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Fountain of Neptune, Bologna

Fountain of Neptune, Bologna: Our most recommended tours and activities

Bologna: City Center Walking Tour

1. Bologna: City Center Walking Tour

Take a classic walking tour through the streets of the Bologna city center. With this guided tour, discover the history of Bologna and its major cultural attractions. Make stops at the Asinelli tower, Neptune fountain, and the Basilica of San Petronio. Meet your guide and walk through the city streets admiring the architecture and discovering the most-famous cultural attraction. See the towers of Bologna and marvel at their height and significance. Then, stroll through the Quadrilatero Market, and learn important historical facts. Make a wish at the Neptune fountain and see if it comes true. Then, gaze at the Basilica of San Petronio, as your guide shares its story and welcomes you into the city of Bologna.

Bologna: Old Town Hidden Gems Exploration Game

2. Bologna: Old Town Hidden Gems Exploration Game

Be led on an exciting self-guided tour around Bologna's Old Town while playing a mobile-based quest with your friends and family. Solve clues and discover the fascinating history behind the monuments and attractions. Download the app, go to the starting point, and begin the adventure. Follow clues that will take you back in time to learn about the origins of some of the city's most iconic buildings and tourist sites. Here's a sneak peek at the storyline: “You’re an emerging writer from London, whose debut novel was a success. But now writers’ block has struck. The year is 1815. [...] In your despair, you’ve come to Bologna. You heard the city’s many secrets and artistic flair inspire many artists. You hope to be next...." Unlock the secret stories of the places you visit as you solve the problem and guess the answers. Learn about the seven secrets that cloak Bologna in mystery, the streets of the Quadrilatero, and more. Use the clues to lead you from one site to another. Each clue provides you with exact directions so you won't need a map, GPS, or guide. Complete the tour in about 1.5 hours, however, there’s no time limit, allowing you to go at your own pace. Play as a group or split into smaller groups/teams and compete against the others. Each person can also play on their own, separate from the group, and meet the group at the end of the tour.

Bologna: Ancient and Recent History Self-Guided Audio Tour

3. Bologna: Ancient and Recent History Self-Guided Audio Tour

Bologna is home to some of the best food, the most sublime beauty, and the richest history in all of Italy. Yet it’s rarely on the tourist radar. On this walking tour, award-winning author Frank Bures will give you a taste of authentic Italian culture, show you the city’s many historical sites, and tell you the stories most travelers don’t hear. Throughout the walk, he’ll share anecdotes from the time he spent in Bologna as an exchange student in the 1990s, where he came of age as a global citizen. Starting at the Neptune Fountain, you’ll walk through Piazza Maggiore to San Petronio Basilica where you’ll see the world’s largest sundial. You’ll then make your way to the Two Towers, one of which garnered a mention in Dante’s Inferno, and stroll beneath the famous porticos that became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2021. En route to the city’s culinary epicenter, the Quadrilatero, he’ll show you where the 1902 murder that dominated world headlines for three years took place. He’ll also tell you about the case of a 1980 train station bombing by right-wing terrorists that killed 85 people, before you walk back to San Petronio to learn about Michelangelo’s lost statue of Pope Julius II. Finally, you’ll loop past Piazza Galvani to hear about scientific experiments that electrified frogs before heading back where you started. Along the way, you’ll also have the chance to: • Hear about the different Italian dialects Frank encountered while studying here, including Bolognese • See the Roxy Bar, which was featured in the Italian superstar Vasco Rossi’s song Vita Spericolata (The Reckless Life) • Discover how the world’s oldest university got its start • Take in the “Seven Churches” of Santo Stefano • Find out how an ancient painting once saved the city • Learn the secret to cooking good Italian food • Be transported back to the time Aerosmith visited the city • Relive the glory of Bologna’s canals which once rivaled Venice’s • Understand why the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio called Niccolò dell’Arca’s Lamentation for the Dead Christ sculpture a “scream in stone” Join Frank Bures for this lighthearted 60-minute stroll through the ancient – and more recent – past of Bologna, a place that art critic John Berger once called “an improbable city.” PHOTO CREDITS: Photos of San Luca, Piazza Maggiore, Piazza Maggiore at night, Neptune at night, Santo Stefano and “Speaking Bolognese" courtesy of Bologna Welcome. All other photos by the author.

From Milan: Parma and Bologna Private Day Trip

4. From Milan: Parma and Bologna Private Day Trip

Enjoy a Private Tour of Parma and Bologna from Milan for twelve hours with a private tour guide for two hours in each city and a private luxury vehicle with a chauffeur that will pick you up and drop you off from your hotel in Milan. Once your private chauffeur has picked you up, besides your private tour guide you will go ahead to your first destination. You will discover Parma, a city in the north of Italy that has remarkable medieval architecture and beautiful forests surrounding it. Your private tour guide will show you the tourist attractions of the city such as the cathedral with Romanesque style, the opera house Teatro, the Baptistery with Romanesque and Gothic styles and much more. When you finish visiting Parma you will go ahead to your destination, Bologna which is one of the best-preserved historic cities and has one of the largest medieval old towns in Europe. You will visit as well the tourist attractions of Bologna such as the two medieval famous towers, the Piazza Maggiore, the Basilica of San Petronio known for being one of the largest churches in existence, the basilica of San Francisco known for being a Gothic church and much more. After visiting the two cities, your private chauffeur will drop you off at your hotel in Milan or your place of preference inside the city.

