Map &

Been here?
Rate it

Top Tours

Bologna Private Walking Tour
"On this enchanting private walking tour through the city of Bologna you will visit numerous interesting and off-the-beaten-path places. The tour commences in the largest square Piazza Maggiore located in the ancient part of Bologna. Its medieval buildings have witnessed Bologna’s vibrant public life and intense economic activity for centuries. Nowadays these historical sites are combined with the latest functional places: Sala Borsa Public Library the Municipal offices shops and Cafés.A network of porticos along the streets of the center makes this city unique. Walking under the porticos
From EUR125.00
Bologna : a walk into history
"Enjoy a relaxing walking tour in Bologna city center full of history and charm thanks to its porticoes and medieval buildings.The tour can start in the morning or afternoon depending on your requests. You will meet your private guide in the city center (or at the station) and have a pleasant walk a visiting its main attactions. You will have a look at Piazza Maggiore with its important palaces and at via Rizzoli to understand the original plan of the city and how it has changed throughout history.Then stop at the Palazzo della Mercanzia and at the two medieval towers now symbol of the city. You will then visit the beautiful and peculiar Complex of Santo Stefano and the Church of Saint Petronius one of the biggest in Europe. The guide will take you into the narrow streets of the Jewish Quarter where the Jews were forced to live till the Italian Unification and then later during facism.Bologna is also the city where the first university was founded: visit the University Quarter and the Archiginnasio (once the main building of the Univer
From EUR100.00
Private Tour: Bologna Cycling Sightseeing Tour
"You'll also view the Medieval Market and Loggia Dei Mercanti the Anatomy Theatre (closed Saturday afternoon and Sunday) Basilica of San Petronio the Archiginnasio Two Towers and the Complex of Santo Stefano. Pedal the length of the ancient canal system you may just be surprised at how much water runs through Bologna! For those with a little extra time to explore the city an extended tour may include San Giacomo
From EUR99.00

Piazza Maggiore Tips (26)

Enjoy Bologna

The tourist office in the Piazza Maggiore organises a number of city tours, and although we usually prefer to explore on our own we decided to join the one they call “Enjoy Bologna”. This is described as “A tasty journey to discover the wine and food culture of Bologna, through the traditional flavours that made it world-famous.” This two hour walking tour is offered twice a week – on Fridays at 16.30 or Saturday at 10.15. It costs €25 per person, which may seem quite a lot, but that price includes a number of tasting opportunities as you will see.

We chose the Saturday morning tour and were surprised on arriving at the tourist office to find that we were the only people signed up that morning, so we got a very personal experience from our guide. She told us it is quite usual for this tour to have only a few people, and that makes it much pleasanter than the general city walking tour they offer which can attract quite a large group with all the challenges that brings of people staying together in the city crowds, hearing what is said and so on. We were also accompanied by another guide who was learning this tour.

Our tour started with a stroll along Via D'Azeglio, one of the best shopping streets in the city (and unusual for its lack of porticos). On the way our guide pointed out the former house of singer-songwriter Lucio Dalla, one of Bologna’s best-loved former sons, in the Piazza de' Celestini.

From here we made a visit to the famous chocolate shop Majani on Via de' Carbonesi, where we were told something of the history of this Bolognese institution and offered several of their specialities to sample (see separate tip). From there we went to the Quadrilatero where we stopped at number of shops to learn about local specialities such as tagliatelle with ragù and other pastas, mortadella, breads and cakes etc., as well as regional wines. Our guide showed us the oldest bar in the city, the Osteria del Sole, where Buffalo Bill apparently drank (in another separate tip). It was also from her that we learned about the free recipe book that was available from the Palazzo della Mercanzia (again, see separate tip), although we weren’t able to go inside that day as it is closed at weekends.

