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San Petronio Basilica (Basilica di San Petronio) Tours

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San Petronio Basilica (Basilica di San Petronio)
Dedicated to the fifth-century bishop Petronius, who became Bologna’s patron saint, the San Petronio Basilica (Basilica di San Petronio) dominates Piazza Maggiore in the heart of the city. One of the largest churches in the world and a soaring example of Gothic grandeur, the basilica Is a highlight of any Bologna city tour.
 
The Basics
Construction of the Basilica di San Petronio began in 1390, but renovations to enlarge the building were interrupted in the 1500s when its size threatened to overshadow St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The basilica’s façade was unfortunately left unfinished, but the interiors are beautifully realized, including the Cappella dei Magi, with sumptuous frescoes by Giovanni da Modena, rich stained glass, elegant carved marble, and the astronomer Cassini’s brass meridian line embedded in the floor of the eastern aisle. Visitors also enjoy panoramic views over the city from the terrace on the church roof, and stroll through the basilica’s museum to see precious artifacts, illuminated manuscripts, and vestments belonging to the church.
 
Basilica di San Petronio is the most important church in Bologna, and a highlight of any city walking or bike tour, along with attractions like Piazza Maggiore, the Two Towers, and the churches of Santo Stefano and San Domenico. Some travelers visit as part of a multi-day trip from Rome.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • Bologna tours on foot or by bike are mostly outdoors, so be sure to dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes.
  • Large bags and backpacks are not allowed in the church.
  • Photography without flash is allowed inside, though not in the Cappella dei Magi.
  • The basilica is wheelchair accessible, but the rooftop terrace is not.
  • Visitors are required to wear modest attire that covers shoulders and knees.

How to Get There
The Basilica di San Petronio is located on Piazza Maggiore, the main square in the center of Bologna. The square is an easy walk from the Bologna Centrale train station and most of the major attractions in the city center.
 
When to Get There
Bologna is known for its extreme weather, with wet winters and hot summers. The basilica interiors offer a welcome respite from the elements in both winter and summer, though the church does close at midday on weekdays.
 
San Petronio’s Controversial Chapel
Giovanni da Modena’s 15th-century fresco cycle depicting heaven and hell is the most famous work of art in the Basilica of San Petronio, in part because of its near-pristine state and in part because it shows the prophet Muhammad being devoured by demons, an image that is considered sacrilegious by many of the Islamic faith.


Address: Piazza Maggiore, Bologna 40124, Italy
Admission: Free
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36 Tours and Activities to Experience San Petronio Basilica (Basilica di San Petronio)

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Secret Food Tours Bologna w/ Private Tour Option

Secret Food Tours Bologna w/ Private Tour Option

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Treat your hungry self to a food tour of Bologna, and discover why the city is known for its love of gastronomy. With a local guide, you’ll savor breakfast, then sample fresh pasta, balsamic vinegar, cheese, wine, gelato, and even a secret dish—to be revealed on the tour. Explore the city by foot in between tastings, and learn about Bologna and its food heritage through the tour. Just let the local supplier know in advance if you have special dietary requirements.
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  • 4 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$255.59
From
$255.59
Taking safety measures

Must See Bologna With A Local: Private & Personalized

Must See Bologna With A Local: Private & Personalized

star-5
Explore the historic streets of Bologna with a private guide leading the way during this walking tour. See top landmarks including Piazza Maggiore, taste espresso under the famous portici (arched colonnades), and wander through the Montagnola Market. The itinerary can be customized according to your interests.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$123.49
Price varies by group size
From
$123.49
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

2-Hour Bike Tour of Bologna

2-Hour Bike Tour of Bologna

star-4.5
A historic university city, culinary capital, and hub of architectural beauty, Bologna offers no shortage of attractions—and this zippy bike tour through town gives you the perfect opportunity to explore. Get up close and personal with the sights, from the bustling Piazza Maggiore to the Basilica of San Domenico and the modern Manifattura delle Arti district. As you go, hear about the city’s long history from your guide.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$46.88
From
$46.88

