Discover Bologna and its Porticoes UNESCO World Heritage Site

Bologna is a city to visit on foot. Step by step, and without haste.

Bologna has always been a mandatory stop on the “Grand Tour”: excellent food, culture, hospitality, unique attractions in the world. But its peculiarity is being a city that’s meant to be visited on foot and with the necessary calm, exploring every corner by walking under its porticoes, unique in the whole world. But it is also the starting point for fabulous treks to start or finish in the city. Let’s find out why Bologna is a city to visit on foot.

“Amazing!!! Just what we needed after days of touring and walking 15,000 steps every day- my daughter and I loved it! Best massage since Bangkok- clean and serene spot could not have been treated kinder”

Jennifer S.
Google Review

Bologna is without a doubt a fundamental step of any Italian tour. And that there are so many things to discover and so many emotions to experience, as demonstrated by the over 15,000 daily steps that Jennifer and her daughter walked around our beautiful city during their stay. Perhaps also thanks to us and our Thai massages!

So many steps are well justified for a visit, not only because of the records that the city holds and which we cannot possibly list all in one post. In fact, even if Bologna is not a particularly large city, it is certainly filled with so much to see. Full of wonders to discover and experiences to do, around each and every corner. And that’s why we’re now going to tell you why Bologna is a city to visit on foot.

To begin with, let’s just start from one of its streets. And let yourself get attracted by the things that intrigue us the most. Turning randomly around Bologna is never a coincidence!


If we like to aim high, we will find it easy to walk the almost 500 steps that lead to the top of the almost millenary Torre degli Asinelli, almost 100 meters high! All these “almosts” will make you smile, especially if you look for the real measures. Always aiming for the top, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to visit the Santuario della Madonna di San Luca, which rises on the Colle della Guardia, a partly wooded spur 280 meters above sea level south-west of the historic center of Bologna. The most characteristic way to reach it is through a long and suggestive porticoed street – the longest in the world – and that starts at Porta Saragozza.

If we look at its streets, Bologna is truly special, because most of them are covered for pedestrians. And if it is true that this does not make it easy to see the sky, the kilometers we can travel protected from the rain or the Summer sun are 38 only in the historic center. However, they are actually 62 km if we also include those outside of the city center and the more modern ones of its suburbs. All this thanks to an ingenious system of porticoes, known as Portici di Bologna. An architectural heritage that started way back in the early Middle Ages in order to “expand” the houses to make room for students and visitors, and that from July 2021 became one of Unesco World Heritage Sites for its uniqueness.

The famous Bolognese actor Stefano Accorsi, in the following video, tells the story and some curiosities about one of the most peculiar characteristics of Bologna. A unique feature that allows you to visit every corner of the city, go shopping, find a typical restaurant or a place to drink a good glass of wine, even if it rains or it is too hot outside. And, why not, playing hide and seek!



If you love to walk, and if you are reading this article you probably do, Bologna is also the base city for some important trekking and pilgrimage routes winding through the surrounding Apennines. They all reach amazing locations, even if the main attraction is the nature itself that you get immersed into on one of these treks. Add to that Roman roads, battle sites, buttresses that date back to the Pliocene, rocks that seem to stand up by a miracle, breathtaking views and the characteristic gullies. But there are also several churches, sanctuaries, inns, taverns, places where you can rest and natural beauties to be encountered along the journey.

The best-known paths, which all start from Piazza Maggiore, are the ones that reach Florence thanks to Via degli Dei, Lucca through Via della Lana e della Seta, Pistoia by Via Francesca della Sambuca, Faenza and Brisighella by walking on Via dei Gessi e dei Calanchi.


But Bologna’s records don’t end here. We will list just a few to make you want to spend a few more days in our city and add steps to your day, so at the end of the day you can come to us for some rest and comfort! And to demonstrate, once again, that Bologna is a city to visit on foot!

Bologna is universally considered the seat of the oldest real university in the world and in one of its first locations, the Archiginnasio, it boasts a collection of over 6.000 heraldic coats of arms that belonged to the first international students who attended it. Maybe your family’s is in there too!

The Basilica di San Petronio it is the seventh largest church in the world, the fourth largest in Italy and the third if we exclude St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. But it is precisely this competition against Saint Peter’s that changed his destiny.
Visiting it and learning about its history, it is easy to discover that it could have become the largest Church in Christianity, outclassing the papal basilica in size! Madness, irreverence and arrogance by the Bolognese? Do you want independence from temporal power? There is all the spirit of Bologna and of the Bolognese in this church, which absolutely deserves to be known and discovered. The Bolognese, for centuries under papal rule, wanted the largest church in the world in their city precisely because of their disrespectful and goliardic character. But a series of political, logistical and economic circumstances made this undertaking impossible. And the story ended like this for the sake of everyone. Especially for the Papal Kingdom. The Basilica di San Petronio is in fact an incomplete building compared to its original project.

The truncated parts are easily visible from the outside. The Latin cross plan envisaged by the project was never built beyond the central nave.
The incomplete facade is instead the most evident element that proves the end of the funds destined for its completion, but, inside, the Basilica preserves some unique treasures. Such as the world’s longest sundial and numerous chapels decorated by the greatest artists of its time, as well as a panoramic terrace from which it is possible to get a splendid view of the historic center.



We thank Jennifer and her daughter for giving us the inspiration to write this article for our blog. We look forward to seeing them again in Bologna soon!
But why did we want to open and close this piece by talking about them?

Because after so much walking, whether you are in Bangkok, Bologna or trekking in Chiang Mai or on the Via degli Dei, the best thing you can do to refresh your muscles, rebalance your energy and be ready for the next stage, is a Thai massage session worthy of this name.
And we at My Thai are ready to provide it for you with our experience and professionalism, every day of the week, including Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 am to 20 pm.

And it’s great not only for a faster recovery, to prevent injuries or to refill your energy levels because Bologna is a city to visit on foot, but also to offer you a moment of complete relaxation.

After all, around any corner of any street in Bologna there is something special to discover – in this case, in Via Boldrini 10/C – there is us of My Thai.

Find out all of our services on our website and book the one you prefer at +39-391-7655744.

We are waiting for you!

Discover Bologna and its attractions. After walking around the city, you can relax at My Thai Traditional Thai Massage Center.


Sources: Wikipedia, Bologna Welcome website and YouTube channel, Niki Texler YouTube Channel.
Cover Photo from Bologna Welcome website.