The tour ended at a typical Quadrilatero shop-come-restaurant where we had a glass of local wine (Pignoletto Frizzante white which was lovely, or Lambrusco) and a plate of cold meats and cheese, all included in the tour price (no need to buy lunch that day!). We were also given vouchers for free ice cream at la Torinesse by the Palazzo Re Enzo (which we used later that afternoon) and for coffees at le Terzi in Via Oberdan, which we didn't (we wanted to sit outside for coffee and it has no outdoor terrace).

I now want to tell you more about the delights of the Majani chocolate shop.

toonsarah's Profile Photo
Oct 11, 2015

Piazza Maggiore

Together with the adjacent Piazza del Nettuno and Piazza Re Enzo, Piazza Maggiore is the heart and salon of the city. The most important public buildings are grouped around it: Palazzo d’Accursio or Palazzo Communale as the centre of the magistrate, the ancient Palazzo Re Enzo and Palazzo del Podestà as seat of the mayor and governor, Sala Borsa as centre of economy, the main church of San Petronio, the Archiginnasio as first seat of the university, Palazzo dei Banchi as financial, Palazzo dei Notai as jurisdictional centre. The buildings tell of the power and wealth of the medieval and renaissance republic.

The statue of Pope Gregor XIII overlooks the square from the façade of Palazzo d’Accursio. Giambologna’s Neptun fountain (16th century) ornates the part of the square named Piazza del Nettuno in between Sala Borsa and Palazzo del Podestà.

Kathrin_E's Profile Photo
Jan 09, 2015

Bologna's heart is Piazza Maggiore

Piazza Maggiore is not only Bologna’s biggest square, it is also the one humming with life and activities, day and night (not that I can really judge the latter – I am not a nightlife person). In fact it is not only one piazza but two: Piazza del Nettuno to the north also somehow is part of this hustling and bustling centre. To the south is Bologna’s cathedral, Duomo San Petronino, to the west the municipality’s seat Palazzo Communale (Palazzo d’Accursio), to the north Palazzo del Podestà and to the east Palazzo dei Banchi. Piazza Maggiore is very large: 115 x 60 metres (approx. 380 x 200 ft) and surely among Italy’s larger piazza. When I was there in September 2014, vast renovation was going on: the cathedral’s steps were closed off except for the entrance area and Palazzo del Podestà was “bagged”. It all looked as if these renovations will take longer.

During my 2 ½ days in town I had other priorities than to pay visit to the various museums and rooms in the buildings surrounding the piazza (except the cathedral). Almost all buildings can be visited inside, especially the museums. This all will have to wait for my next time. Only one word about a specific statue above the door of Palazzo Communale: it is of Pope Gregorio XIII, the one who “invented” the Gregorian Calendar.

For those who are interested in visiting the buildings: Bologna’s website has further information about those, including the rooms and museums:
Palazzo d’Accursio or Communale,
Palazzo del Podestà,
Piazza Nettuno.

Location of Piazza Maggiore on Bing Maps.

© Ingrid D., October 2014 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

Trekki's Profile Photo
Oct 29, 2014

The statue of Gregory XIII

At the top of the main portal of the Palazzo Comunale is placed magnificent Pope Gregory XIII bronze statue, carved by Alessandro Sermenghi.
Pope Gregory XIII (1502-1585) born Ugo Boncompagni, was Pope from 1572 to 1585. He is best known for commisioning and being the namesake for the Gregorian Calendar. The chief architect in the process of reforming the calendar was Christopher Clavius, Jesuit priest and astronomer, who was credited by the Pope.
In the beginning, the switchover from Julian to Gregorian Calendar was bitterly opposed by much of the populace, who feared it was attempt by landlords to cheat them out of a week and a half's rent. The Catholic countries complied it soon but more than a century passed before Protestant Europe accepted the new calendar. The Gregorian Calendar, however, was not accepted in eastern Christendom for several hundred years, and then only as the civil calendar.
Gregory XIII was liberal patron of the recently formed Society of Jesus throughout Europe, for which he founded many new colleges. The Roman College of Jesuits became the most important centre of learning in Europe for a time, known as the University of the Nations. It is now named the Pontifical Gregorian University.
In many aspects, Pope Gregory XIII is one of the most significant popes in the history of Papacy.

