Let’s be honest, the top reasons why students decide to study in Italy are art, culture, and food. If you are studying in Bologna, here is a list of The Top 10 Things to Do as a Student in Bologna.
1. Visit the two Towers of Bologna
Between 1109 and 1119, two of the most prominent families of Bologna allegedly constructed the Asinelli and the Garisenda towers as a competition. Nowadays, they are a symbol of the city and one of the main meeting points for people.
Although the Garisenda tower is closed to the public, you can still climb up the Asinelli one. But be careful, according to the legend, students going up the tower are never going to graduate. So, be sure to hold your degree before visiting it.
A booking is required and visits start at 10:00. The cost of the ticket is 5 €.
2. Enjoy a panoramic view of the city from San Petronio’s Cathedral
If you still want to enjoy a panoramic view of the city without risking your degree, you have to climb up San Petronio’s Cathedral. This cathedral is one of the largest in the world, and although constructions began in 1390, it is still unfinished.
San Petronio’s Cathedral stands on Piazza Maggiore. You can visit San Petronio’s Cathedral on Saturdays and Sundays. The cost of the ticket is 5 €.
3. Visit the Hidden Canals
Did you know that Bologna is a city on water? Yes, you heard that right!
During the Middle Ages, Bologna was one of the main cities for commercial trades and canals were necessary to transport goods. As a result, the city created five canals that are still flowing underground. Unfortunately, most of these canals nowadays are not visible because the city was later constructed above them. If you want to time travel, go to the Finestrella di Via Piella, have a look at the canal, and then close your eyes while listening carefully. You’ll hear the relaxing gurgling of water and it will be like going back to that bustling city of trade.
You can visit Finestrella di Via Piella for free.
4. Go to a Tandem Language Meeting at The Cluricaune Irish Pub
Students go abroad to learn new languages, make new friends, and have the time of their life. It might be hard to find new friends but tandem language meetings are the perfect occasion to make friends.
If you are interested in finding a new Spanish friend to share a cerveza or an Italian one to share crescentine, you have to go to one – or more if you like – of the tandem language meetings at The Cluricaune Irish Pub. It is an event organized by students for students every Tuesday in one of the most iconic Irish Pubs in the city. The event starts at 21:00. Don’t be scared to go on your own, by the end of the night you will have tons of friends.
If you want to surprise your new friends with your language abilities, go over to Vocapp or download the app from the Apple Store or the Play Store to learn new words.
5. Find the Three Arrows
Once there was a beautiful noblewoman accused of adultery by her husband. As a punishment, he sent three archers to kill her. When they found the woman, she exposed herself, and the men were so captivated by her beauty that the arrows were mistakenly shot to the ceiling of the house.
Don’t worry, you are not reading some strange tale but the legend behind the three arrows at Casa Isolani. Nobody knows the real story behind those three arrows and there are many versions of the legend. They are quite hard to see and not a lot of tourists know of their existence.
To visit Casa Isolani take Strada Maggiore once you are under the two towers, and after about 250 meters, you will find it on the right. Chances are, you will find people already looking up to try and spot them.
6. Walk under the Porticoes of San Luca
One of the main symbols of Bologna are the porticoes running all around the city. You can admire them on any given day and they tell of the long story of this marvelous Italian city.
But if you want to spend a relaxing day and go outside the city to enjoy some nature, you should check out the porticoes of San Luca, the longest portico in the world. It was built between 1674 and 1793 and consists of 666 arches. If you walk under the porticoes, you will arrive at the top of Colle della Guardia, a hill used as a place of worship, in two hours.
Start your journey from Porta Saragozza and follow the porticoes up until the hill. Make sure to carry water and some snacks.
7. Visit the Certosa Cemetery
We know that this might not be for the faint of heart, but if you want to pay your respect to those who have made history, you have to visit the Certosa Cemetery. It is a Monumental Cemetery established in 1801, but until 1797 it served as a monastery.
At the Certosa Cemetery lay singers such as Lucio Dalla. You can also find Giosuè Carducci, a famous poet, and Ferruccio Lamborghini, the inventor of the Lamborghini luxury sports cars.
The Certosa Cemetery is located just outside the walls of the city. You can easily arrive there by bus. The entrance is free.
8. The Path of Gods
If you are into hiking, we suggest checking out the Path of Gods, or Via degli Dei, in Italian. The Path of Gods is a hiking trail going from Bologna to Florence through four hills, each one named after one of the Gods of mythology.
The trail goes across one of the most beautiful sceneries in Italy and has become one major attraction. The whole trip takes about 5 days.
9. Enjoy tortellini, passatelli, and tagliatelle
Italy is known for its tasty cuisine, and in Bologna you can find some of the best plates. The oldest and most typical restaurants and cafés can be found in the district known as Quadrilatero, which is considered to be one of the most important ancient markets. Tortellini, passatelli, and tagliatelle are the signature dishes of the city.
Don’t forget to try mortadella, a type of luncheon meat invented in the city.
10. Take a day trip from Bologna
Bologna is an amazing city with a lot to offer, but you should not miss your chance to visit the surrounding cities.
Take a day trip to Modena if chocolate is your one true love. If you are into literature, consider going to Ravenna. Here you can find the tomb of Dante Alighieri, the famous writer of The Divine Comedy.