Where to stay in Bologna

Où dormir à Bologne ?

Vacationing in Emilia-Romagna and the Po Valley in Northern Italy? Discover the city of Bologna and its accommodation districts!

Situated between Parma and San Marino, Venice and Florence, the city of Bologna has a population of around 390,000 and concentrates a million people in its urban area. Home to the oldest university in the West – founded in 1088 – it is nicknamed la Dotta (the learned). Its other nickname – la Rossa (the red one) -, its left-wing political soul and its 30% student population could make it seem like Italy’s Toulouse. Its architectural heritage (Bologna’s famous medieval towers), gastronomic heritage (where Bolognese sauce comes from), historical heritage and cultural heritage radiate throughout Europe.

Bologna is subdivided into nine administrative districts: Borgo Panigale, San Donato, San Vitale, Sàvena, Navile, Porto, Saragozza, Santo Stefano and Reno. If you don’t know where to stay in Bologna, we’ve put together a list of the best places to stay.

Old town of Bologna

Vieille-Ville, loger à Bologne

Photo credit: Flickr – Tomas Kohl

Bologna’s historic district is larger than that of Barcelona or Vienna. It takes the shape of a large hexagon: 2 kilometers from east to west and north to south. The city’s main square – Piazza Maggiore – is located here, surrounded by the two Towers of Bologna. Via Rizzoli, today as busy as it is commercial, is the ancient Roman « Via aemilia« . The district has been the economic, political, spiritual and cultural heart of Bologna since its foundation. If you love history and cultural visits, this is the place to stay in Bologna.

Highlights include the municipal palaces, the Gothic basilica of San Petronio, the ancient libraries, the Baroque cathedral of San Pietro, the medieval museum and the shops of the Quatrilatero. If you’re a party-goer, Via Pratello should appeal to you: it’s the street of bars, Bologna’s « Rue Saint-Michel ». To stroll or read outside in fine weather, go to Parco della Montagnola, north of the old town. This is a central area to stay in Bologna, which should appeal to all ages and sensibilities.

The student quarter around Piazza Verdi

Piazza Verdi, loger à Bologne

Photo credit: Flickr – Edsome

This is Bologna’s Parisian Latin Quarter: an extension of the Jewish Quarter from the Plaza Maggiore, where over a quarter of residents are students: one of Bologna’s liveliest and least expensive neighborhoods. Numerous bars, cafés and restaurants line the pavement. If you like lively areas, take a look at Piazza Verdi, where students meet to chat, stroll, drink and smoke. Militant associations abound here, perpetuating the city’s historic and emblematic protest and revolutionary spirit. As a result, a host of cultural and political events take place here. As well as being a festive district, it’s also a very artistic and cultural alternative. Don’t miss the Poggi Museum, with its unique collections. We therefore recommend this district as a place to stay in Bologna.

San Michele in Bosco

San Michele e Bosco, loger à Bologne

Photo credit: Flickr – Lorenzoclick

Located to the south of the city, it’s Bologna’s most affluent, middle-class district, and also the quietest. It’s close to the Margherita Park – one of Bologna’s green lungs – and next to the San Luca sanctuary. Accommodation in San Michele e Bosco is a serious challenge for the wallet: rents are likely to be high because of the spacious, elegant villas dotted with greenery. A view of the city center is available from the Parc di Villa Gotti.

Main photo credit: Flickr – Alexandros Papadopoulos