Bologna in North Italy is a city of many faces. From a celebrated rich food legacy to boasting one of the oldest universities in the world, there’s much to discover about the capital of Emilia-Romagna. The gastronomic capital of Italy is also highly rated as one of the country’s most appealing cities. The seamless blend of the old and the new is evidenced in many of the hotels in Bologna, Italy, that are housed in historic buildings.
Whilst most of the attractions are located in proximity to the popular Piazza Maggiore there’s another side to the city too. The area in the Po Valley oozes with wealth and class as opposed to the graffiti-embellished piazzas teeming with students and travelers in the other half. You’ll find plenty of things to do in Bologna that range from discovering its history to feasting on its delicious cuisine.
Bologna lies in proximity to two important cities, the ancient city of Modena which is also a foodie haven, and Florence, Tuscany’s most gorgeous city. Exploring the things to do in Modena is easy as it’s less than half an hour by train from here. Florence on the other hand is about 40 minutes by train and about an hour and a half by road.
Where To Stay In Bologna
Many of the best hotels in Bologna, Italy are located close to Piazza Maggiore and Piazza de Nettuno. You’ll find many of the city’s attractions within easy walking distance from here. So if you’re interested in the sights, Centro Storico is the place to stay.
However, if you’re not going to be spending a lot of time in the city and would prefer to take day trips to other parts of Emilia-Romagna a good idea would be to base yourself near Central Station. Those driving down to the city would be better off staying just outside the pedestrian zones which is also within walking distance from the sights.
If you’re planning a trip to Modena, check out our list of the best hotels in Modena, in case you decide to linger on in the city. Alternatively, you could take the train down to Florence and soak up all that the Tuscan capital has to offer, whilst you base yourself in one of the best hotels in Florence.
Art Hotel Commercianti
One of the most centrally located hotels in Bologna, Italy, is the Art Hotel Commercianti adjacent to San Petronio. Located in a quiet lane just off the Piazza Maggiore, you’re within walking distance of many of the city’s sights. It’s hard to imagine that the beautiful hotel once housed the Bologna Municipality way back in the 12th century. However, history does show up in many parts of the hotel with many of the distinctive features of the original building still in place. Think wooden beams, vaulted ceilings, and elegant balconies.
You’ll find many guest rooms with specific themes related to the history of the building or the city. Many rooms on the third floor feature private terraces that overlook the basilica. All rooms come with wooden floors but each has unique decor. Families can choose to stay in the larger apartments that are part of the hotel.
A great way to begin your day in the city is with the excellent, complimentary breakfast buffet served in the old basement. Although there’s no restaurant on-site you can enjoy a reasonably priced aperitivo buffet in the evening with specialty drinks. Guests can also use the hotel’s bicycles to explore the city at no extra cost.
If you’re looking for hotels in Bologna, Italy, that offer a bit of tranquility, Aemilia Hotel outside the city walls is a good option. It’s a comfortable stroll to the center of the city from here so you won’t be inconvenienced if you’re interested in the sights.
The hotel is quite popular with business travelers which is probably why the interiors resemble a chain hotel. Guest rooms on the upper floors are more spacious with city views. However, rooms are more functional than stylish with a good range of amenities.
A fitness center and plenty of meeting spaces within the hotel are big draws for business travelers. The lounge bar with a comfortably furnished leafy terrace is a good place to unwind. However, the standout of the hotel is undoubtedly the sixth-floor terrace with a hot tub and sauna. For those interested in dining in, the Gurme Restaurant offers a good range of classic Italian dishes and Bolognese specialties. Breakfast is also included in the rate.
Casa Fluò Relais
Another hotel that hits the high notes on tranquility is Casa Fluò Relais just outside Bologna. Surrounded by fields and vineyards, it’s a 15-minute drive to the city from here. If you prefer to be closer to the attractions, you’ll be better off checking hotels in Bologna, Italy closer to the city center. However, this location is perfect for a quiet getaway.
Housed in a centuries-old farmhouse that has been lovingly restored, the hotel hits all the right notes on style and comfort. You’ll find ancient ceiling beams in many guest rooms that stand out for the color and matching aroma. Only two rooms have air conditioning but all four rooms are spacious and comfortable. You won’t find a television or coffee/tea making facilities in the rooms but if you crave your dose of entertainment, there is a TV in the shared studio.
