Theme Tours

Bologna - Theme Tours

Discover history, art masteripieces, hidden places and unexpected curiosities.

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Bologna’s “Studium” or University, born during the 11th century, was the first university in Europe. We will see the monuments of the most illustrious professors of the Middle ages in Piazza S. Domenico and at the Museo Medievale (with their vivid bas-reliefs showing the professor teaching an audience of students). The Archiginnasio Palace, the Renaissance Palazzo seat of the schools from the 16th to the 19th century, and its 17th Century Anatomy Theater decorated with wooden sculptures related to Medicine. The University area of Via Zamboni and the University Museums, which precious 18th Century scientific collections are displayed in the 16th Century frescoed rooms of Palazzo Poggi.

The origins of Bologna date back to the VI century, when the Etruscans founded here the town of Felsina. Rich pre-Etruscan and Etruscan funerary sets, with precious ceramic vases, and objects of daily-life are on show in the Archeological Museum. The city was then re-founded by the Romans in 189 B.C., with the new name of Bononia. Besides the precious collections of the Archeological Museum, we can get to know more  about ancient Bologna visiting  Sala Borsa in Palazzo Comunale, where there are it is possible to see the interesting remains of the ancient Roman Forum.

Bologna’s “Golden Age” is the Middle Ages, when Bologna was a proud city-state. The University, the noble families, the new merchants and artisans classes, the religious orders, left durable traces in the city’s look and architecture. Walking in the city streets we will discover the evolution of Bologna and its buildings – such as the towers, the wooden porticoes, the palaces of the government and of the guilds - in the middle age, adding on request also a visit of the Museo Medievale and its rich collections. 

The beginning of the Renaissance coincides in Bologna with the lordship of the Bentivoglio’s family (XVth century), who became also art patrons, commissioning works such as the renewal of Palazzo del Podestà, and the building of Palazzo dei Drappieri; important paintings to leading local masters (Francia, Costa, Aspertini) in the Oratory of Santa Cecilia and in the Bentivoglio’s chapel in the church of San Giacomo. During the Renaissance, sculptors established a high tradition in working terracotta, well evidenced by masterpieces such as the “Compianto” of Nicolò dell’Arca and the “Transit of Mary” by Alfonso Lombardi. Finally, we will discover works in Bologna made by a very promising young artist at the start of his career: Michelangelo.

Bologna gave to Italian art history some innovative masters: Vitale da Bologna,  expressive painter of the XIV century; Ludovico, Annibale and Agostino Carracci, that between the end of the XVI and the XVII century gave start to a new classic-baroque style followed by Guido Reni and Guercino. During the XXth century the Bolognese Giorgio Morandi created a very personal and modern approach to still-life and landscape painting. We will enjoy these masters works visiting noble palaces and the collections of the Pinacoteca Nazionale (where also works by Giotto, Raffaello, Parmigianino are on show), and the Museo Morandi (now at the Mambo, the Museums of Modern Art).

Bologna has a strong tradition in music studies. Thanks to the presence of prestigious music academies like the Accademia Filarmonica, and of music scholars like Padre Giovanni Battista Martini, Mozart, Farinelli, Rossini, Donizetti, Wagner, developed a special relationship with our city: we will retrace the history of this rich music heritage visiting the Museo Internazionale della Musica (rare and precious musical texts, ancient musical instruments, and a collection of great musicians’ portraits); and The Teatro Comunale, one of the oldest and still operating Opera Theatre of Italy, that in 2013 celebrates its  250 years anniversary.

An important Jewish Community flourished in Bologna between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Leading Jewish scholars like Ovadyah Sforno, Jacov Mantino, Azaria de Rossi, lived in Bologna for several years. Sadly, during the late XVI century the papal dominion on Bologna led to severe conditions of living and to the establishment of a Ghetto. We will visit the area of the Ghetto, well preserved in its architectural structure, and the Jewish Museum. 

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Le Guide d'Arte

Association of Licensed Tourist Guides of Bologna and the Emilia Romagna region.

  • Address: Via del Monte, 5
    40126 - Italy
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