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Two days in Bologna in May - Things to See?

Two days in Bologna in May - Things to See?

Jan 24th, 2016, 02:44 AM
  #1  
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Two days in Bologna in May - Things to See?

...well, actually three nights, but the bulk of one day will be a day-trip to Ravenna.

FYI: Wife and I are arriving on a morning train from Venice and departing on an early morning Air France flight to CDG -- got a $43 fare. Staying three nights at the Hotel Internazionale.

I'd appreciate any suggestions for things to see and do during our two days (more like 1.5 days) in Bologna.

The Bologna tourism site has a number of good-looking walks, so I'd like to narrow it down, based on some of your recommendations.

We like art, history, architecture, parks and just wandering around interesting neighborhoods. We're not really foodies, so cheap eats recommendations are welcome.

We usually like to visit a museum of the city, if there is one (think Carnavalet in Paris), though my Italian is not great, so if such a museum only has descriptions in Italian, that could be a minor problem.

Thanks, Fodorites, for any and all suggestions.

ssander
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Jan 24th, 2016, 07:08 AM
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From March thru November, the City Red Bus is available from Pza. Maggiore in the center up to San Luca. Doesn't run on Tuesdays. The 2016 schedule isn't posted yet, but it's the same as 2015 - March thru November. You can take it back down, or walk back.

http://cityredbus.com/en/san-luca-express/
Holly_uncasdewar is offline  
Jan 24th, 2016, 09:17 AM
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Holly...

Thanks for the tip about San Luca...look really good (though I'll probably just take the regular bus). Also, there is a tapestry museum on the way. The website says it is closing July 2105 for "inventory." Not sure what that means...renovations?

I emailed them to find out if they will be open this spring.

Thanks again.
ssander
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Jan 24th, 2016, 09:39 AM
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There are 2 important museums of history in Bologna: One is the city museum of history in the Palazzo Pepoli and the other is the civic medieval museum, very important because of Bologna's extremely important position in Europe of being the continent's oldest university, which began in medieval times.

Of great interest is to visit is the medieval anatomical theater in the Palazzo d'Archiginnasio, which was bombed to splinters in WW2 and reconstructed perfectly. Also of great interest are the historic food markets of the Quadrilatero, dating back to Roman times, and the church complex of Santo Stefano, where Charlemagne visited.

One of the most striking works of art in all of Italy is the terracotta statues of the "Depostion" (or "Lamentation") in the church of Santa Maria della Vita (which is only open in the mornings).

Personally, I would not go to San Luca. If you do want to go, it is easier to take a taxi or bus up and walk down, but apart from the novelty of walking down all the steps under the portici, there is nothing of particular interest or important to the walk. There are much more beautifual portici in the city itself (via Farini).

There are also many other beautiful small sites in Bologna , like the oratoria of St Cecilia, the church of San Domenico (which has a small early statue by Michaelangelo) and there there are many beautiful paintings in both the Pinocoteca and in upstairs museum of the Palazzo Communale (this building, its interior staircase and its surroundings in the piazza Maggiore are historically and aethestically well worth visiting).

The city tourist board operates a website called "Bologna Welcome" which has more information about all the sights I just listed, plus others that might be of particular interest to you.
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Jan 24th, 2016, 01:35 PM
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I took one of those walks a couple of years ago, concentrating on the buildings in the core. It was very worthwhile and included a visit to the university adjacent to the Duomo, said to be the western world's oldest private institution. The medical school is particularly interesting with family crests posted by students and an inside-out statue (a human body shown without skin to let the students see the skeleton, muscles etc.) Bologna's collonaded walkways run more than 40 kilometres offering relief from both spring rain and summer sun. For a different sort of side trip, two Ferrari sites are easily reached by train and the tourism board's site also suggests such special product locations as cheese and olive oil. The northern cuisine is serious business, far beyond the sauce cliché.
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Jan 24th, 2016, 01:57 PM
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Just so there is no confusion, the historic "university" to which Southam refers, adjacent to the Basilica of San Petronio, is known as the Archigennasio and is a separate location from what is known as the "university quarter" of the city, about a 20 minute walk away, where today's university students in Bologna actually attend classes, in atmospheric buildings dating back to the 19thc. Today, the medieval Archigennasio in the center of town houses the university library and many of its historic rooms and sections (but not all) are open to the public. However, to see today's university -- the oldest continuously teaching university in Europe -- you need to walk to the area of the opera house and the Pinocoteca, the usual route beginning at Due Torri and up the via Zamboni.
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Jan 24th, 2016, 01:59 PM
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sorry for repeatedly mispelling: Pinacoteca
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Jan 24th, 2016, 02:18 PM
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A bit of piggy backing, we will also be spending two nights there in June. We were last in Bologna several years ago. Any dining recommendations? We fall in more of mid range for price.
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Jan 24th, 2016, 07:41 PM
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Jan 24th, 2016, 09:02 PM
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Jan 25th, 2016, 05:57 AM
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Sandralist, thanks for the additional help. Bologna certainly remains a university city with a student population approaching 50,000, I have read. The church of Saint Petronius is distinctive because the ornamental cladding has never been applied to its front façade. Although construction started in 1390 it wasn't consecrated until 1954, indicating just how long a tradition of fractious relations ran between the Vatican and Bologna. Legend has it that the original university was placed where it still stands to block expansion of the church. More about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Petronio_Basilica
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Jan 25th, 2016, 06:51 AM
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I've been look at the website of the Ferrari museums...the one in Modena is only a half-hour train ride from Bologna.

The one in Maranello is a bit further.

I'd consider a visit to the Modena one, since it could be done in a few hours.

Does anyone have experience with these two museums? Specifically, how are they different?

I'd be more interested in historic cars rather than current racing cars.

SS
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