15 Things to Do on Your Solo Travel to Bologna

Here are 15 interesting, adventurous, scenic, and educative things to do in Bologna on your solo travel to Italy. 

Alright, solo traveller, let me first congratulate you for choosing Bologna, one of the most underrated yet serene and action-packed tourist spots to travel to in Italy!

But unfortunately, this tremendous beauty is fairly noticed by visitors who line up to urban hotspots, wrongly validating this local wonder. 

Let us shake it off for Bologna, our solo travel destination in Italy.

Bologna – the heart of Italy

Bologna, the gastronomic factory of Italy, is the city capital of the Northern part of Italy known as Emilia Romagna. It places itself as the heart of Italy, surrounded by Florence, Milan, Rome, and the Tyrrhenian Sea on its four sides.

La dotta, la grassa, la rossa are the three-holy grail Italian words you need to familiarize yourself as a solo traveller in Bologna. The three terms define the city of Bologna.

La Dotta means to learn. La Grasso means fat, referring to the meat production and recipes of the city. And, La Rossa means red, signifying the terracotta buildings of the city.

Altogether, Bologna is the city for learning, the city of the learned, the city with innumerable culinary recipes, the city of taste, and finally, the red city!

As we unravel the 15 things to do on your solo travel Bologna, you will know the justifications for Bologna title as the learned, fat, and the red.

1. Engross in the history of Bologna

solo travel bologna

Piazza Maggiore is the historical, social, civil, and religious centre of Bologna. As it is the prime spot of Bologna, you will probably visit them on your thrilling solo travel. Piazza Maggiore is the proud mother of myriad historic buildings such as Palazzo Dei Notai, Palazzo del Podesta, Palazzo Re Enzo, Palazzo Dei Banchi and Basilica of San Petronio.

Besides pleasing your eyes with their gothic architecture, these historic buildings fill your soul with their flickering memories. For example, Bologna carried out the anti-fascist resistance movement during the second world war. As a result, the buildings in Piazza Maggiore bear witness to harrowing happenings in the past, like massacres, bombings. The frequent bombs largely damaged the archaic buildings, which are still in the process of renovation.

So, each and everything positioned in Bologna is an archive. The pathway to the past. Revisiting their memory keeps the memory of the city alive. Bologna gives you the honour of taking part in their living memory. 

2. Popcorn time with the locals

We are not done with Piazza Maggiore yet. Apart from the monumental historical buildings in the square, there is a significant spot you might not notice, just like how the Italian itineraries overlook Bologna, the central area of the Piazza Maggiore called Crescentone is overlooked. I understand you must be confused thinking about what is so significant about the walking pavement? Of course, it is the traveller’s photoshoot spot, but what else? 

During the month of June, the open arena of Piazza Maggiore turns into an open-air theatre and becomes the people’s free street entertainer for three months. Yeah! You heard me right. No tickets, just happy movie time with the locals.

When you solo travel to Bologna, you will see the depth of this event because Crescentone can accommodate up to 3000 people, and 3000 chairs placed by default during the evenings of July initiate the ceremony.

What I liked about the open-air theatre is that they telecast movies from all over the world in the original language. And, for the audience’s convenience, they display it with subtitles. The open-air theatre also hosts silent movies and operas. Silent movies and operas are the suggestible popcorn time for solo travellers in Bologna who do not like to reveal their ears to foreign tongues. Further, it is the best opportunity to catch up with the locals.

3. Get stunned looking at the columns

Let us get the facts straight. Bologna is a place of numerous historic towers. Like around 1100 to 1200 columns are located there. Adding up, Bologna is popularly called the city of the two towers. There existed many columns. Amidst the still existing columns, two columns are unique.

solo travel bologna

These two towers called the Asinelli and Garisenda towers, are miraculous pieces of wonder because these towers have gloriously withstood the 8-ton cannon fires during the second world war, but were hit to the head by lightning. A trivial fact to remember when looking at the columns. The natural disaster made the two towers dislocated, causing them to lean on each other. So, you can call them “the leaning towers of Bologna.”

Lesson learned. Do not mess with nature!

4. Garden Margherita

After visiting the two towers, head to the Garden Margherita distanced only 15 mins from the two towers. The garden, like any other garden, is a treat to the eyes with a refreshing atmosphere, cute foundation, small rivers like running water, and colourful plants. There are kiosks like cafes, bars available to please the visitors.

After your 15 minutes’ walk, I consider it the finest place to stretch yourself for a nap. Not that anyone bothered to ask, I quickly find an ideal spot, lie down there feeling the earth’s gravity. I don’t sleep. Instead, I indulge in silent conversation with the sun. Try it out. The best thing a solo roaming soul should do on travel to Bologna.

5. Take a selfie at the Basilica of San Petronio

Basilica of San Petronio calmly occupies a seat at Piazza Maggiore. This fabulous piece of medieval art was built with the intent to beat all the churches in the world, especially the church in Rome with the same name. I am happy to say that it is the fifth-largest cathedral in the world. At the same time, the church is an unfinished piece of art left with red bricks at its upper area while the lower part shimmers in white marble with gold highlights.

Go pray in the cathedral for its quick renovation. Am I going off the lane? Back to our deal of taking pictures, you will have to pay a fee of 2.26 dollars to take photographs in the church. Wondering why the unfinished cathedral is the ideal place to take pictures? My answer would be that you are capturing a moment of history more than a fancy picture.

6. See heaven and hell at Cappella Bolognini

Cappella Bolognini is one of the 22 chapels situated at the San Petronio cathedral. While entry to the cathedral is free, visitors will have to pay 3 dollars to enter this chapel. The Heaven and Hell painting at the chapel is powerful enough to lock up your breath. One of the rare and original paintings of Inferno.