Bologna: Self-Guided Historical Audio Tour

5. Bologna: Self-Guided Historical Audio Tour

Explore the reasons behind the many names of Bologna. Admire the red roofs of the city that are the reason for it being called "the red city." Feast on the delectable cuisine that gives Bologna the name "the fat city." Marvel at the forest of over 100 towers that once dotted the landscape of the city, also known as "the towered." Walk the ground of the world's oldest university, the reason that Bologna is sometimes referred to as "the cultured". Learn about each facet of the city on this walking tour, as well as its history and stories, like how the rebellious Bolognese stopped the city from becoming the Vatican. Discover how the Fountain of Neptune's sculptor got away with making Neptune seem particularly well-endowed despite prohibition from the church while at the Piazza del Nettuno. Gaze up at the Whispering Gallery under the Torre dell Arengo while being told about how star-crossed lovers were able to murmur sweet nothings to each other without their other romantic partners knowing. Hear about the legends of Le Tre Frecce and catch a glimpse of how Bologna once resembled Venice with its network of canals and rivers while passing Canale delle Moline. Then, walk down Via Indipendenza and see what it would have been like in the post-Risorgimento period. Have the opportunity to see San Petronio, the largest and most important church of the city before strolling down Via Rizzoli, named after a 19th-century physician. Hear about Giuseppe Garibaldi, the hero of two countries. Pass by Il Pincio, the entrance to Parco della Montagnola, a French style garden commissioned by Napoleon. Take in Garisenda and Asinelli, Bologna’s Two Towers. Stand beside Porta Galliera, where a retreating Austrian army left the city following a rebellion by the Bolognese in 1848. Learn about the city’s history from the Etruscans and the Lombards, including the chaotic factional fighting between the Guelphs and Ghibellines. Discover the Quadrilatero neighbourhood with its cafes and restaurants, and find out about the seven churches of Santo Stefano. Finally, explore the culinary wonders of the city responsible for iconic dishes like lasagna, ragu, and tagliatelle. These recipes were born and fiercely guarded in the chamber of commerce. Then see the cafés, restaurants and shops where you can allow your tummy and taste buds to be tempted by these culinary marvels.

Milan: Private Day Trip to Bologna with Sightseeing Tour

6. Milan: Private Day Trip to Bologna with Sightseeing Tour

Explore the monuments and charming corners of the medieval town of Bologna on this full-day tour from Milan. See sights like the Basilica of San Petronio, the Fountain of Neptune, and the first University of Bologna on a guided tour. Have some free time where you can try some local cuisine. Be picked up from your destination in Milan and travel aboard a car for groups of up to 3, a van for groups up to 6, and a bus for groups of up to 19. Relax on the scenic drive to Bologna. Meet your guide and begin your tour. Visit Piazza Maggiore square at the historical and geographical center of Bologna. Take in its medieval style and see the the Basilica of San Petronio which was built in1390 and where the coronation of Charles V took place. View the Fountain of Neptune which was created in 1563 by Tommaso Lauretti. Discover the first University of Bologna, which is considered the oldest university in the world that is still functioning. It is believed to have been founded in 1088 by Irnerius. It attracts many students from Italy and all over the world which lends a vibrancy to the city. Go by the Quadrilateral market, the Asinelli and Garisenda towers, the Archiginnasio Palace, and the Romanesque architecture of the Basilica di San Domenico. Spend some free time exploring the city at your own pace and have the chance to purchase some delicious local cuisine. Return to your meeting point in Milan at the end of your tour.

Other Sightseeing Options in Fountain of Neptune, Bologna

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What people are saying about Fountain of Neptune, Bologna

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 622 reviews

We had a lovely day and couldn’t have asked for better weather or a guide in Pablo. Infact the entire team of Albero, Esther, Pablo and the driver Antonio made this experience so much fun and memorable. We also loved hearing Pablo’s stories and the history of the region during the hike. Would highly recommend to those who want to see!

This is such an affordable way to see a city. The tour was interesting, hit so many major spots. The directions are actually so clear and easy to follow you rarely need to look at the map, if ever. Would definitely recommend as a great way of seeing so much of the city and learning more than you would just read in a guide book!

Wow! I never knew there was so much unique and interesting history living side-by-side in Bologna! Alberto really made this city come to life in stories!

An excellent walking tour in the centre of Bologna, very well organised with an exceedingly knowledgeable guide, fantastic value for money.

Very knowledgeable guide. Easy to understand her English.