Porticoes, or shaded arcades, line the streets of the Italian city of Bologna. Simultaneously functional and architecturally beautiful, the porticoes provide outdoor promenades that are protected from sun and rain. Here’s where to find the best examples throughout the center of Bologna.
Bologna University Quarter
Via Zamboni, Bologna, 40126
Bologna’s university was established in 1088, and has hosted some of Europe’s finest minds over the centuries, including Renaissance scholars Mirandola and Alberti, astronomer Copernicus, and the artists Durer and Borromeo. The university houses a number of museums, including an Anatomy Museum, Herbarium, Physics Museum, Museum of Anthropology, Wax Museum, Museum of Zoology, and the excellent Astronomy Museum. Most are located inside the elegantly frescoed Palazzo Poggi, the university’s seat after 1803. The University Quarter is one of Bologna’s most fascinating neighborhoods, and it’s a highlight of any city walking or bike tours. Combine a visit to the University Quarter with a tour of Bologna’s historic center to visit top sights like Piazza Maggiore, the Basilica di San Petronio, and the Two Towers.
The 10 Tastings of Bologna With Locals: Private Food Tour
$95.52 per adult
Perfect day in Bologna
We had an amazing food tour with Paolo, our guide. He was very friendly and knowledgeable, and his English was impeccable. We had so much fun visiting the markets, trying the many types of food, wine, coffee that Poalo had bought for us, as well as walking through the town where he showed us the many historical sights in Bologna.
Jet, Oct 2021
Things to Know Before You Go
A tour of the University Quarter requires some walking, so wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather.
Kids especially enjoy the eclectic museums and informal atmosphere in this area.
Some university museums aren’t wheelchair accessible; confirm in advance.
The area is thick with cafés and restaurants, perfect for a quick snack or meal.
How to Get There
The University Quarter centers around Via Zamboni, a 10- to 15-minute walk east of Bologna’s historic center. You can easily reach the area on foot from the Bologna Centrale train station or Piazza Maggiore in the city center.
When to Get There
This student-dominated neighborhood is especially vibrant during the academic year, which runs from October through May.
Highlights of Bologna’s University Quarter
Palazzo Poggi is the heart of Bologna’s university, but there are a number of historic buildings linked to the university. The Collegio di Spagna and the Collegio dei Fiamminghi Jean Jacobs are testimony to the various colleges that once housed students from across Europe. Next to the churches of San Francesco and San Domenico, the Glossators’ Tombs demonstrate the social prestige university professors historically held; the Museo Medievale holds a collection of depictions of professors with students from centuries ago. In front of the Church of Santa Maria della Vita, the arcades of the Ospedale della Morte is where students of medicine would find corpses to study anatomy in the Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio next door. Finally, the Biblioteca Universitaria has been a public library since 1756.
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- Oratory of Santa Cecilia (Oratorio Di Santa Cecilia)
- Two Towers (Due Torri)
- Prendiparte Tower (Torre Prendiparte)
- Basilica of Santo Stefano (Basilica di Santo Stefano)
- San Petronio Basilica (Basilica di San Petronio)
- Fountain of Neptune (Fontana del Nettuno)
- Bologna Piazza Maggiore
- Anatomical Theatre of the Archiginnasio (Teatro Anatomico dell'Archiginnasio)
- Basilica of San Domenico (Basilica di San Domenico)
- Albergati Palace (Palazzo Albergati)
- Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca (Santuario della Madonna di San Luca)
- National Gallery of Bologna (Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna)
- Ducati Museum (Museo Ducati)
- Marconi Museum (Museo Marconi)
- Lamborghini Museum (Museo Lamborghini)