It is inspired by Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” A tip on your travel to Cappella Bolognini as a solo traveller, prepare yourself to meet this grand art. Before your visit, look at its picture online to fully know the magic you are going to witness. 

 7. Eat at Indipendenza Street

what to do in bologna

Indipendenza is the widest street of Bologna, connecting with other major locations of Piazza Maggiore. The train station is also connected to the street. Undoubtedly a busy street guided by porticoes of Bologna. Just in case you did not notice. If you cannot locate the market, look for the Neptune Fountain. Neptune Fountain is the landmark of that area.

You will enter the market arena when you walk a little away from the main street. A place bombarded with bars, café, food stalls, and many more. Apart from the food stalls, the rest of the shops in the market fall on the expensive side.

8. Say ”Hello” to the University of Bologna

The University of Bologna is the sole bearer of the title – the city of learned. It is the oldest university accounted in Europe. You can kind of say they were the prototype of the current education.

Spicing up its fame is its alumni’s who include Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, Pope Gregory XV, Guglielmo Marconi, Thomas Beckett, Carlo Goldoni and the list goes on.

I know visiting the university is not in any way favourable to our cognitive capacity. Nevertheless, I have set foot in this oldest university that will make me forever happy.

9. Sneak at the curious window

Head across the street to reach the curious window, also called the Window via Piella. This tourist spot gives you a glimpse of Venice.

A small rectangle shape window opens the view to two parallel rows of building kept at a distance by the passing Moline canal. The Moline canal resembles the canals of Venice, the floating city of Italy.

Apart from this, there is nothing much the Window via Piella offers. Only, if you are curious, you can visit the curious window. However, it may come as a disappointment for people who have travelled to Venice.

10. Stroll the streets of the medieval village

Dozza, a medieval village located 40 km from Bologna, is our next solo travel destination. Take line 101 bus from Bologna to reach Dozza. It will take around two hours. So, eat your breakfast and plan your dinner in Dozza. Dozza has countless plausible restaurants to appease your hunger.

Dozza, a small village reflecting the medieval infrastructure, is still untouched by modern modifications. Not only that, the walls of all the buildings, including the houses, are painted in sensual attractiveness.

If you are hesitant to stroll the streets considering the safety of solo female travellers, I assure you that you are all safe in Dozza. Stroll through its streets, gently visualizing the wonderful paintings, humming to your favourite song.

If your strolling activity is going smooth, then you will stumble on another medieval beauty, a castle called Rocca Sforzesca in Dozza. You are free to wander there too.

11. Scream from your diaphragm

After all the sightseeing is wrapped up for good, direct your solo travel list to some adventurous fun activities in Bologna. Yes, you have walked, strolled, relaxed, and now is the time to scream.

Are you ready to ride the MB-326 jet flight? Anyway, if flying a jet flight all by yourself has ever been on your bucket list, then arrive at 15, Reggio Emilia, to fulfil it. Riding a Jet is nothing like travelling on an ordinary flight.

You can visibly see the sky. You may even kick a cloud. Above all, you are the queen of the jet! Everything is in your hands. Although, there will be a trained aviator sitting at the back. A queen never goes unguarded without her knights. Ha-ha!

12. Patrol the sky at Carpineti

Yet another gentle and terrific adventurous activity to do in Bologna on your solo travel is a hot air balloon ride.

what to do in bologna

This activity takes place in the town of Carpineti, Bologna. The town, situated at the coastal line of Italy and planted with majestic Apennine mountains, is the ideal terrain for a hot air balloon ride.

While riding the air balloon, remember to say hello to Monte Cusna and Monte Cimone. You will get a view of the castle of Carpinete as well. Have a happy time patrolling the sky!

The hot air balloon ride is open for visitors at dawn and dusk. You have only two options—it is either sunrise or sunset.

13. Taste the Bologna sauce

You have seen the classic standouts of the red city so far. At this point of travel, the target of your solo journey is to feed on the Bologna cuisine. Bologna is called the city of fat. Fat is an umbrella term to denote the meat varieties and cheese. Any type of flesh is delicious in Bologna if presented with Bologna sauce.

Bolognese sauce is the starter to the Bologna cuisine. You will need plenty of time to choose from the array of food available. 

Bolognese Sauce, Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, Tortellini in Brodo and Lasagne are the top five best dishes you must try on your solo travel to Italy.

14. Visit the city wine capital

The notable region of Bologna is Reggio Romagna. While Bologna is the food capital of Italy, Reggio Romagna is the wine capital of Bologna.

The wine gardens in Reggio Romagna contribute to about 15% of the Italian wine production and wine export. Have a taste of the classic wines of Bologna on your travel to Reggio Romagna.

If you happen to be a teetotaller, ignore drinking. But visit the wine cellars located in Reggio Romagna that are pretty enough to impress you.

15. Take pleasure in eating

If one day trip is set for visiting Dozza, then march to the culinary centre, Ravenna, the next day. By the way, you cannot march to Ravenna. Either take a train or hop in for rideshare. Both of them costs around 6 dollars only.

On reaching, your rule of thumb is to eat, eat, and eat! 

If you still have time, consider visiting the tomb of Dante Alighieri located at San Francesco Basilica in Ravenna.

Bologna- a mix of all beauty

what to do in bologna

As we have already seen, Bologna is a place of historic beauty, lush greenery, lustful dishes, adventure activities, and vintage wines. Above all, most of the tourist locations are free of cost. So, if you are planning to save money on your solo travel, then Bologna is your destination.

Click here to book Bologna food tours. If you have any queries regarding your solo trip to Bologna, please drop them in the comments below. I’m happy to help! 🙂

Have a great trip to Bologna!


An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.

Leave a Reply