakolkka | August 16, 2011

Back to Bologna

Bologna is one of my favourite cities in Italy and a pefect place to wander with no particular agenda. There is a surprise at every turn. Some of the magnificent buildings are ancient and it is amazing to see them still being home to residents of Bologna.

Porta Galleria

What better place to start than Porta Galleria.  The original door was constructed in the 12th century and was one of 12 doors in the wall that surrounded Bologna.

the crest above the door

part of the old wall

a rather grand park near the entrance to the city

a statue in the park

poor buffalo

gruesome detail

the portico in Via Independenza

If you arrive at the station, as I did, you can walk to the city centre down Via Independenza. It will take about 15 minutes and is under cover almost all the way. I think it is a great introduction to Bologna.


waiting patiently for her master

Perhaps he was inside trying these on .

flash green shoes

the law faculty at the university

statue of Hercules by Giuseppe Mazza - imagine coming to school here every day

This building was erected around 1550. Bologna has the oldest universities in Europe and is still a university city. Having lots of students about makes for a lively and vibrant city.


the doorway to the medical faculty

looking up


an incredible staircase

detail of the ceiling

inside the dissection room

There is more information on the room in an earlier post on the walking tour in Bologna. Click here to se it.


inside the Sala Borsa

This is the public library for Bologna, and an excellent meeting place. Look down through the glass floor to see Roman ruins.

under the glass floor you can see ancient ruins

an eagle in a wall in Piazza Maggiore

keeping watch over Piazza Maggiore


Bramante's staircase

Bramante’s stairway is in the Palazzo Comunale.  It was built in 1597 and the low, wide stairs were to allow those on horse-back access to the upper floors.


a beautiful portico - Piazza Cavour

detail of the ceiling

the most artistic portico in Bologna - Piazza Cavour 6

The porticoes skirting the bank at Piazza Cavour are recognised as the most colourful and elaborate in the city. The painting appears on 25 vaults and was completed by Gaetano Lodi between 1862 and 1865.


the decortation on the front of Santo Stefano

I found this next doorway very sad. It was once the entry to an orphanage. It doesn’t look like a happy place to me.

how many poor little mites went through this door?


cheisa dei Filippini

I came upon and incredibly old building in a narrow street.  Is was difficult to get good photos of it as I was unable to get back far enough to get the whole building in the shot.  It is a magnificent old church.


so old

the front of the building

worn stone columns

Palazzo Grassi

Palazzo Grassi is about 600 years old. I love the old wooden supports for the portico.

ancient wooden pillar


the house opposite Palazzo Grassi in Via Marsala

part of a fountain in Via Ugo Bassi

I will end my wandering in Via Ugo Bassi at Gamberini and show you some of the delicious cakes in the window.



I'd like a slice of that

I really recommend the walking tour of Bologna if you have never been before (click here), and you cannot leave Bologna without seeing the market streets. Click here and here for more.


  1. oh how beautiful. We love Bologna – and have never had a bad meal there. It’s time to go back. Lucky you.

    • I will be back there soon – can’t wait.

  2. Wow what a wonderful tour I’ve just been on! Thanks Debra. Years and years ago I flew to Italy with my little sister for a week in Italy, we came in at Bologna and I remember feeling vaguely panicky that we didn’t know what to do and we walked down those covered streets and had granita in a café and felt terribly sophisticated. I would love to see it again. I would love to see loads of places again and all the ones I haven’t seen. I like those staircase shots, and the vision of someone clattering up to the top on horseback.

    • I love that staircase too. I would love to see a man in a flying cape and a feathered hat riding up there.

  3. Your pictures are amazing! I love Italy but have never been to Bologna. This makes me want to change that immediately. And the tart…..oh my!

    • You should go to Bologna. It is a truly wonderful city.

  4. Just amazing, and those shoes…. Are wicked cool. So stylin. 🙂 I5 minutes undercover, how incredible. What a wonderful experience. So jealous.

    • There are about 40 kilometres of portici in Bologna. I often say, if you are going get caught in an Italian city in the rain, make it Bologna.

  5. At a recent dinner I was talking about how architecture has to enhance life and how much of the modern stuff leaves the senses cold, to accentuate what I was saying I’m to send this article to the folks who were at the dinner so as to prove my point… Your photos are splendid, thank you for sharing.

    • There are other posts on lovely Bologna as well. I love the buildings there.

  6. I was hooked long before I got to the food pictures, and then….!!!!!Wow. I am definitly going to check out the walking tour. How long does it take? I am so very excited now, and really really glad that Bologna is on our agenda!