Bologna City Walking Tour

Bologna City Walking Tour

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Enjoy a classic walking tour through the streets of central Bologna visiting its main cultural attractions. Explore some of the picturesque squares, archiginnasio and beautiful city buildings on this 2-hour group tour
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$32.90
Price varies by group size
From
$32.90
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Classic Walking Tour Bologna

Classic Walking Tour Bologna

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A classic walking tour together with a private guide through the streets of the center of Bologna visiting the major cultural attractions of the city and the history of local gastronomy to discover all the secrets of the city that our guide will tell you. At the end a small tasting of local products in a historical shop.
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  • 2 to 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$96.15
Price varies by group size
From
$96.15
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Bologna Private Walking Tour

Bologna Private Walking Tour

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Explore the beautiful and historic capital of Emilia-Romagna on this private 2-hour walking tour in Bologna. See the highlights of the bustling city and hear about Bologna's university, the oldest in the world. Learn about Bologna's fascinating history, dating back to 1000 B.C., and how the city remains popular among Italian and international students. Discover this fascinating and Medieval town with your private guide.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$177.70
Price varies by group size
From
$177.70
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Bologna Segway Tour

Bologna Segway Tour

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See Bologna, with its narrow streets, crooked medieval towers and miles and miles of arcaded walkways, from a different perspective: from a Segway. Cruise around this handsome Italian city on a Segway, learning about the history of each place, and seeing major landmarks, such as the five-hundred-year-old Fountain of Neptune, the Basilica di Santo Stefano, and much more. This small-tour is limited to just eight participants, which means you’ll get plenty of attention from the local guide.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$135.69
Price varies by group size
From
$135.69
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Bologna : a walk into history

Bologna : a walk into history

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The city of Bologna is a rich tapestry of art, culture, cuisine, and music—a UNESCO–listed gem in the heart of Italy. On this morning or afternoon walking tour, follow your guide through Bologna’s medieval streets and find out what makes the city special. Hear the stories behind top attractions including Piazza Maggiore, the Quadrilatero, and the 14th-century San Petronio Basilica, and gain insight into Bologna’s colorful past.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$133.88
per group
From
$133.88
per group
Taking safety measures

Bologna City Center Private Tour with a Local Guide

Bologna City Center Private Tour with a Local Guide

Get an insider's view of Bologna, known as one of Italy's cultural and culinary capitals. This private walking tour gives you the undivided attention of an art historian guide, who reveals stories and secrets behind Bologna’s fountains, palaces, and churches. See highlights of the medieval city center, learn about important former residents, and browse the delicious products of the Emilia-Romagna region at a typical market. Ask all the questions you like for a personalized introduction to beautiful Bologna.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$182.57
Price varies by group size
From
$182.57
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Bologna Tour of Must-See Attractions with Local Top Rated Guide

Bologna Tour of Must-See Attractions with Local Top Rated Guide

star-3
The ideal introduction for first-time visitors to the history-filled city, this half-day, private walking tour of Bologna covers top attractions. Listen to in-depth commentary from your own art historian guide, and enjoy a personalized travel experience adapted to you and your party. Highlights include Piazza Maggiore, the Basilica di San Petronio, and the Mercato di Mezzo.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$192.30
Price varies by group size
From
$192.30
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Bologna Highlights Small Group Tour with a Local Guide

Bologna Highlights Small Group Tour with a Local Guide

On this history-packed, small-group tour of Bologna, you’ll discover a mix of top attractions and under-the-radar sites. Wander along medieval-era canals, see a pair of towers that lean more than Pisa, and learn about the origins of the spectacular buildings in Piazza Maggiore. You’ll listen to entertaining facts and legends along the way.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$108.32
From
$108.32
Taking safety measures