croisbeauty's Profile Photo
Feb 19, 2013
Sponsored Listings

Hotels Near Piazza Maggiore

Via Marsala 11
Show Prices
Via Edoardo Weber 12, 40138
Show Prices
via Alessandro Algardi, 10, 40100
Show Prices
Via Nosadella, 15C, 40136
Show Prices
Via Alfonso Rubbiani n. 2, 40124
Show Prices
Via Francesco Barbieri 127, Quartiere Bolognina, 40129
Show Prices

Piazza Maggiore

Piazza Maggiore is in the center of the hisotrical town. Main events are often held here. Always full of people, both tourists and local.. young people seemed like to gather here.. especially around Fontana Nettuno.. and the staircase below Basilica San Petronio... It's a perfect spot to relax and people watching if that's your thing.. :)

sylina's Profile Photo
Feb 21, 2012

Piazza Maggiore

Bologna's central square, the Piazza Maggiore, is a good starting point for a walking tour of this city. The most prominent building here is the Palazzo del Podesta, which served as the seat of municipal government for centuries. The Arengo Tower stands over the great palace.

At the south side of the square is the Flemish Giambologna's statue of Neptune, Roman god of the sea (Poseidon to the Greeks).

The current town hall is in the Palazzo d'Accursio, completed in the 16th century. In front is a statue of Pope Gregory XIII.

On the north side of the piazza is the Basilica of St Petronius, begun in 1390 but never quite completed. Antonio di Vincenzo, the noted Bolognese architect, designed it to be even more imposing, but it was just too costly and time-consuming. It's still a masterpiece of Italian Gothic architecture.

Tom_Fields's Profile Photo
Jan 05, 2010

Basilica and Palazzi


Piazza Maggiore is Bologna's most famous square, featuring one of the world's largest basilicas and a selection of fine palazzi, which makes it an ideal starting point for a tour of the city.

It's all-pedestrian, and is also a lovely place for a cappuccino and a gelato, or ice cream


- Basilica di San Petronio
- Palazzo Comunale
- Palazzo del Re Enzo
- Palazzo del Podesta'

Maria81's Profile Photo
Jan 03, 2010

Piazza Maggiore

Bologna's main square, Piazza Maggiore, is both its geographic centre and its cultural and political heart. The spacious piazza began to take on its current shape in the 13th century, and soon afterwards, it found itself encircled by the city's most important edifices. For the first time visitor, standing in the middle of la Piazza, as it is referred to locally, and gazing at the impressive architecture surrounding it could be an overwhelming experience. On one side is the enormous, albeit unfinished Basilica di San Petronio, and on the other three sides are monumental public palaces: Palazzo d'Accursio, Palazzo del Podestà, and Palazzo dei Banchi. The impressive Piazza Maggiore is connected to another square, Piazza del Nettuno, which is marked by the famous statue of Neptune.

MM212's Profile Photo
Aug 05, 2009
croisbeauty's Profile Photo


View Member
ludogatto's Profile Photo


"My way to stay in Bologna!"
View Member
toonsarah's Profile Photo


"il gusto di Bologna"
View Member
Trekki's Profile Photo


"Bologna – Eat, look up, marvel, eat and savour"
View Member
leics's Profile Photo


"City of towers and arcades."
View Member

The centre of action

Piazza Maggiore is just that - the Large Square, the centre of action. This place is frequently referred to simply as La Piazza by the bolognesi, and it is hard to describe it as anything else than a large open urban space. The centre is too large and the buildings that surround it too far apart for the Piazza to be crowded by café tables, buskers and hawkers, which makes its a great place to simply take picture of the remarkable palazzi that surround it. To the south is San Petronio, to the north Palazzo della Podestà, to the east the Museo Civico Archeologico and to the West the Palazzo Comunale. The four buildings are not quite in the same style and represent different periods in the history of Bologna and architectural trends, which gives the visitor a great sense of the changes experienced in this city. Palazzo Nettuno is more likely the place to find displays or fairs - Palazzo Maggiore just seems too large to be anything other than a meeting place for individuals and private groups heading to one of the many cafés, restaurants and bars that line its edges.

mikey_e's Profile Photo
Aug 27, 2007

Piazza Maggiore

The centre piece of Bologna is the charismatic Piazza Maggiore. This magnificent square was created in 1200 and was the site of an ancient Roman Forum. These days it is lined with some of the city's most important buildings.

