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5 things to do in Bologna in winter
One of the best seasons to visit Bologna is winter, especially during Christmas period. The arcades of the city are filled with life, the shops are decorated for the holidays, the scent of roasted chestnuts warms the heart of those who hurry home and those who walk calmly through the streets of the center.
Are you in town for a short stay? Here are 5 things to do absolutely in Bologna in the winter.
1 – Drink a cup of hot chocolate in a downtown bar
You can take the chocolate for a walk or sit in the cozy room of a restaurant in the center and enjoy a nice steaming cup with friends. In winter many Bolognese meet for a hot chocolate in the center: a nice break for a chat with friends before the cinema or the walk to the shops.
2 – Visit the Christmas markets
In the Christmas period, Bologna is filled with markets. The most famous and loved by the Bolognese is the Ancient Fair of Saint Lucia in Strada Maggiore, along the portico of the Church of Santa Maria dei Servi. It opens from November 17th to December 26th and you can find Christmas decorations, nativity figurines, sweets and gift ideas. In Via Altabella, near Piazza Maggiore, there is the Christmas Market, it opens from the end of November until January. In Piazza Minghetti, you can live the atmosphere of the Northern European markets in the French Christmas Village, opened from the end of November for a month, where you can taste croissants, baguettes, biscuits, cheese and wines from France.
3 – Admire the nativity scenes set up in the churches of the city
Christmas is approaching and so citizens and parishes set up their presepe. Not to be missed is the Nativity Scene in Via Azzurra, in the Massarenti area – born from the passion of a family that every year opens its home garden to visitors to admire the animated nativity scene – and the Review of the Nativity in the monumental gallery of the Church of San Giovanni in Monte, near the complex of the Seven Churches (Santo Stefano): on display many presepe of all kinds. Free admission.
4 – Visit the Sala Borsa Library and the archaeological excavations
Are you looking for a covered square with bars and corners to study and read newspapers? Visit the Sala Borsa Library, opposite Palazzo Re Enzo and the Fontana del Nettuno. Many Bolognese, tourists and students take refuge here when it is raining outside. The building that was the city’s stock exchange rises on the ancient Roman basilica, has hosted the matches of the great Petronian basketballs of the 1950s and today is a much-loved meeting place. Do not miss the archaeological excavations in the basement, visible from the transparent pavement in the center of the library.
5 – Walk through the portico of San Luca to the Basilica and watch Bologna covered with snow from above
If you are not afraid of long walks, go along the portico of San Luca, from Porta Saragozza to the top, on the Colle della Guardia and reach the Basilica. Enter in the church, admire the black Madonna and then, once outside, look at the city. There is the Dallara Stadium in front of you, further the Pianura Padana, on the right the city center, and if you move your gaze to the other side, towards the hills of Bologna, you will discover that the hills owards Sasso Marconi gradually become mountains. In winter the white expanse, dotted with houses and smoking chimneys, still evokes the peasant past of places outside Bologna, between villas and ancient farms inhabited for centuries.