An important crossroads between Northern and Southern Italy, the history of Bologna is connected to the influence of cultures and peoples that have contributed to the city's economic and cultural development over time.
Here are some of the city's major attractions, museums and monuments:
- Asinelli Tower and Garisenza Tower: built in the early XII century by the family of the same name, they are now the city's symbols. The two towers are both leaning and dominate the skyline in via Rizzoli. As a reminder of the role in trade during medieval times, the portico at their feet now houses a number of traditional craftsmen's' shops. The long climb up the 497 steps of the Asinelli Tower is a must, as it offers a breathtaking view of the city and the Bologna hills.
- Archiginnasio: the Building was erected in 1562 for the purpose of creating a unified University campus, which had until then been spread out in several buildings. The entire building is heavily decorated with engravings and celebratory monuments of Scholars and thousands of emblems and names of students. The building was home to the University until 1803, when it became the Municipal Library.
- Anatomical Theatre: the magnificent Anatomical Theatre inside the Archiginnasio Building owes its name to its characteristic amphitheatre shape. Designed in 1673 for anatomy lessons, it is built entirely out of fir wood and decorated with the statues of the twelve renowned doctors and the twenty most famous anatomists of Bologna.
- Piazza Maggiore: considered to be the “square of the people of Bologna”, Piazza Maggiore is located in the heart of the city and houses the main buildings of the political and religious powers. With your back to the façade of San Petronio, you face Palazzo del Podestà and Palazzo Re Enzo, with the Voltone del Podestà crossing underneath them. On the left the Palazzo Comunale (Municipal Building) closes off the square, and on the right the Palazzo dei Banchi, from which the most famous portico connects Piazza Maggiore to the Archiginnasio.
- Basilica of San Petronio: commissioned by the Municipality of Bologna in 1390, the basilica should have been an immense cross with each one of the huge arms overlooking a different square. For economic reasons the project was downsized and only the longest arm was completed. Regardless, the Basilica of San Petronio is still one of the largest churches in the world.
- The Santo Stefano Complex: overlooking the square of the same name, this complex is also known as the “Sette Chiese (Seven Churches)”. In fact, the Basilica consists of a complex and original layout where the various, adjacent sacred buildings aim to replicate the holy sites of Jerusalem. Built on the structure of a temple dedicated to the Goddess Isis, the complex was reduced from seven to four churches during restoration work between the end of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th century.
- The Archaeological Civic Museum of Bologna: this museum houses one of the most important Italian archaeological collections. A journey through local history, from the Etruscans to the Roman era. The museum also preserves one of the most important collections of Egyptian relics in Europe.
- MAMbo: located in the heart of the cultural district of the Manifattura delle Arti - together with the Cinematheque of Bologna, the laboratories of the Department of Music and Performance of the University and the Department of Communication Sciences – the Museum explores Italian art from the second post-war period to the present day, with a dynamic and innovative perspective.
- Museum of Industrial Heritage: housed in the former Galotti Furnace, the museum pays tribute to the city and the region's economic-productive history, from the Modern era to the present day.
Furthermore, Emilia Romagna has always been setting standards in automobile production, and offers enthusiasts the opportunity of tours, visits and test drives with Made in Italy symbols such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Ducati.