Driving in Bologna, Italy

Bologna is the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy. It’s very much a historical city and it is famous for its cuisine, architecture and as a student city.

While you’re in Bologna you could visit such attractions as the Tower of the Asinelli and the Tower of the Garisenda, which are two of the few remaining towers left in the city. Other sights include the Museo Civico Archeologico (Archaeological Museum); the Piazza Maggiore with the Basilica of San Petronio and the City Hall Building; the University, which is the oldest in the world and contains numerous museums such as the Museo Navale and the Museo della Specola!

What to see in the Bologna Area?

Bologna has much to offer the curious tourist, both inside and outside of the city.

Heading out of the city you might take some time to visit Reggio Emilia. This town is located about three quarters way towards Parma and is between 60 and 70kms from Bologna. The most interesting features of this area include Pietra di Bismantova, which is a very interesting mountain that is well worth climbing and getting a spectacular position to overlook the surrounding area; the castles Torrechiara, Rossena and also Canossa which was famously the site where King Henry IV of the Holy Roman Empire had to beg Pope Gregory for forgiveness and to reverse an excommunication.

On the way to Reggio Emilia you can find the Modena. Located just to the south of the town there’s the town of Maranello which is home to Galleria Ferrari – The Ferrari Museum. Other car manufacturers in Modena include Bugatti, De Tomaso, Lamborghini, Pagani and Maserati. If you’ve an interest in collectable stickers, you may be interested to know that Panini is based in this city. Located between Bologna and Modena is the village of Sant’Agata Bolognese, which is home to the car manufacturers Lamborghini.

Located to the northeast of Bologna, there’s the city of Ferrara. Not on the typical tourist trail, means that you can enjoy going off the beaten-path and explore this medieval city. Within the city you’ll find the Il Castello Estense, which is a beautiful medieval castle – don’t forget to check out the dungeons!

Heading southeast you will be passing Imola, which is where the famous San Marino Gran Prix is held. San Marino is some distance from here but the title Italian Gran Prix was already taken. The Gran Prix takes place on the racing circuit Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari.

To the east of Bologna, near the coast of the Adriatic, there’s the city of Ravenna. Here you’ll find 8 monuments; Neonian Baptistery, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Arian Baptistry, Archiepiscopal Chapel, Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Mausoleum of Theodoric, Basilica of San Vitale, and the Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare in Classe; that have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and all date from the 5th and 6th centuries. Other sights in the city include Dante’s Tomb, and you aren’t too far from the coast so if the weather is fine why not hit the beach?
After driving through Imola and passing the turn off for Ravenna, you’ll be on the road to Rimini. This city is the premier coastal destination on the Adriatic Riviera for Italy. When you aren’t sunning yourself on the beach you have the option of visiting such sites as the Augustus Arch, the Tiberius Bridge (start of the Aemilian Way) and the Templo Malatestiano. The city is only about a dozen kilometres from San Marino and is definitely a worthwhile diversion.

If you are looking at a trip to Bologna you may require a car and you can find a fine selection on our car hire Bologna page.

If you have any tips about driving in this part of Northern Italy we’d be glad to hear from you.