The most impressive sights in Bologna

The Italian city of Bologna is immediately recognisable by its red roofs and red-coloured buildings. This is why the city is also called La Rossa. The lovely Palazzo d’Accursio o Comunale is one of these red-coloured buildings, but even more beautiful are the leaning towers of Asinelli and Garisenda. Discover all the wonderful sights of Bologna.

Sight: Garisenda and Asinelli

Garisenda and Asinelli

The leaning towers of Garisenda and Asinelli are the most famous sights of Bologna. These are the largest remaining towers of the nearly 180 towers that once adorned this city in the Middle Ages. The tower of Asinelli is 97 metres high, while the tower of Garisenda is 47 metres high. That’s impressively high if you consider the fact that they were built entirely by hand. If you have the nerves for it, climb to the top of the Asinelli tower. After climbing its 500 steps, you can enjoy fabulous views of the red roofs of the city.


Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna

Bologna is also a fantastic holiday destination for art lovers. The Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, for example, boasts an impressive collection of paintings from the 13th to the 18th century. This includes works by world-famous painters such as Michelangelo, Rafael and Rembrandt. The collection originated from monasteries and churches, but other works of art were added later on. 

Sight: Piazza Maggiore

Piazza Maggiore

Piazza Maggiore is the most beautiful square in Bologna. Here you will find several of the city’s best sights, including the gigantic San Petronio Basilica. Piazza Maggiore was built around the year 1200 and was the residence and workplace of the city government. In the 15th century, the façade of the buildings on the square were redesigned in Renaissance style. The people of Bologna have been gathering at the Piazza Maggiore for centuries and it is an important meeting place for students to this very day. It is also the perfect place to relax after walking for hours and to enjoy a plate of pasta with Bolognese sauce. You’ll notice it’s not made with spaghetti as is common outside of Italy, but with tagliatelle, as is traditional way in Bologna. 


San Petronio Basilica

The San Petronio Basilica is the city’s main church. This Gothic church is dedicated to Saint Petronio, a bishop from the 5th century BC. The first stone of the basilica was laid at the end of the 14th century, but it would take several centuries until construction was finished. That’s because Pope John XXII ordered a stop to the construction for some time because he was a vehement opponent of the basilica. The reason for this was that it would be larger than St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. The basilica was eventually finished, but the original façade was never completed. 

Sight: Fontana del Nettuno

Fontana del Nettuno

The beautiful Fontana del Nettuno is located on the Piazza del Nettuno. This fountain was created by Flemish sculptor Jean Boulogne, also known as Giambologna. A statue of the Greek god Neptune adorns the top of the fountain and below him are several statues of women that are depicted quite erotically, with water spouting from their breasts.