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“nice place”
Review of Piazza Maggiore

Piazza Maggiore
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2-Hour Historic Bike Tour of Bologna
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Bologna : a walk into history
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Bologna Private Walking Tour
Ranked #2 of 329 things to do in Bologna
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Wrsaw, Poland
Level 6 Contributor
146 reviews
69 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“nice place”
Reviewed 16 April 2012

nice place, many people, nice restaurants, very good ice-creams

Visited May 2011
Thank Artur z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Level 6 Contributor
292 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 141 helpful votes
“the center of it all”
Reviewed 14 April 2012

Start your tour of Bologna at this Piazza. Walking distance to almost everything.

Visited March 2012
Thank beeperVancouver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bologna, Italy
Level 6 Contributor
126 reviews
51 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 264 helpful votes
“Piazza Maggiore - a place of beauty is a joy forever”
Reviewed 8 April 2012

In Italy the main square of any city has a strong symbolic significance and the most famous squares include Piazza del Popolo in Rome, with its twin Baroque churches; Piazza di Spagna, with the Spanish Steps, featuring the Barcaccia fountain, and Piazza Navona, standing over the ruins of a Roman racetrack. No less imposing are Piazza San Marco, the not-quite-rectangular square in Venice; Piazza della Signoria in Florence, where the copy of Michelangelo’s David stands proudly outside the Piazza della Signoria; the gently sloping Piazza del Campo in Siena, where the Palio is run twice a year; Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa, where you can climb the Leaning Tower or admire the Duomo; Piazza dell’Anfiteatro in Lucca, constructed on the remains of a Roman amphitheatre, and Piazza Vecchia in Bergamo with its fine collection of historic buildings. In Emilia Romagna, Piazza Maggiore in Bologna is particularly important, as it is here that all the major events are celebrated, including political demonstrations, election rallies, and open-air concerts for up to 50,000 people at a time. Piazza Maggiore consists of a fine collection of historic buildings, nearly all of which are at least 500 years old. The Basilica of San Petronio, the sixth largest church in the world, 132 metres in length, 60 metres in width, dominates the square. The lower half of the façade is embellished with marble statues of saints, whereas the upper half is unfinished and still consists of the rough brickwork that was erected in the first phases of the construction project. Mussolini’s dream of completing the façade with Fascist statuary was thankfully never implemented. The Basilica houses the longest sundial in the world, designed by the astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini and set into the marble floor to the left of the nave in 1655. From the steps of San Petronio, over to the left you can admire Palazzo d’Accursio, the mediaeval city hall, with its clocktower and statue of San Petronio standing guard over the city. Inside, if you cut across the main courtyard, you can still walk up the staircase with wide shallow steps that were designed to allow knights in armour to reach the first floor state rooms on horseback. In the period when Bologna was the second largest city in the Papal States, the Cardinal Legate governed the city from this building, along with a Senate consisting of representatives of local families. Palazzo d’Accursio also houses a fine collection of paintings that is open to the public: look out for the signs for the ‘Collezioni Comunali d’Arte’. Facing San Petronio, the portico of Palazzo del Podestà houses the tourist office and cafés where you can sit outside and watch the world go by, and then you can also explore Piazza del Nettuno. Still from the steps of San Petronio, over to the right you have a view of the imposing portico of the Pavaglione, that was associated with the silk trade: the term pavaglione is said to derive from ‘pavaion’, bringing to mind the entomological transformation of the silkworm into the butterfly, as this used to be the home of the silk trade in Bologna. The main market area is located behind this portico in a maze of tiny streets: Via Drapperie (drapers), Via Pescherie Vecchie (fishmongers), Via Orefici (goldsmiths), and Via Clavature (locksmiths) where you can step inside the Baroque church of Santa Maria della Vita. If you walk along the Pavaglione past the Museo Civico to the Archiginnasio (the home of the University from 1563 to 1803), you can visit the Teatro Anatomico (Anatomical Theatre) that was formerly used for the teaching of medicine: it has a fine panelled ceiling featuring the signs of the zodiac. Just one of the many hidden treasures in the immediate vicinity of Piazza Maggiore. After visiting these wonderful historic buildings, you might want to do some shopping, and one attraction you should not miss is Majani (ma –yah – nee) the chocolate shop founded in 1796, arguably the finest in Italy, located in Via Carbonesi: from the clocktower of Palazzo d’Accursio, walk up Via D’Azeglio, turn right at the junction with Via Farini, and Majani is under the portico on the right-hand side. Then you might want to walk back along Via Farini to the Pavaglione and have coffee or a light lunch at the Bar Zanarini in Piazza Galvani, or go back to the market area to the temple of fine food, Tamburini in Via Caprarie 1, or the bookshop-trattoria-coffee bar, Eataly in Via degli Orefici 19. Gifts of handmade pasta, bread or cakes to take home can then be picked up at one of the two branches of Atti, the traditional bakery in Via Caprarie 7 and Via Drapperie 6.

More about San Petronio:
More about the art collection on the second floor of Palazzo d’Accursio (Collezioni Comunali d’Arte, Piazza Maggior 6, 40121 Bologna, closed on Mondays, admission 4.00 euros):
More about the Palazzo dell’Archiginnasio and the Teatro Anatomico:
More about Tamburini:
More about Atti:

Visited April 2012
3 Thank WilliamJo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 6 Contributor
321 reviews
110 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 284 helpful votes
“Spacious, busy and beautiful”
Reviewed 16 March 2012

Both these adjoining piazzas are dramatic and aethetically beautiful and offer an amazingly large space. The people make the most of it. There are markets, cafes, mimers, tourists etc. The palaces around are stunning.

Visited December 2011
1 Thank Travel_addict13_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 6 Contributor
105 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“one of the most beautiful squares in Italy”
Reviewed 8 March 2012

This is one of the most beautiful squares in the country. Encircled by wonderful buildings it had been all over the centuries and even now, the heart of the city

Visited April 2011
2 Thank francesco g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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