Breakfast is served on the covered veranda but for other meals, you can check out the in-house restaurant. Popular with locals, the restaurant has a monthly changing menu of traditional and other dishes. It also has a pretty good wine list. The footpaths around the estate and beyond are ideal for a leisurely evening or morning stroll.
Unlike the previous hotel, Casa Bertagni is a more luxurious hotel option located in the university district. The hotel puts you in proximity to many of the city’s attractions such as Bologna’s main art gallery, Pinacoteca Nazionale. Once the private home of the grandparents of the current owner, the hotel now stands out as one of the best hotels in Bologna, Italy.
The old and the modern seamlessly blend to make this a unique space. There are only six rooms in the Casa with each named after a virtue. Color schemes and various pieces reflect the virtue that the room represents. Functionality and style go hand in hand with comfort in the guest rooms. Guests enjoy a good selection of sweet and savory treats for breakfast which is included in the rate.
Hotel Corona d’Oro
It’s just five minutes to the Piazza Maggiore from the Hotel Corona d’Oro which makes it another good option for someone wanting to be near the attractions. Many of the best hotels in Bologna, Italy, are housed in historic buildings which adds a lot of character to the space.
In sharp contrast to the bustle outside, the interiors of the hotel give off a calm vibe, starting with the gorgeous glass-ceilinged lobby. There’s plenty of seating in the lobby area with a few antique items and classical columns reminding you of the building’s history. The building was once the home of a local noble family in the Middle Ages. Part of the building was constructed in the 13th-century while another portion dates back to the 20th-century.
Bright, spacious rooms come with blonde wood floors and soft lighting. The traditionally decorated rooms feature framed artwork, pillow menus, and kettles. Suites come with private balconies which is a novelty in Bologna’s medieval center. Apart from the good breakfast spread that is included in the rate, there are no other amenities other than an early evening aperitivo.
Many hotels in Bologna, Italy, are within easy walking distance of the main attractions and the Hotel Metropolitan is one of them. Sitting on a quiet street just off Via Indipendeza, it’s less a 10-minute walk to the city center. You’ll find plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops in the vicinity, which makes it an ideal base.
When compared to many of the hotels in Bologna, Italy, the hotel has a more modern vibe. While guest rooms feature many Italian designer furniture pieces, the décor is quite minimalistic. You’ll find a terrace or indoor garden attached to rooms on the fourth floor. All rooms come with a wide range of amenities that you would find in a good hotel.
If you’re in town in the summer, the Roof Garden on the fifth floor is an ideal location for a cocktail or a glass of wine. Whilst there’s no gym or swimming pool in the hotel, guests can use the facilities of the spa nearby at a discounted rate.
Royal Hotel Carlton
One of the classiest hotels in Bologna, Italy is the Royal Hotel Carlton, located close to the pedestrian area of the city. The hotel that was built in the 70s on the ruins of an old building is a study in elegance with its beautiful interiors. Sophistication seeps into all corners of the hotel, beginning with the hotel’s foyer.
The 236 guest rooms also reflect this style, with tasteful furnishings and décor. Suites are done up in delicate pastel shades with a spacious living area and a wide range of high-end amenities. Jacuzzi tubs, bathrobes, and slippers are extra perks that come with the suites. However, if you feel like digging deep into your pockets, the Presidential Suite with its private terrace offers a more luxurious stay.
There are plenty of extras outside the rooms too to keep you busy. Treat yourself to a range of treatments at the Spa that also features a Finnish sauna, Turkish bath, emotional showers, heated water beds, and lots more. When you’re done with the pampering, head to the bar or restaurant for a delicious meal.
Art Hotel Novecento
Some of the standout hotels in Bologna, Italy, belong to the Art Hotels brand. These designer hotels are chic and comfortable with some of the best addresses in town. The Art Hotel Novecento, part of the brand, occupies a central position close to Piazza Maggiore.
Inspired by Vienna Secession designers, the hotel has a contemporary look with glossy black furnishings and art. Guest rooms feature the same design, but the Penthouse suites on the top floor have whitewashed wooden attic ceilings. Apart from the rooms and suites, the hotel also has two furnished design apartments in a historic palazzo. Breakfast is free but other than this, you won’t find any other big perks here. That being said, the hotel’s main attraction is the decor and the rooms.
