Day 1 - 20 Apr 2022
Content: The itinerary starts from Porta Galliera. Start walking in Via dell'Indipendenza, the main street of the city full of stores! You will also find Piazza VIII Agosto and a little further on the Arena del Sole theater. By now, you may have noticed that Bologna is full of arcades. But did you know that they have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site? They are 62 kilometers long and were built to expand the space of the houses.
Content: Keep walking until you reach the intersection and turn into Via Augusto Righi and then right into Via Piella, here you will find the famous "Finestrella", also known as "the little Venice". Did you know that canals have characterized the city of Bologna since the seventh century? They contributed, in fact, to the economic development of the city.
Content: Start walking again on Via Dell'Indipendenza and go as far as the bar "Canton de' Fiori". Stop for a coffee at the tables outside and look up. Did you notice anything in the vault? You'll find three inscriptions: panis vita, vinum laetitia, canabis protectio. That's right, you read well! It would seem, in fact, that in the past, the development of the city and its wealth also derived from the cultivation of hemp.
Content: Cross the street and you will find yourself in Piazza Maggiore, the largest square in the city. From this square the real tour of Bologna will begin. Thanks to this square you will understand why Bologna is also called the red one. In fact, red and orange are the colors that characterize the buildings! Now, look to your left. You'll see a big lamppost protected by two lions. Did you know that its lantern lights up every time a baby is born in the city?
Content: Looking always to your left, you will find the Palace of King Enzo. This palace is named after the King of Sardinia, son of Frederick II. He was captured in 1249 and was imprisoned inside the palace, which at the time was called Palazzo Nuovo. He was treated like a king but could never leave and stayed there for 23 years until his death.
Content: You will be immediately struck by the fountain of Neptune, the king of the sea. This fountain represents the power of the Pope. As Neptune rules the waters, the Pope rules the entire world. What's more, at Neptune's feet are four cherubs representing the rivers of the continents that were known at the time: the Ganges, the Nile, the Amazon and the Danube. This magnificent statue hides a funny secret. To find out, you have to go behind the fountain and only then will you see the optical illusion. When you go, try to discover it!
Content: On your right, you will find Palazzo d'Accursio, one of the most important buildings in the city. It is the seat of the municipality. From the square you can see the Clock Tower and looking at the entrance of the palace you will notice a statue. It is, in fact, the statue of Pope Gregory XIII, the inventor of the Gregorian calendar! Inside the palace is the SalaBorsa Library. It also houses the Civic Museum of the Municipal Art Collections. You will be able to visit different rooms for free: Sala d'Ercole, Sala del Consiglio Comunale, Sala Farnese, Cappella Farnese, Sala Rossa and Sala Urbana.
Content: If you want to take a break and enjoy a coffee and admire the square with the wonderful Basilica of San Petronio, stop at the bar Vittorio Emanuele, under the arcades of the Palazzo del Podestà.
Content: After your coffee, walk under the vaults of the palace, precisely under the Arengo tower and you will find the "wireless telephone". In the corners of the vault you will see four statues depicting the protectors of Bologna: Petronius, Francis, Dominic and Florianus. If you're in company, stand on opposite sides, under the statues, and talk. You'll hear perfectly what the other person is saying to you.
Content: Cross the street and admire the Basilica of San Petronio. Before entering, observe the step in Piazza Maggiore. Do you know what it's called? Crescentone. It was given this name because it seems to grow from the floor. Did you know that the first stone was laid in 1390 and inside you can see the largest sundial in the world? It was in this Basilica, not yet completed, that Charles V was crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire by Pope Clement VII.
Content: At this point turn into Via Clavature. You will find the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Vita, where you can admire the Lamentation of the Dead Christ. A little further on you will find the Mercato di Mezzo, a covered market with three floors where you can taste the traditional cuisine of Bologna. The ancient market was the seat of the city's craft and commercial activities. You'll see workshops, fishmongers, stores selling fruit, vegetables and flowers
Content: By now it's time for lunch. Choose whether to stop at the Mercato di Mezzo, have lunch at one of the many osterias, or grab a charcuterie board from Salumeria Simoni. As a sweet treat, I didn't miss out on a tigella with nutella. Absolutely a must try!
Content: After lunch, stop at Osteria del Sole, active since 1465. You will be amazed!
Content: With a full belly, continue the tour and reach Piazza della Mercanzia. From here you will see the two towers: Torre Garisenda and Torre degli Asinelli. The two towers were built in the Middle Ages and had a military function. If you're not too tired, you can climb the Asinelli Tower and admire the spectacular view of the city. Remember, however, that you have to book your visit. It is the tallest leaning medieval tower in the world, with a height of 97.2 meters. The slope is 1.3 degrees. If you climb up to the terrace, remember to look for the broken vase! The effort of the many steps will be repaid by the breathtaking view! But beware! If you have not yet graduated, do not go up! They say it's bad luck
Content: Yes, you've climbed 498 steps but it's not time to stop yet. Take Via Santo Stefano and walk until you are in Piazza Santo Stefano. You will find yourself in front of a wonderful complex, also known as the "seven churches". I won't tell you too much though, it will be up to you to discover the history of this place. Plus, the entrance is free.
Content: After the visit, pass under Palazzo Bolognini, later renamed Isolani. At the end, exactly at the entrance of Corte Isolani, you'll arrive under a portico with a wooden ceiling. Nose up and look for the three arrows embedded in the ceiling. According to the legend, three brigands wanted to kill a nobleman from Bologna. They were, however, distracted by a naked girl who appeared at the window. And so it was that the arrows ended up in the ceiling.
Content: At this point you reach Piazzetta Achille Ardigo, it is only 5 minutes on foot. You will recognize the entrance to the ghetto from voltone of Manzoli Palace.
Content: Moreover, if you want to know more about the history of the Jewish community in the city, you can visit the Jewish Museum, which can be found in via Valdonica 1/5.
Content: And no, you're not in Hollywood! Bologna, in fact, has its Walk of Fame. On via Orefici and via Caprarie you will find marble stars. Many jazz musicians have passed through Bologna and to remember them, were laid these stars reminiscent of Hollywood. Try to find Lucio Dalla's! The tour has come to an end. You just have to discover this magnificent city! If you liked the post, share it with your friends! And don't forget to follow me to stay updated on the latest news!