Piazza Maggiore

Piazza Maggiore: 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.

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 member of staff who'll welcome you and provide any information you may require. When you return, you will get to taste 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.

Bologna Private Highlights Bike Tour with Food Tasting

4. Bologna Private Highlights Bike Tour with Food Tasting

The bike tour designed to show you the best of Bologna in two hours: from the oldest university in the world to the grandiose Piazza Maggiore, up to pedaling under the Two Towers, we will discover the most significant places of this magnificent city. The Bologna that we will tell you about in this private bike tour is a city that has ancient origins, the guardian of an exceptional historical, artistic and cultural heritage.

Bologna: 2-Hour Private Guided Walking Tour

5. 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.

Best of Italy: 5-Day Escorted Tour from Rome

6. 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.

Bologna: Private Walking Tour with a Guide

7. 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: Old Town Hidden Gems Exploration Game

8. 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

9. 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.

Sanctuary of S. Luca with Train and Private Guide

10. Sanctuary of S. Luca with Train and Private Guide

The arcade that connects Porta Saragozza to the Sanctuary of San Luca is the longest in the world. Within its 3.5 kilometers there are 666 arches, each marked by a number: the first 306 connect Porta Saragozza to Meloncello Arch, while the last 360 are located in the hilly area from Meloncello to Colle della Guardia. These are spaced out by 15 chapels illustrating the mystery of the rosary. The tour starts from Piazza Maggiore with a little train ride to Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca. Begin the guided tour with the Sanctuary of San Luca and its panoramic forecourt with an optional visit to the Dome of the Sanctuary to admire the panorama of the city. Enjoy the descent with a little train ride along the arcade that leads to Meloncello's Arch and then along via Saragozza. Passing through Porta Saragozza, arrive at the Collegio di Spagna and de'Carbonesi, continuing via Massimo d'Azeglio you’ll return to Piazza Maggiore.

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

4.5 / 5

based on 702 reviews

I boarded the San Luca express at 4.10pm and we were provided with headphones so to listen to the tour on the way. We arrived at the Basilica of St Luca about 30 mins later - it took us along the road adjacent to the Portici where people can walk all the way to the Basilica - it is used as a place to exercise also for sportspeople. When we arrived, we had about 50 mins till the next San Luca Express. We could take photos from the outside visit the Basilica inside and pay our respects (it was a pilgrimage place that many believers would visit). It was a most glorious evening and a view of the mountains on the outskirts of Bologna was visible.

It was a lovely tour of Bologna. The guide was exceptionally knowledgeable and told us everything there is to know about the history of Bologna and the sights we saw. She was also very funny. Would definitely recommend!

Very knowledgeable guide, enjoyed walking leisurely as information was given. All questions were answered, Elena was very friendly snd an excellent guide!

Excellent! Lots of info on the history of Bologna. We’ll worth it!!

Pleasant walk, excellent guide, lots of information...