Bologna had quickly become one of my favourite cities that I have visited! The narrow porticos, and beautiful architecture have stunned me and left me with such a sweet taste, for which I most definitely would love to return.

We explored Bologna on our last day of the 4 day North Italy stay. I wish I had more time here (I am starting to see a common theme of wishing I had more time). I have compiled a list of FREE things to do in Bologna in a couple of hours. Bologna is a perfect in between; not too touristy but pretty enough to leave one mesmerised.

La Piccola Venezia

Bologna has a number of secret canals that I came across whilst browsing for things to do in Bologna. This canal, La Piccola Venezia is a little gem in the centre of Bologna. It’s not anything spectacular, compared to the canals of Venice but it is a heart-warming sight to see in the morning during a stroll.

It’s not hard to walk straight past it! There’s just a small window and when opened, there is a lovely view of the back of some houses and a murky canal. Opening the little window is quite therapeutic and a welcome surprise. Lovely sight, do try to visit when in Bologna.

Università di Bologna

Founded in 1088, the Università di Bologna is the oldest university in continuous operation in Europe. It was the first place of study to use the term universitas for the corporations of students and masters which came to define the institution, located in Bologna, Italy.

As an academic, I was really excited to visit this university. I love visiting universities around the world, the architecture is always so varied; it’s always interesting to see how students around the world operate. The interior of this university is breathtaking, intricate and truly mesmerising.

Entrance to the university is free, but there is a small cost of 3Euros to enter the anatomical theatre. The theatre is completely carved from spruce with its imposing marble table still in position before the teacher’s chair. This university is definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in academia, or even early century architecture.


I don’t think I need to introduce this really. Italian gelato is Italian gelato, speaks for itself. Although it was cold, we couldn’t give gelato a miss and came across this small place when walking towards the station.


The porticos of Bologna, as Unesco “world heritage site”, make the city of Bologna unique in the world. Lights and shadows, deep architectural perspectives, different columns and capitals create fascinating and extraordinary urban images. The porticos were built to protect students and the public from the rain, and to allow them to walk from one building to the next whilst completely sheltered.

Before arriving in Bologna, I didn’t realise quite how many porticos, and how long they went on for. It was quite amazing that we could stroll for more than an hour, solely through porticos!

Towers of Bologna

The Towers of Bologna are a group of medieval structures in Bologna The two most prominent ones, known as the Two Towers, are the landmark of the city. We were in Bologna on a Sunday and so many tourist attractions were closed. On other days, it is possible to climb one of the towers, as it is currently a B&B.

Bologna completely exceeded all expectations I had for it. I really enjoyed strolling around in Bologna; it wasn’t too crowded with tourists, but also being a nice city with lots of sights. I would definitely return here in the future during the warmer months.

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