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Piazza Maggiore

Piazza Maggiore: Our most recommended tours and activities

Bologna: City Center Walking Tour

1. Bologna: City Center Walking Tour

Your tour starts from Piazza del Nettuno. You'll discover the Piazza Maggiore and the Basilica of San Petronio and the Meridian. Next visit the oldest library in the world and Piazza Santo Stefano, where you'll see the wonderful Basilica that overlooks the square. Then visit the Towers of Bologna, the Asinelli and the Garisenda, before you explore the historical market Quadrilatero to admire the historical shops and take in the scents of local food. Finally, visit Palazzo Re Enzo which overlooks the square and is the palace seat of the municipality.

From Bologna: Train to San Luca Basilica & Food Tasting

2. From Bologna: Train to San Luca Basilica & Food Tasting

The Basilica of San Luca is one of the symbols of the city of Bologna. Situated on the Monte Guardia, the Sanctuary connects to the city center through the longest continuous portico in the world, made up of 666 arcades. At the meeting point, you'll receive a map and a timetable of the return train, which is available every 45 minutes. You’ll also receive a voucher for the food tasting. This tour departs every day and will help you discover the city from aboard the San Luca Express train, where the audio guides, available in 8 languages, will tell you about the city until your arrival at the Basilica of San Luca. Here, you can visit the Basilica at your own pace and decide what time to return by consulting the schedules on the map. On board, you will find a staff person, who will welcome you and respond to your information. When you return, you will get to taste of typical products in one of the historical markets.  

Bologna: Red Bus City Tour and Local Food Tasting

3. Bologna: Red Bus City Tour and Local Food Tasting

Discover Bologna in comfort via an open top bus, enabling you to admire and photograph all the major attractions of the city.  Upon arriving at the meeting point, staff will welcome you onboard. Choose from an audioguide available in 10 different languages to learn more about the specific landmarks as well as the general history of the city. You will then journey across the city, capturing views of some of the most famous points of interest. Hop on and off at your leisure at some popular spots such as: • Basilica San Petronio • Palazzo dei Notai • Palazzo Comunale • Palazzo di Re Enzo • Palazzo del Podestà, • Tower of Asinelli and Garisenda • Museo Civico Archeologico • Archiginnasio • Palazzo Bevilacqua • Porta Saragozza • Palazzo Bentivoglio • Fontana del Nettuno • Teatro Comunale. After the tour, enjoy a food tour in a historical market in Bologna, where you will try local delicacies.

Best of Italy: 5-Day Escorted Tour from Rome

4. Best of Italy: 5-Day Escorted Tour from Rome

Over the course of five days, visit the most enchanting locations of Italy, soaking up art, culture, cuisine and the famous Italian romance. Led by a friendly guide, depart from Rome and visit Assisi, Siena, Florence, Pisa, Bologna, Padova, Venice and Montepulciano. See masterpieces from the likes of Michelangelo, Giotto, and Cimabue. Roam ancient cobbled streets, marvel at magnificent cathedrals, and taste delightful wines. This tour aims to inform and entertain you at the same time. Staying in comfy accommodation and traveling by deluxe bus, touring Italy couldn’t be easier. With 4 meals provided for you, plus an excellent itinerary and knowledgeable guides, sit back, relax and "get Italian". Day 1 Depart from Rome at 7:15 AM heading towards Assisi. Explore this tiny town dating back to the Middle Ages. Visit the Basilica of St. Francis and see works by Giotto and Cimabue. Afterwards drive towards Siena, whose highlight is Piazza del Campo. Continue to Florence where you will check in at your hotel before enjoying dinner (included) and a well-deserved night of rest. Day 2: Florence After breakfast, spend the day exploring Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance. Visit the Duomo, the Campanile Tower, Palazzo Vecchio and the Basilica of Santa Croce. Lunch (for free) in a typical Tuscan restaurant in Piazza Santa Croce. In the afternoon, wander the cobbled streets or take a short, optional trip to Pisa where you could enjoy a tour of the Square of Miracles, the Leaning Tower and the Duomo. Dinner is at your leisure. Back in Florence rest in your hotel and recharge your batteries for the next day. Day 3 Depart for Bologna after breakfast in Florence. Wander through the city’s 38 kilometers' worth of elegant arcades, for which it is famous. From Piazza Malpighi, walk to Piazza del Nettuno and Piazza Maggiore in the heart of the city. In the afternoon, continue towards Padova, with its original Sant’Antonio Basilica. Later, you will arrive in Venice, famous for its quaint gondola boats and intricate architecture. Check in at your hotel and enjoy your first Venetian dinner (included) and overnight stay. Day 4: Venice Hit the water and board a private waterbus to enjoy a cruise through the canals of Venice. Stop off at Murano to learn about the ancient art of glass blowing. Continue on to St. Mark’s Square for an exterior visit of the splendid cathedral. See the Doge Palace and the Bridge of Sighs. Enjoy a spritz or Prosecco with your guide to cap off a day of discovery. Spend the afternoon roaming along Venice’s canals at your leisure and then return to the hotel and overnight. Day 5 After breakfast, departure from Piazzale Roma heading to Tuscany, world-known for its landscapes, its churches, castles and its delicious wines. Proceed to Val di Chiana with a stop in Montepulciano, a medieval town rich in history and art. Known for its “Noble” wine, on purchase in local wine houses, Montepulciano also hosts an annual jazz and wine festival every July. Lunch in a typical restaurant included! Spend the afternoon discovering Montepulciano at your own pace, enjoying free wine tastings in many wine shops and free time for shopping. In the evening, you will arrive in Rome, where the tour ends.

