5 student-friendly things to do in Bologna

Not really feeling the crowded streets of Rome? The beautiful city of Bologna is perfect for any student foodies. Having been dubbed by Vogue as the “ultimate Italian foodie destination,” the stunning city boasts medieval architecture, gorgeous views and plenty of delicious Italian goodies to get your hands on.

Here are just some of the very many student-friendly things you can do.

Eat the best gelato at Venchi

Gelato is an absolute must if you visit Italy – and a trip to Venchi is just as essential if you visit Bologna. Their freshly made incredibly creamy authentic gelato is certainly some of the best out there, and it’s no wonder that it’s so popular with tourists and locals. It’s a great place to go to if you love good quality gelato that’s not too expensive; the prices are pretty good value considering the very high quality of the ingredients used. Their dark chocolate gelato is particularly outstanding; it’s extremely rich and indulgent and so high in cocoa solids that it’s black.

Watch a film in the Piazza Maggiore

The famous Piazza Maggiore is the central square in Bologna, often filled to the brim with tourists. From June to August it turns into an open-air cinema, along with offering free seating, so you don’t need to worry about bringing your own. Watching a movie in the warm evening is the perfect way to spend your nights, especially as it’s completely free. There are a wide variety of films on offer (including some mainstream movies), and all are, fortunately, subtitled. You can find out more about showings on the website.

Visit Mercato di Mezzo, Via Clavature

Bologna is well-known for its markets, and if you visit them, then you’ll certainly see why. The Mercato di Mezzo is the oldest market in Bologna and takes place in the Quadrilatero every day from 9 am – 12 am. There is a huge variety of market stores and shops to choose from which sell plenty of very cheap fresh produce including meat, cheese, fish, fruit and vegetables, along with quirky independents selling beautiful flowers and colourful dried pasta. The market is a great place to pick up some fresh ingredients cheaply if you’re self-catering or staying somewhere other than a hotel.

Explore San Petronio Basilica

The credentials of the San Petronio Basilica don’t just extend to being the main church of Bologna – it’s also one of the world’s largest churches. It offers free entrance, a beautiful interior and incredible paintings. Although photos inside the church aren’t technically allowed, you are allowed to take some if you pay two euros. For just three extra euros you can take a lift up to the very top of the basilica and soak up the gorgeous surrounding views of the city.

Enjoy some pizza at Zia Margherita

With reasonable prices, an extensive pizza menu and friendly staff, dinner at Zia Margherita is perfect for any student wanderers in the area looking for a cheap and cheerful meal. The pizzas are excellent quality and made with top ingredients, with their Bufala DOP option being particularly tasty (tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil and olive oil). If you’re a foodie, you’ll love their buffalo mozzarella which easily beats any that you can buy in a supermarket.

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