We tried to put together our very own "guide", a series of peculiar recommendations that divert from the most classic paths in order to dive into a more unusual Bologna and to discover some true gems hidden in the heart of our city.
Only second to Naples’ Teatro San Carlo, Bologna’s Teatro Comunale is Italy’s oldest surviving theater. What’s more, it is also one of the most original, never having needed more than minor restorations. Built in the 18th century, and set in the center of the city, the Teatro Comunale has made important contributions by shaping the attitudes of Bologna while adopting and adapting ideas from abroad.
MUSEO DELLA MUSICA
A short step from Residence Opera, this Museum offers a series of music related artworks, among which you can see the Harmonice musices adhecaton A, the first musical book ever printed, dating from 1501.
A few steps from Residence Opera there is an amazing example of a Neoclassical architecture style: Palazzo Hercolani. This palace is now hosting the Department of Political Sciences. In addition to majestic halls and a magnificent garden, it hides a really evocative fresco called "Il Giardino d'Inverno" (The Winter Garden).
MUSEO DAVIA BARGELLINI
In and around Residence Opera, you can also find Davia Bargellini palace, one of the biggest and most precious private buildings in Bologna. The entrance is framed by two big male statues, that we Bolognese affectionately call "the giants".
Inside the Museum, we suggest seeing the collection of curiosities from the ancient Bologna.
If you go down via Fondazza, at no. 36, you can visit the house of one of the greatest Bolognese artists of all time: Giorgio Morandi.
He lived and worked here until 1964 and thank to a restoration by the municipality, visitors can enter the studio atmosphere while being surrounded by all his original tools and belongings.
Among the 180 towers populating Bologna cityscape back in the Medieval Age, Torre Prendiparte (or "The Crowned") is one of the few (22) that survived to modern times. It has been carefully restored, with attention to the original structure, so you can now visit the last three floors and the above terrace, which offers a magnificent view over our roofs, monuments and hills.
Moline canal is part of the dense water network lying underneath the city. Among the various sightseeing points, the most famous being "Via Piella Little Venice", we suggest the small terrace part of the Caffé Opera e Tulipani, from which you can enjoy the sight and the relaxing sound of the hidden Moline waterfall.
Inside the gorgeous Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio, an essential stop during your visit, there is the Teatro Anatomico (Anatomical Theatre), an astonishing carved wooden hall which was once used for medical students. Another gem: inside the Stabat Mater room, it's possible to take a glance to the ancient public library.
Known to Bolognese inhabitants as a super secret place, the Spanish College allows access to visitors upon request, on special occasions only. It's worth the try just to see the double-arched four-porch, that hides some beautiful frescoes. Because of the extraterritorial privilege, to this day the College is under the Spanish sovereignity.
For a unique field trip experience, Rocchetta Mattei is the perfect site. Merging various architectural styles such as medieval-gothic and moresque, this castle is a hypnotic and fantastical place. Labyrinthine and intricate, it features various decorated halls, lodges, spiral staircases and towers.