Though the Hotel Touring may feel a bit removed from the main sights, given its quiet location, most of the attractions are less than a 10-minute walk away. The closest attraction is the San Domenico church with its Michelangelo statues.
The family-owned hotel has stylish yet homely touches, making it one of the more welcoming hotels in Bologna, Italy. Contemporary décor runs through the hotel with the reception area featuring large works of contemporary art. All 36 rooms have a relaxing vibe with slight variations in the décor and furnishings. Many rooms have private terraces or balconies that overlook the city center.
However, the top floor terrace is the place to be if you want great views. There’s also a terrace bar open in the evenings and a whirlpool tub that can be reserved in the summer. As with most of the hotels in Bologna, Italy, here too, breakfast is included in the rate. The buffet is an impressive spread with local specialties and a good choice of beverages.
Al Capello Rosso
History buffs will love the Al Capello Rosso which has been in existence as a hotel since 1375. With its location just steps away from Piazza Maggiore, it’s one of the best hotels in Bologna, Italy, to experience what the city is all about. Seamlessly blending traditional features with contemporary elements, the hotel exudes charm and elegance.
Historic photos and posters in public spaces and thematic guestrooms add to the charm of staying here. Given the hotel’s history, don’t expect large sprawling rooms. What you can look forward to, however, are unique, comfortable spaces outfitted with a good range of amenities. Larger groups or families could look into booking one of the hotel’s apartments located in the immediate vicinity.
Osteria del Cappello, the hotel’s restaurant has also been around as long as the hotel. You can enjoy authentic Bolognese dishes here accompanied by local wines and beers. The popular restaurant is open for all meals even to non-residents. Hotel guests can also enjoy a complimentary breakfast every morning at the restaurant. Other perks include bicycles, laptops, and golf clubs that guests can borrow free of charge.
Grand Hotel Majest gia Baglioni
Sitting opposite Bologna’s cathedral in the center of the city, you’ll find the Grand Hotel Majest gia Baglioni; the most upscale hotel in Bologna. It stands out as the only five-star deluxe hotel in the city and often boasts a guest list of the ‘who’s who.’ Not surprising, given its rich history and classy interiors.
What started out as a seminary was transformed into a hotel over a century ago. Sculptures, paintings, antique furniture, and marble floors add a touch of class and nostalgia to the hotel. Guestrooms also feature a classic Italian style with chandeliers, antique furniture, and stucco details. The standout is the Art Deco Suite with its black, gold, and beige color scheme.
I Carracci, the hotel’s restaurant reflects the same elegance that runs through the hotel with silver tableware and fresh flowers. Equally impressive are the 16th-century frescoes that adorn the ceiling. The menu is seasonal but traditional favorites are always available. For lighter meals, the hotel’s bar is a good place. Other amenities you can look forward to are a fitness area, a sauna and steam room, and inviting terraces on the first floor.
Recommended Restaurants/Bars In Bologna:
- Portici Restaurant – Bologna’s only Michelin star restaurant serves up a delightful twist to many classic Bolognese dishes. It’s not just the dishes that stand out here but the restaurant itself with its classy interiors and rich history.
- Secret Food Tour – This three-hour food tour will take you off the beaten paths to sample some of the best food in town while you also take in the sights.
- All’Osteria Bottega – It’s easy to miss this tiny restaurant located on Via Santa Caterina but once you find it, you’ll be glad for the effort. With its authentic family atmosphere and delicious Bolognese cuisine, the restaurant definitely stands out.
Recommended Activities In Bologna:
- Private Tour With A Local Guide – See the sights of Bologna through the eyes of a local guide on this private tour. This customized tour includes visits to some of the top attractions and places off the beaten track.
- Leaning Towers of Bologna – Of the 22 towers that still remain in Bologna, the Two Towers are the most prominent. Located at the intersection of the roads leading to the five gates of the old ring wall, the leaning towers are iconic landmarks of the city. Visitors can climb the Asinelli Tower to take in breathtaking views of the city.
- Piazza Maggiore and Piazza del Nettuno – These two adjoining squares in the city serve as a meeting point for many people. They’re constantly abuzz with conversations and laughter. Most of the attractions in the city are within easy walking distance from here. While the squares are great for sightseeing, they’re also a good place for people watching.