    • The walking tour takes a couple of hours and is very good. There are usually not too many people in each group and the guides have excellent local knowledge.

      • I tried opening the link to the walking tour that you had posted but it wont let me in. Any other suggestions? Any other tour that i have googled costs way more and is much longer. Thanks!

      • I took the link from their brochure.It is an email address, you could try emailing them or there is a phone number there as well. The tour leaves every day from the information centre in Piazza Maggiore. We didn’t have to book ahead, just turn up a bit before 11.00am and let them know you want to join a tour. I know this doesn’t seem to be very well organised, but it seems to work. Perhaps you could check the day before or earlier in the morning. I have done it twice and it is very good.

  7. Gosh, the more I read your blog, the more tragic I think it is that I have never been to Italy. What an amazing place!

    • Italy is a great place to visit. It is beautiful, the people are nice, the food is good and if you are interested in history there is enough to keep you busy for years.

  8. Wonderful tips!!! Thank you!

    • Bologna is a great place to visit.

  9. Fabulous pics, Deb. It’s always so nice to go sightseeing with you! 🙂

    • I love sharing lovely Italy.

  10. Beautiful. That staircase is something! I very much want to see that. And eat cake.

    • The food in Bologna is excellent. I don’t think you would go hungry there.

  11. Bologna is one of our favourite cities. There is so much to see and do there! You keep on discovering new places and things every time you visit it. I particularly love the porticos – more than 40 km of them – many are covered with frescoes and statues, but they also provide a great shelter when you visit Bologna in winter or whenever it may be raining. Great idea! All cities, particularly in Europe, should have them.

    • I think they should be compulsory. They provide shelter from the rain and shade in summer – perfect.

  12. Love the library…and the cakes!

    • The library is wonderful and the cakes are amazing.

  13. Bologna is fabulous, and I always take the adventure when my husband goes to the trade fairs. Too much muscle and tractor power for me so I wander streets…and I wander the streets…it’s a wonderful place.Great photo’s

    • Thanks! I love Bologna. It is so much fun to wander there.

  14. Fabulous! What a great tour of the city.

    • We must do it together one day.

  15. Wonderful series!! I absolutely love this city. I would love to go back and photograph it again. Great work!! The porticos are my fav, and the church at the top of the hill… Gorgeous

    • Bologna is not really on the tourist trail, and it should be, it is one of the most fascinating Italian cities to see.

  16. Beautiful pictures, the tarts look yummy.

    • Bologna has great food, just think of spaghetti Bolognaise and mortadella ( among other delcious things)

  17. This looks like another fascinating place – my list of places to visit in Italy keeps getting longer! I love those shoes 🙂

    • Bologna should be on everyone’s list.


    • You will love it George, and it is not far from Bagni di Lucca.

  19. ‘There is a surprise at every turn’ this is a great recommendation! I want to go and explore.
    Love the staircase… and as usual, enjoyed your details.

    • Bologna is full of wonderful surprises. That staircase is amazing.

  20. For those who enjoy motorcycles, the DUCATI factory which is also based in Bologna, has a very nice museum and well worth a visit. They show the very first racing motorcyles 48cc (really mopeds) that they made right uptill todays modern GP race bikes now being ridden by Valentino Rossi. Some very unusual looking machines. The city centre is also very nice and you have reflected that very well with your photographs. I love old buildings and the painted ceiling etc.I miss this type of culture and history here in Australia.

    • I would be interested in seeing the Ducati museum, I think it would be fascinating. Thanks for the tip.

  21. There are so many places I want to visit when I’m over in Italy, Bologna being one of them. Where do you catch the train Deb? and how long does it take?
    I think I’m going to have to upgrade my camera – your pictures are an inspiration, I just want to be there snapping away and creating such a wonderful record of memories.

    • The Eurostar to Bologna leaves from Florence and only takes about 45 minutes. From Bagni di Lucca it is possible to go through Florence or drive to Pracchia and take the local train to Bologna, changing trains at Poretta. The Trenitalia site will give you times. My camera is a Canon G11 and I love it.

  22. Bologna looks definitely worth a visit! I remember reading about leaning towers of Bologna. Did you see that too?

    • I have climbed the tall tower in Bologna. I did a post on it called 498 steps to the top. There are several posts on Bologna. If you look in the Bologna category you can find them all. Bologna is one of my favourite cities in Italy and I visit often.

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