The most prominent of these is the Basilica di San Petronio, with its incomplete façade. The large basilica is a must see and there is no fee to enter.

Also on the square you will see the Palazzo Comunale, the city's town hall. Located on the western side of the square, this large fortress-like building was built in 1287 and has a lovely clock tower which was added in 1773. Inside the palazzo you can visit the Museo Morandi, which has a large collection of works by Giorgio Morandi, Bologna's most famous artist.

At the northern end of the square is the Palazzo del Podesta. If you walk under the arches, past the cafes, you will find a whispering gallery and a medieval tower.

Piazza Maggiore is a fabulous place to stop for a coffee and gelato, or a drink. Take some time to relax in one of the expensive cafes and watch the Italians do their thing. There is often some sort of street entertainers in the square to keep you amused too.

sue_stone's Profile Photo
Nov 15, 2006

Piazza Maggiore

It seems that everyone is doing something around Piazza Maggiore. There are tourist and also Bolognians. The square is for pedestrians only.

The Piazza Maggiore is surrounded by some of the city's most impressive medieval and Renaissance buildings and monuments.

Pomska's Profile Photo
Aug 07, 2005

Piazza maggiore

Here we go with the main sighseeing =).
the main Square "heart of the city" where you can find the main sights for your hungry eyes. Medieval buildings (Well, if you are lucky and won't get to Bologna at the time when they are mounting the open cinema in the main square ;)).

From here you can see fountain of Neptun, at the right from it - Palace of Accursio with few museums, in front of the square Basilica di S. Petronio, on the right from it Palazzo dei Notai, to the left - Palazzo dei Banchi. In front of Basilica or to the left of the fountain Palazzo re Enzo and Palazzo del Podestà here you'll find and tourist information. Ask the staff for a map of Bologna, they add quite useful short description of the main sigtseeing things.

vysnaite's Profile Photo
Apr 23, 2005

Things to Do Near Piazza Maggiore

Things to Do

Anatomical Wax Museum - Museo de Cere Anatomiche

This museum, housed in the University Anatomy Department, displays a collection of 19th century anatomical wax models by well-known modellers (Clemente Susini, Guiseppe Astorri and Cesare Bettini.)...
View More
Things to Do

Dante's Tomb

The poet Dante Alighieri died in Ravenna on the night of 13/14 September 1321 whilst in exile from Florence. The current tomb building was erected in 1780 at the request of Cardinal Legate Luigi...
View More
Things to Do

Torre Degli Asinelli

Torre Asinelli, the largest medieval tower, can be climbed. A perfect way to burn some of the calories that you have assembled sampling the local food specialities. I did that during my first visit so...
View More
Things to Do

Palazzo Grassi

Palazzo Grassi, together with Casa Isolani and Casa Reggiani, is one of the few surviving examples of Medieval urban configuration built in the 13th century Romanesque style. The portico in front is...
View More
Things to Do

Santuario della Beata Vergine di San Luca

“Upon another hill, stands the celebrated church of the Madonna di St. Luca, three miles from Bologna. A portico consisting of seven hundred arcades reaches from it to the gate of the city. The church...
View More
Things to Do

Museum Mineralogia

The imposing building of Museo di Mineralogia L,Bombicci concludes the sequence of the buildings on the right side of via Zamboni. Actually, it is located on the square opposite to Porta San...
View More

Getting to Piazza Maggiore


We don't yet have an address for this Things to Do. Help us improve our info!


We don't yet have hours for this Things to Do. Help us improve our info!