Kickstart Your Trip To Bologna With A Local: Private & Personalized

Kickstart Your Trip To Bologna With A Local: Private & Personalized

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Get a feel for Bologna on an intimate private walking tour. In addition to navigating and translating, your guide customizes the day’s itinerary according to your interests, planning stops at top landmarks and hidden gems loved by locals. Leave with an inside perspective on the city and a handle on its layout and transit system.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$68.61
Price varies by group size
From
$68.61
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private tour of Bologna with a local guide

Private tour of Bologna with a local guide

Stroll through the historic center of Bologna with a private guide during this walking tour. Learn about architecture from a local as you explore squares, arcades, churches, and palaces. See top landmarks including Piazza Maggiore and the old market, Mercato di Mezzo. Customize this private tour according to your interests.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$307.16
per group
From
$307.16
per group

Discover Bologna an amazing city

Discover Bologna an amazing city

The beauty of Bologna is not only that it's got (almost) everything that you expect of a big city, but on a human scale, Bologna is not only the seat of the oldest Western World University, founded in 1088, it also has an established reputation of capital of gastronomy and a well preserved medieval city centre containing some 40 kilometres of porticoes built over 1,000 years.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$109.54
per group
From
$109.54
per group
Taking safety measures

Bologna Food Tour with Wine Tasting & Guided Sightseeing of Top Attractions

Bologna Food Tour with Wine Tasting & Guided Sightseeing of Top Attractions

star-5
Bologna’s traditional cuisine is so important to the city’s identity that it is known affectionately as “La Grassa”, or “The Fat Lady”. With this walking tour, explore both the cultural and culinary highlights of this vibrant city, taking in its main square, churches, and towers, as well as strolling through the historic market to sample local specialties and wines—all while learning about their history and significance with a guide.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$120.49
From
$120.49

Three Days in Bologna and Modena between Motor Culture and Cuisine

Three Days in Bologna and Modena between Motor Culture and Cuisine

I therefore want to give you some suggestions to discover Bologna, the red, the learned and the fat. Why is it so called? Red for the colors of the bricks with which the towers and palaces were built and for the political alignment of the inhabitants and for the car and engine houses that are located between Modena and Bologna. Dotta because it has the oldest university in the world. Cradle of culture. Fat for food (tortellini, lasagna, mortadella) and for the rounded shapes of the Bolognese girls. A three-day guided tour with guide and guide to discover the secrets of Bologna and its surroundings. A journey for everyone, a 360 ° view of the capital of Emilia thanks to our certified guides and escorts.
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  • 3 days
  • Free Cancellation
From
$921.05
Price varies by group size
From
$921.05
Price varies by group size

Small-Group Bologna Tour of City Highlights with Top-Rated Local Guide

Small-Group Bologna Tour of City Highlights with Top-Rated Local Guide

Bologna has a long and fascinating history, bound up in its fine palaces, churches, and towers. With this small-group tour, dive deep into the historical context of its impressive architecture with the insights and explanations provided by your guide. Stroll through the main square to take in its monumental fountain, stop at the city’s two basilicas, and admire its soaring towers and forgotten canals.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$96.15
From
$96.15

Historical Tour of Bologna

Historical Tour of Bologna

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A mix of art masterpieces, history, food stories, legends and secrets described by a local art lover with a great experience and knowledge of the city. The tour itself will be like a dive into history and time. All information about art will be experienced by the visitors as a trip enriched with details about life, food, culture, music and traditions of those ages.
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  • 3 hours to 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$48.68
From
$48.68
Taking safety measures

Private 3-hour Walking Tour of Bologna with private official tour guide

Private 3-hour Walking Tour of Bologna with private official tour guide

Bologna, the capital of the Reggio Emilia region, is one of the most historical cities in whole Italy. It’s existence dates back to 1000 BC. The city hosts the first university in the whole World. You will enjoy, with your private official tour guide, getting to know the most emblematic and representative sites of the city. Bologna has a very active public life and high economic activy. - SAVE COVID-19 SAFE - As this is a private tour we take care of maintaining social distance.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$270.20
Price varies by group size
From
$270.20
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Withlocals Highlights & Hidden Gems: Safe & Private Tour with a Local Expert

