S.Pietro Cathedral's bell tower: the best way to see Bologna from the top

San Pietro Cathedral Bologna
Red roofs under your feet, green hills beyond your nose, blue sky on your head. That's how Bologna looks like from a tower. I love to see Bologna from Torre degli Asinelli or Torre Prendiparte, two of the most famous postcard view of the city. But there's another less famous tower that you should know about. Fewer people in the queue and a breathless view.
San Pietro's Bell Tower and Basilica di San Luca on the hill

Bologna's Cathedral

Most famous doesn't always mean the most important. It's a common mistake to think that San Petronio Basilica in Piazza Maggiore is the cathedral of Bologna.
Burned by fire and hit by an earthquake, San Pietro's church in Via Indipendenza is indeed the real Catholic symbol in Bologna.

Take a walk inside and stop in front of Compianto statues by Alfonso Lombardi, to compare it with the most famous one in Santa Maria della Vita.
San Pietro is also a place for music. If you're lucky to enter while the pipe organ is playing, you should just sit on a bench and listen to the long notes that flow in the air.
View of Piazza Maggiore from the bell tower

The bell tower

San Pietro Cathedral has two bell towers. The oldest one of the early Christian age.
The present one, that was built during the XIII century around the first. About 70 meters high, it's the second higher tower of Bologna after Torre degli Asinelli.

The tower hosts 4 bells. Amongst them stands the so-called 'Grandma'. It's the biggest bell to play 'alla bolognese', so by circling it of 360° around its axis. Grandma bell weighs around 100kg and it takes 23 people to play the 4 of them in a concert.

You can hear Grandma's voice only 3 times a year:
- Dec. 25th - for Christmas
- Oct 4th - Bologna's patron saint day
- On one Sunday in May - when San Luca's Virgin icon descends to the Cathedral from the hill
On those occasions, the bell tower, shaken by the huge forces of the bells, bends from the basis of about 1 meter left and right. Even if you trust the skills of bolognese architects, it could be a good time to hear its music with a coffee a bit far from it.
Torre degli Azzoguidi and the two towers: Garisenda e Asinelli

Visit the tower

Entrance in Via Altabella, close to Gavina Showroom
Open on Saturdays from 2 pm to 4:30 pm
Cost: 5€

​Tel. 051 222112
Santa Maria della Vita dome
San Pietro Cathedral and Via Galliera

Bologna on a budget? 5 unusual things to do for free

It's easy to fall in love with Bologna, even without spending money.
​A picnic in a park and a free amazing cinema? Or a visit to a very unusual museum and a walk under the portici? Here are my free 5 suggestions to enjoy Bologna. For free.

Hotel in Bologna: my suggestions

Which are the best hotels in Bologna?
Even if I grew up in Bologna and I've never spent a night in any hotel, I have some suggestions for you.
Here's a not sponsored list of hotels in Bologna city centre, split for price range.

Certosa Cemetery in Bologna: the silent museum

It may seem a macabre and not so trendy suggestion, but as Père Lachaise in Paris is one the attraction of the French city, Certosa Cemetery can be considered one of the most interesting museums of Bologna.
A silent one, huge but without indications and souvenirs store: a hidden gem that deserves to be visited.

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