Bologna’s Rich History And Culture: 3 Reasons To Visit

Bologna is a beautiful place to visit for any type of vacation. There’s so much to do and see while you’re there. Those who don’t know much about Bologna may wonder what makes Bologna worth visiting.

Bologna is worth visiting because of the beautiful medieval architecture, Bologna University, and its outstanding authentic cuisine. Once you step foot in Bologna, you will be surrounded by beauty and history. 

In this article, I will explore why Bologna is worth visiting. If you’re curious about what Bologna has to offer, keep reading!

Reasons Why Bologna Is Worth Visiting

Bologna is quite an important city because it has kept aspects of previous medieval civilization over the years. History is alive in this city, and it’s a fantastic experience. 

Bologna’s beginnings go back a couple of thousand years before the Bronze Age. The city generates quite an attraction because it is a perfect mixture of medieval and contemporary culture. 

Traveling to Bologna can be stressful, but Expedition Hopper can help put your mind at ease when taking a big trip.

If you have an interest in historical cities, check out my article on 7 reasons Rome is worth visiting.

Let’s now explore what makes Bologna worth a visit.

1. Beautiful Medieval Architecture 

Bologna is often described as medieval and renaissance-like because of its unique architecture built in the middle ages. Although some structures have not made it through the years, many still remain. They include:

  • Museo Civico Medievale. This is a great museum to visit because it has artwork on display that was created in the middle ages. You won’t find art like that just anywhere.
  • The City of Towers”. This was Bologna’s nickname because it once had over 100 towers. This was viewed as a means of protection and power back in the middle ages. Many of the towers don’t exist today, unfortunately. 
  • Archiginnasio. A must-see spot when visiting Bologna, it now houses the Anatomical Theater, but before that, it was the main headquarters of Bologna University. This makes it one of Bologna’s oldest buildings
  • Porticoes. These run along most of the city, making for a beautiful walk. According to the World Heritage Convention, there are about 62 kilometers (38 miles) of Porticoes in Bologna. The architecture of these porticoes is stunning and worth seeing when visiting Bologna.
  • The Sanctuary of the Madonna Di San Luca. This is another magnificent place to visit. The most prevalent explanation of this sanctuary—among a few others—is that it is a memorial to the Virgin Mary. It took 42 years of work for the sanctuary to be completed in all its splendor.

2. The Bologna University

Established in 1888, Bologna University is the Western world’s oldest university. This university still thrives today despite the hardships it has faced along the way. 

The university is one of the top reasons Bologna is a great place to visit because of the culture and vast history that comes with it. It helped the city to continue to grow and thrive.

During the 16th century, the commune and the university’s relationship declined. After Bologna became one of the Papal States, the university was relocated to a single location rather than being dispersed around the city. This turned away many students and professors because not everyone strictly adhered to Catholicism, and some sought other fields of study. 

During the 17th and 18th centuries, there was a lack of interest from many. Towards the end of the 18th century, the university found a loophole around the commune’s influence. This was with the Academy of Sciences. 

In the 20th century and now in the 21st century, the university has returned to its former glory and more. They continue to use the old buildings but have also made new ones to add to the university and keep expanding throughout Bologna. 

With so much beautiful architecture, campuses to explore, and deep-rooted history, Bologna University is a must-see when visiting Bologna. 

3. Bologna Is Known for Its Food

Another great reason to visit Bologna is that the people are known for their fantastic food. Bologna specializes in balsamic vinegar, parmesan, tortellini, and other Italian dishes. Considering their specialties, you can bet their dishes taste out of this world.

There are numerous food tours, and you can visit Bologna to try out as many restaurants as possible. There are numerous restaurants to choose from, but I’ve compiled a list of a few top choices you should consider when visiting Bologna.

  • Trattoria di Via Serra. This traditional restaurant specializes in pasta gramigna, tortellini, and rabbit meatballs. Their dishes are on the pricier side, but it’s worth it for the high-quality food you will eat.
  • Forno Brisa. This is more for those who have a sweet tooth. They are known for their breakfast pastries and vegan cakes that will have your mouth watering. This restaurant also serves pizza. 
  • Mercato Delle Erbe. This is a market and food hall, so if you are looking for a variety of places to try, this would be the perfect spot. There are many great places to choose from here, but a super popular one is Polpette e Crescentine, famed for its crescentine fritte and meatballs called polpette.
  • Trattoria Bertozzi. This is a small restaurant, but don’t let that fool you. They’re known for their fantastic gramigna, some of the best in the city. The gramigna is smothered with a delicious parmesan cream sauce and is worth the high price tag.

Bologna is so well known for its food that there is even a food theme park called Fico Eataly World. It’s free to enter, and you only have to pay for the food you want to try. There are foods from all over Italy in one spot for you to enjoy. 

Some places even show you how they make and prepare the delicious food they’re serving. It is a fun and unique experience you can’t get anywhere else. 

There are also various classes offered throughout the day where you can participate in learning how to make a particular food item. This way, you can take what you know back home and have a little piece of Bologna in your kitchen. 

This is especially great if you’re in Bologna for a short time and don’t have time to travel to multiple food places to try them out. Here you can experience them all on the same day.