Bologna is known for its rich cultural history and for being the home of Europe’s first university, founded in 1088.
The city boasts a long tradition of culture and knowledge, which is reflected in the numerous museums, art places and churches that host works of art and bear witness to centuries of history.
Bologna is a city that manages to combine the past with the present and the future.
On one side, you can admire the ancient medieval squares and vestiges of the past, while on the other you can find modern spaces and contemporary monuments. The city seems to be a crossroads of styles and trends, where the Gothic and the Renaissance mix with futuristic influences and pop art.
It is clear that Bologna is a place that values and promotes culture, knowledge and art, offering visitors the opportunity to explore and appreciate a vast range of cultural and artistic expressions.
Here is a list of 10 places to visit in Bologna for free:
1. The Montagnola Garden
The main meeting place for all the people of Bologna, the Montagnola Garden is the first attraction you can see when you arrive in the city, by train and beyond. Characterized by the presence of plants and vegetation, its main staircase (called Del Pincio) allows tourists and the people of Bologna to enter the Garden and enjoy its evocative beauty.
2. The minerals of the “Luigi Bombicci” Museum
For mineralogy enthusiasts, the Bombicci Museum houses a vast collection of minerals of various kinds – around 48,000 specimens – and meteorites that have fallen in various parts of the world.
3. The “Luigi Cattaneo” Anatomical Wax Collection
A museum dedicated to scholars of anatomy and human diseases characterized by the presence of material for wax and bone preparations used for research and teaching.
4. St. Peter’s Cathedral
A few steps from Piazza Maggiore, an ancient and monumental church with a baroque façade and interiors which house pictorial works by important artists, such as Ludovico Carracci or Elisabetta Sirani.
5. Il Mercato di Mezzo
A wonderful market already active since the Middle Ages where you can find many Bolognese specialties to satisfy your palate. Cheeses, cured meats, fresh pasta… everything can be enjoyed at the convenient conveniences located on the ground floor of the Market.
6. La Piazzola
Every Friday and Saturday, from morning to evening, Piazza VIII Agosto is filled with stalls set up by traders selling handmade products or clothing, footwear, home accessories and much more. Two days a week in which to breathe multi-ethnic and cheerful air in which to go for a walk and shopping in company.
7. Villa Spada Park
Classic Italian garden characterized by the presence of statues and architecture of great style, which surrounds a splendid 18th century villa. From the Casaglia hill you can admire a wonderful panorama of Bologna, enjoying the view of the city from above.
8. The 3 arrows of Corte Isolani
On the roof of the portico of Corte Isolani you can see 3 arrows stuck. There are various legends that narrate hypothetical reasons why the arrows are found in that point such as, for example, a clash between nobles, at the end of which the arrows were thrown onto the roof due to distraction during the battle.
9. The Certosa Monumental Cemetery
An incredibly romantic place that attracted the attention of important writers such as Charles Dickens or Lord Byron, the Certosa Monumental Cemetery is full of extremely interesting and impactful architecture and statuary works. People such as Giosuè Carducci – who taught at the University of Bologna – and Lucio Dalla – historic Bolognese singer-songwriter – were buried here.
10. The Holocaust memorial
Located above the station bridge, two black steel blocks contrast with the white floor on which they are placed.
The Shoah Memorial in question won the competition announced by the Jewish Community of the City.