Bologna Life and Travel Tips

(Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy)

Bologna, Italy is one of Italy's great cities and locals are cheerful, friendly and generally very helpful. Good manners are welcome everywhere and expected by most people. Bologna is undeniably a particularly cultural and historic city and worth a visit, whatever the time of year.

View of Bologna Piazza


Most Italian words are pronounced exactly as they are written, syllable by syllable, and there is often an emphasis on the last letter. A knowledge of Latin can be useful, both as the basis for Italian and also for reading the inscriptions on many monuments. Although Italian is the language of the land, English is generally understood and usually spoken to some degree at most Bologna attractions, museums, hotels and restaurants that cater to visitors. In smaller towns and villages nearby, a phrase book is a useful item to carry. Italians pronounce words exactly as they are written and so when speaking English, it may sound a little strange.

Basilica di San Domenico photo

Places of Worship

The people of Bologna are very religious and enjoy going to church on a regular basis. There are a large number of churches in the city that welcome visitors and some even hold masses in English.


In many buildings and public transport, rules restrict smoking and this is usually indicated by no-smoking symbols in prominent places. Most pubs and bars in Bologna welcome customers who wish to relax with a drink and smoke, as a high percentage of Italians are smokers.

It is always worth exercising discretion and sensitivity when selecting a place in which to smoke. The best advice would be not to smoke unless others around you do so.

Tips for Using the Euro

The Euro is made up of eight coins and seven paper notes and was introduced on January 1, 2002. The 12 members of the European Union - Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain - planned the event for more than a decade, determining a conversion rate for each country's national currency. The colourful Euro bills, which include holograms and shades of green, yellow, blue, mauve, and orange, are identical across the Euro area. Coins have one common and one national side, but they can be used in any of the member countries, regardless of the country of issue. Old currencies are no longer accepted, although they can still be converted to Euros in central banks.

Further view of a Bologna Piazza


Tipping is quite discretionary, with taxi drivers usually being given a small gratuity. Restaurants in Bologna often include service charges and these are always clearly stated on the menus, although a small tip will still be expected. In Italy, even theatre and cinema usherettes expect a tip for showing you to your seat. Hotel staff, such as luggage handlers, happily accept a small tip. Generally, no other public service workers in Bologna expect tips. You should always pay tips in cash, as this way you can be sure that the person it is intended for receives it fully.

Tourism and Tourist Information

Tel: +39 (0)51 236 255
Tourism and tourist information offices in Bologna open from 08:00 to 20:00, possibly longer in summer, Monday to Saturday. The main tourist information offices in Bologna are situated at the Piazza Maggiore, the Piazza Medaglie d'Oro and also at the airport.

Known as IAT (Informazione e Accoglienza Turistica) and APT (Azienda di Promozione Turistica), information booths provide attraction information and leaflets on local sites, events and festivals, town plans, transport schedules and general Bologna tourism information. English is spoken in the main centres and the queues can often be rather long, so it is worth arriving early if possible.
Bologna has many tourist offices throughout the city and there is at least one open daily in Bologna all year. Elsewhere offices may close in the afternoon out of season and offices in nearby villages have more limited opening times.

Telephones and Emergency Numbers


The biggest threat in Bologna is by bag snatchers and pickpockets and thieves operate on foot and by moped. There thieves are very skilled, so be particularly careful with hand baggage. Wear a bag or camera across your body, or even use a concealed money belt.


VAT (IVA) is always included in the price and refunds are unusual in Italy. Tourists from countries outside of the EU may claim a refund on this tax if the item was purchased for personal use and cost more than a certain amount. Ask the shopkeeper for details.