Withlocals Highlights & Hidden Gems: Safe & Private Tour with a Local Expert

star-5
Please be aware that this tour is adapted to the local regulations post Covid-19. Our hosts will deliver this experience with the required equipment always keeping the distance suggested by local authorities. It will be safe and entertaining! Medieval towers, gorgeous palaces, and delicious Italian cuisine; Bologna is a magical place! On this private tour, get ready to discover the best highlights the city has to offer, as well as its unique hidden gems with your favorite local. Get ready to experience Bologna the local way. Enjoy the city to the max and hear more about the origin, history, and culture of Bologna. Discover the ancient entrance to the town at the leaning Asinelli and Garisenda Towers. See and touch Bologna’s past at the Archiginnasio Palace, which was once the beautiful center of the city’s University. Explore the underground ruins inside the Salabrosa Public Library and be fascinated by ancient Roman stories.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$135.69
Price varies by group size
From
$135.69
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private Tour: Secret Food Tours Bologna

Private Tour: Secret Food Tours Bologna

This tour will provide you with an experience above and beyond tasting some of the best Italian food in places where locals enjoy dining. A combination of flavorful ingredients, local produce, old-world knowledge and a centuries-old passion for food is why Bologna is the country's culinary capital. As a private tour, everything works around you! Our start times are much more easy going, dates can open up. It's a much more intimate and cozy experience. No need to shout over other tourists, you will have every question answered, and leave feeling like a native yourself!
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
From
$118.67
From
$118.67

The best of BOLOGNA and RAVENNA on a Private Tour

The best of BOLOGNA and RAVENNA on a Private Tour

Thanks to this FULL DAY tour you'll have the chance to discover the stunning wonders of this land: Bologna and Ravenna. Both cities were protagonists in the historic panorama of this part of Italy. The presence of the University, the oldest in the Western world, has made BOLOGNA a cultural center of extraordinary importance. We'll visit the most evocative monuments and places in the city center. RAVENNA, a Unesco site known worldwide because of its early Christian era mosaics, gives you the opportunity to see preserved monuments from the 5th and 6th century. We will meet in Bologna in the morning and we will visit the city center highlights. Then together we'll catch the train to Ravenna. * I would be happy to customize this tour so that it fits your requirements best!
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  • 7 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$421.06
per group
From
$421.06
per group
Taking safety measures

Bologna Full Day Private Tour

Bologna Full Day Private Tour

A full day in the city of Bologna visiting all the major attractions of the city together with a private guide It starts in the morning with a guided tour of the city with a certified expert guide. During the visit it will be possible to climb to the Asinelli towers. We continue with a typical lunch in a historic trattoria in the city and afterwards together with the guide you can go up to San luca with the train included in the price and visit the beautiful Basilica and enjoy the fantastic panorama. Upon returning, a delicious homemade ice cream
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  • 6 to 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$219.08
Price varies by group size
From
$219.08
Price varies by group size

Full Day Ravenna & Bologna Tour of Must-See Sites with Native Top-Rated Guide

Full Day Ravenna & Bologna Tour of Must-See Sites with Native Top-Rated Guide

Take a journey in this culturally rich, deeply historic and well-preserved towns, with our exclusive walking tour for a unique and unforgettable experience. You will see the highlights of Ravenna, with its mosaics, and Bologna just in one day with a top rated & local guide. The tour will start in Ravenna where you will spend about 3 hours, then you will travel by train or your own car to Bologna where the guide will led another 3 hours tour.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$249.83
Price varies by group size
From
$249.83
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience San Petronio Basilica (Basilica di San Petronio)?

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