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Elegant terracotta coloured buildings arc around peaceful pedestrianised squares, also home to some of Italy’s best trattorias and restaurants. Their famous covered porticos create a romantic effect along the historic grid of the city which dates from the medieval period. Many of the best places to stay in Bologna can be found on this grid, but if your idea of the best places to stay in Bologna is a bit more modern, then you’ll find something in the edgier parts of town around the world’s oldest university.
Despite its beautifully preserved historic centre, and penchant for wonderfully traditional cuisine, Bologna is thought of as a progressive city and if you enjoy political or philosophical debate then this town is for you.
Bologna is a great city for getting around on foot, there are just so many beautiful things to see. You’ll also see a lots of bikes.
The sights you might want to walk between include
- the Museo della Storia di Bologna, which is inside a beautiful palace, and uses super modern technology to deliver fascinating information about Bologna’s past;
- the Abbazia di Santo Stefano, which is a religious building, but an architectural marvel as well, with its labyrinth of structures connecting four separate churches.
- Bologna’s Gothic Basilica is an amazing unfinished masterpiece, it was begun in 1390 and is still unfinished, but despite that its almost 70metre sundial was instrumental in discovering the anomalies of our calendar and lead to the decision to create the leap year.
- And the Teatro Anatomico is a 17th Century medical theatre where people came to watch bodies being dissected.
- And then there are the numerous museums, art museums - both modern and traditional - and palaces.
- Bologna also has a Ducati Museum.
As far as starting your explorations go, start on the Via Rizzoli or the Piazza Maggiore, and don’t skip the Fountain of Neptune or the any of the 666 porticoes, which begin at the Porta Saragozza at the end of the Via Saragozza. If you’re looking for a lively cafe or bar head to the 900 year old University Quarter around Via Zamboni.
Don't forget this is a busy city year round, for both business and leisure travellers. So if you want to secure a room in one of the best places to stay in Bologna, get organised and book ahead.
For a city centre location
- In the pedestrianised part of the city, the Hotel Orologio is a traditional Italian hotel with opulent decor and large windows, There are 34 individually designed rooms, some of them within view of the Piazza Maggiore and the Clock Tower.
- The Hotel Commercianti is a 35 room hotel in the heart of Bologna. Expect plenty of character and original features - including beamed ceilings and a fresco or two, and each room is individually designed and decorated. They serve hearty breakfasts which are included in the price.
Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Bologna for you? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Bologna, widen the net to include all our Emilia Romagna recommendations or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice.
Best Hotels in Bologna
I Portici 89 rooms from $81Bologna
Behind its very grand grey and pink facade, sheltered by the vaults of Bologna's famed arcades, (from which it takes its name) I Portici looks promisingly stylish from the moment you enter its huge, atrium-style lobby. Surprisingly good value for money and very convenient for exploring the city.Restaurant - Michelin starred restaurantSights nearby - Bologna Towers, Piazza Maggiore and historic Quadrilatero diistrict, all nearbyDesigner - Uniquely designed interiors.Recommended by - Small Luxury Hotels
Art Hotel Novecento 25 rooms from $103Bologna
Art Hotel Novecento enjoys a great location right in the centre of Bologna, overlooking a quiet, largely traffic-free square. Individually decorated rooms are styled in a contemporary fashion whilst some include their own private balconies. A conveniently located and hip spot for a city stay.Sights nearby - Be sure to head to Bologna's Towers just a 5 minute walk away and the hotel's also less than a mile from Via IndipendenzaLocal markets - The Mercato di Mezza is a must see with its variety of food stalls and electric atmosphere
Hotel Porta San Mamolo 28 rooms from $107Bologna
Located in a quiet location ten minutes outside Bologna's centre. Featuring spacious, elegantly decorated rooms with period wallpaper and exposed beams. Be sure to enjoy the buffet breakfast served each morning before going off exploring. An intimate and traditional city spot.Value chic - A quaint stay with a great price tagLocal markets - Head to the Mercato di Mezza to check out the wonderful array of food at their stalls and experience the lively atmosphereSights nearby - The Church San Domenico, Via Indipendenza and Palazzo Comunale are all situates less than a mile awayFull of character
Hotel Corona d'Oro 40 rooms from $170Bologna
This luxurious hotel is situated in Bologna's city centre a short distance away from the sights. It features beautiful, elegantly decorated rooms and suites whilst the communal areas have stunning traditionally Italian decor. Make use of the free bikes to get to know Bologna. A classy city stay.City Style - With its central location in the heart of Bologna you're in an ideal spot from which to explore the cityLocal exploring - The hotel's in a pedestrian-only zone so you can easily wander around and get to know your surroundingsSights nearby - Less than a mile away from the Bologna Towers, Piazza Maggiore and the Basilica of San Petronio-ideal for a spot of sightseeingLocal markets - Visit Mercato di Mezza to indulge in the wonderful food their stalls sell and experience the lively atmosphereRecommended by - CN Traveller
Hotel Commercianti 35 rooms from $210Bologna
A characterful property located in the heart of Bologna. Individually styled rooms are traditional in style with beamed ceilings, chintz fabrics and some feature frescoes. Hearty breakfasts served. An ideal base for city exploring.Local exploring - Located right in the heart of Bologna and bikes are even provided to make city exploration even easier.Local markets - Wander the streets of the Quadrilatero, the medieval market, where you can sample local delicacies.Sights nearby - Located next to the San Petronio Basilica and the Fountain of Neptune.Cooking classes - Learn how to make regional dishes at “Il salotto di Penelope”.
Hotel Orologio 34 rooms from $225Bologna
An excellently located property in the pedestrianised area of Bologna. Individually designed rooms, traditional in style, with typical Italian opulance. Heavy draped curtains, warm hues and large sash windows. Bicycles for hire to whizz around the city. An ideal base for exploring the city.Local exploring - Well situated overlooking Bologna's historic centre and walking distance from many of its sights.Sights nearby - The Piazza Maggiore and Clock Tower are just steps from the hotel.Full of characterViews - Great views from hotel
Grand Hotel Majestic 109 rooms from $262Bologna
This velvet-lined 18th century palace is situated right in the heart of Bologna. Rooms and suites are decorated in an opulent, elegant manner and some adorned with unique frescoes. The restaurant serves traditional regional dishes and has an excellent wine list. An upmarket stay.Local exploring - Being only 800 feet from Piazza Maggiore and Bologna's Two Towers there's no excuse to not indulge in a little sightseeing!Romantic Break - Feel like royalty in their palatial rooms and spend the day leisurely wandering around beautiful Bologna togetherCity Style - The hotel enjoys a wonderful location right in the heart of BolognaLocal markets - Be sure to visit the Mercato di Mezza to experience its lively energy and try some of the delicious food being sold