Who said that you can enjoy beauty and culture only if you pay for them? Here are some of the best things to see in Bologna for free.

The beauty of Bologna, it must be said, is priceless. Its charm is in its orderly porticoes, the characteristic streets, the inimitable atmosphere, the smells of cooking that waft through its alleys at lunchtime. And the good news is that this treasure can be appreciated even on a low-budget trip: there are so many things to see in Bologna for free! Today we will take you along to discover some of them…

migliori botteghe enogastronomiche bologna tamburini

© Antica Salsamenteria Tamburini

The wireless phone under the Palazzo del Podestà

The first free attraction we would like to suggest is a particular acoustic effect that is created at the Palazzo del Podestà, one of the must-see stops on a visit to Bologna, even if only for a day. Between the building and the Palazzo Re Enzo is the Voltone del Podestà, a spacious ribbed vault.

If you speak in a low voice while facing one of the four corners of the Vault, those in one of the other opposite corners, still facing the wall, can clearly hear what you have whispered. Interesting, isn’t it?


Free museums in Bologna

Who said that culture is always to be strictly paid for? Most museums in Bologna allow free admission every first Sunday of the month. And then, a short distance from the center, there is the  Morandi House Museum, which you can visit without charge every Friday and Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. The home preserves all the furnishings and the studio in which the painter painted some of his most famous pictures, and traces his artistic story by juxtaposing it with works by contemporary authors as well.

The Window of via Piella in Bologna

Are you in Bologna  in with your sweetheart? Then you will make a great impression by taking your other half to Piella Street, where there is a particular window overlooking the Moline Canal. A picturesque glimpse, among the most romantic places in Bologna absolutely to visit on a romantic weekend: a poetic corner of a little piece of Venice hidden among the streets of the city.

Visitare la Bologna sotterranea dai canali ai Bagni di Mario - finestrella via Piella

The Santo Stefano complex and the seven churches

The “Seven Churches” is Bologna’s most distinctive and primary ecclesiastical complex. It overlooks the beautiful St. Stephen’s Square, on which, in addition to the basilica of the same name, are the churches of the Crucifix, Calvary, and Sts. Vitale and Agricola. You can enter all these places of worship with a free offering, admiring the masterpieces of sacred art and also some curiosities: did you know that the Trinity Church houses the oldest nativity scene in the world?

Bologna in un giorno Piazza Santo Stefano

Bologna low cost: visit Salaborsa

Another highlight is Salaborsa, a cultural space created inside Palazzo d’Accursio and overlooking the Piazza Maggiore that has always been the hub of city life. Here you can see the remains of medieval houses, Renaissance walls, and the foundations of the Roman basilica. From the past to modernity: today, Salaborsa is a large multimedia library where you can attend lectures, read books, and browse freely.

Where to eat in Bologna on a budget

Did this interesting itinerary in the city make you hungry? Good food at low prices? In Bologna, you can! One option for a budget lunch without compromising on flavor and quality is to head to one of the bustling city markets, such as the Mercato di Mezzo and the Mercato delle Erbe, where you will find many street food vendors.

Or you can try the “crescentine” and “tigelle” from the Ai Pini kiosk, which are really tasty. Would you like to sample the typical tortellini? In addition to Bologna’s many osterias, which are quite inexpensive, you can try the tortellini they make at Bottega Portici, which cooks them on sight and serves them to go in a thermal cup.


Bologna dove mangiare spendendo poco credits Bottega Portici

© Bottega Portici

To Bologna with Italo

Your low-cost trip to the capital of Emilia can only begin by taking advantage of Italo’s offers on trains to Bologna: you will arrive at your destination by high-speed rail, in total relaxation, and at low prices. Bologna has so much to offer, also without making you spend a lot of money, and the memories you will carry in your heart are most certainly priceless!

Cover photo: © Li Sheng via Flickr