Venice: Day Trip to Verona by Train with Guided Walking Tour

5. Venice: Day Trip to Verona by Train with Guided Walking Tour

Dig deeper into Italy's culture and history with a trip from Venice to Verona. Travel by train with a guide and go on a walking tour of Verona’s main sights, such as Ponte Pietra over the Adige River, a Roman amphitheater, Lamberti Tower, and more. Depart from Venice by train accompanied by a guide. Upon arrival in Verona, follow your guide on a walking route to reflect on the artistic and architectural legacy of the Roman, Renaissance, and medieval times. Walking on the cobbled streets of Verona's UNESCO-listed historic center, observe what the daily life of its inhabitants looks like. Pass by top attractions including Piazza delle Erbe, Porta dei Borsari, Lamberti Tower, and the Verona Arena in Piazza Bra. End the walking tour by the Adige River, at the Ponte Pietra. Then, enjoy free time to explore Verona on your own. You can walk along the riverbank, take photos of its colorful streets, or enjoy an Italian aperitif (at your own expense). At the end of the tour, make a return journey back to Venice by train.

Bologna: Private Walking Tour with a Guide

6. Bologna: Private Walking Tour with a Guide

Explore all the major highlights of the picturesque city of Bologna on a walking tour. See the stunning architecture and vibrant atmosphere of the city with an expert guide. Discover the central square of Bologna, the Piazza Maggiore with many medieval buildings surrounding it. Visit the iconic Basilica of San Petronio, Palazzo d'Accursio and the Palazzo del Podestà. Take a stroll through the lively streets and see remains from the past periods in Bologna. Admire the beauty of the Fountain of Neptune with the precious late Renaissance sculptures by Giambologna. Continue to the university district and see the main buildings like the Aechiginnasio Library and the Palazzo Poggi. Next, stroll through the picturesque alleys of the Mercato di Mezzo, the old market, and its fabulous food shops. Explore the narrow streets admire the tiny windows typical of the houses in this part of the city. Pop into the Quadrilatero, a bustling area of the town, and explore the unique ancient shops of the city. Your guide will tell you about the town's unique way of life. Take advantage of this tour to visit one of the most beautiful cities in the whole of Italy. Enjoy the richness of culture and history of the picturesque town on a walking tour. 

Bologna: 2-Hour Private Guided Walking Tour

7. Bologna: 2-Hour Private Guided Walking Tour

Take advange of this tour lead by an expert guide to visit one of the most beautiful (and rich in history) cities of the whole Italy. The itinerary starts with Piazza Maggiore and its civic palaces, all of medieval origins: Palazzo di Re Enzo, Palazzo of the Notaries, Palazzo dei Banchi. In the square is also the Fountain of Neptune, with the precious late Renaissance sculptures by Giambologna; you'll then visit the gothic Basilica of San Petronio (on the façade, sculptures by the Sienese artist Jacopo della Quercia): inside, the precious late gothic paintings of the Cappella Bolognini and the sun-dial designed by the astronomer Cassini (XVII century).  Walking along the Pavaglione Portico and its elegant shops, you'll reach the 16th century Archiginnasio Palace, the old University building, decorated with about 6.000 coats of arms of students. Inside is the 17th century Anatomical Theater, where dissections were held, enriched of statues of doctors and sculptures of anatomy. Through the picturesque alleys of the Mercato di Mezzo, the old market, and its fabulous food shops you'll get to the lovely Square of Santo Stefano, with the complex of Santo Stefano also called the “Jerusalem of Bologna” or “The Seven Churches”, a group of small Romanesque churches.

Bologna: Cathedral of San Petronio Tour & Panoramic Terrace

8. Bologna: Cathedral of San Petronio Tour & Panoramic Terrace

The Basilica of San Petronio is the largest church in Bologna. It dominates the Piazza Maggiore and, despite being largely unfinished, it is one of the most extensive churches in Europe. Its imposing dimensions (132 meters long and 60 in width, with a height of 44.27 meters) makes it the fourth-largest church of Italy. In the Basilica of San Petronio, it is impossible not to know what time it is. In place of a clock though, the structure houses the longest sundial in the world. It measures 67 meters and crosses the floor of the church since 1657. It was Domenico Cassini who made it; a professor of astronomy, who believed that the motion of the planets depended on the sun.  With this guided tour, discover the beauty and history of this church. Afterwards, take the elevator to the magical panoramic terrace and relish in city views as far as you can see.

Bologna: Old Town Hidden Gems Exploration Game

9. 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: Guided Walking Tour

10. Bologna: Guided Walking Tour

Discover the historic sights of Bologna, starting on Piazza Maggiore where landmarks include the Fountain of Neptune and the Palazzo del Podestà. Learn why the city is known as "La Dotta" ("The Learned"), "La Grassa" ("The Fat") and "La Rossa" ("The Red"). See the medieval Torre Galluzzi and look inside the unique anatomical theater at the Archiginnasio. Stroll along Via Farini and walk to the magnificent porticoes of Piazza Santo Stefano. Discover the covered passageway of the Court Isolani on the way to Via Strada Maggiore. Chat to the locals in the Mercato di Mezzo about why food is so important in Bologna.

Other Sightseeing Options in Piazza Maggiore

Want to discover all there is to do in Piazza Maggiore? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Piazza Maggiore

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 395 reviews

Guide was extremely knowledgeable and was able to answer any questions asked. There was one awkward moment on the tour where customer was aggressive and tour guide dealt with them very politely and professionally. I highly recommend this tour!

The guide was wonderful; she was local and knowledgeable. It was evident that she had the job because she loved the city of Bologna and wanted to share it with travelers.

Very interesting family visit to the historic center of Bologna. Our guide was very friendly and very professional. We can only recommend this activity

Absolutely awesome. The guide was great and I saw things I would have usually accidentally walked past. Thanks for a great time

Very informative. and interesting. Even mine 5years old was able to walk it through.