The red color of the bricks and the long arcades give the capital of Emilia a special charm. The medieval center offers suggestive spots, animated by typical shops, and by the storm of students who since 1088 are part of the oldest university in Europe.
The classic itinerary starts from Piazza Malpighi, where stands the apse of the Gothic church of St. Francis next to the graves of Glossatori, the first professors at the University of Bologna.
The walk continues along characteristic streets with arcades to Piazza Maggiore, the heart of the city, where also Bologna meets every day. We will visit the Basilica of San Petronio, the patron saint of the city: it is the sixth biggest church in Europe and it was the place of hugely important historical events. Decorated with wonderful 15thcentury frescoes, it contains unique elements in the world, such as the extraordinary Cassini’s meridian. Majestic palaces (which we will see from the outside) also embellish the medieval square: Palazzo d'Accursio, the town hall, which hosts important art collections, the Banchi Palace, the old seat of the currency exchange, and the Podestà and Notaries Palaces that testify the glorious past of the free Commune.
In the adjacent Neptune Square stands the famous Fountain of Neptune, a work of Giambologna and symbol of the Papal city. On the same square stands the Re Enzo Palace, which in the 13thcentury became the prison for the son of Emperor Frederick II.
We will admire the 17thcentury Anatomical Theatre in the Archiginnasio Palace, ancient home of the University of Bologna "the learned", that shows on its walls one of most precious heraldry collection in the world.
A walk through the lively "quadrilateral", a market of medieval origin, will make us discover all the specialities of Bologna "the fat" and of the Food Valley of which is the capital. During the day is also possible to take a break for a tasting of typical products and of the local wine.
We reach the Two Towers, the real symbol of Bologna "the towered", that in the middle ages it numbered about a hundred, and we continue until the Romanesque complex of St. Stephen or The seven churches, also known as the Bologna Holy Jerusalem for its symbolic links to the places of Christ’s Passion.
After lunch, we can visit Saint Dominique's Church, with the Ark of the Saint, to which collaborated the young Michelangelo and with the Church of Santa Maria della Vita with the touching depiction of the "Sorrow over the Dead Christ" by Nicolò dell'Arca.
Instead of Saint Dominique's Church and the Church of Santa Maria della Vita, it is possible, after a walk through the Jewish Ghetto, to reach the heart of the modern University Area and visit the Church of San Giacomo Maggiore. This church was a place beloved by the Bentivoglio family, who ruled the city’s political scene in the 15thcentury, and here we can admire the chapel dedicated to them, decorated with frescoes by the artists of the Renaissance Bolognese School. The same artists realized the wonderful pictorial cycle of the adjoining oratory of Santa Cecilia, a 13thcentury church considered the “Sistine Chapel of Bologna”.
-Rental of headphones to visit the churches (mandatory for groups of more than 7 people, cost €1.50 per person).
-The entrance fee to The Anatomical Theater: €3 per person.
-The cost of transportation.