When Is The Best Time To Visit Bologna Italy

Bologna city and the Bologna region can be visited throughout the year. But there are certain months or seasons that can be considered the best time to visit Bologna Italy. In the alternative, there are a few times throughout the year that it is best to avoid traveling to the Bologna area.

In this Bologna travel blog post, we will talk about the weather in Italy and in Bologna, specifically, to help travelers plan the best trip to Bologna they can. We will also share information on some of the most important Bologna events and activities that are held throughout the year.

What you will learn in this Bologna travel blog post:

  1. When to visit Bologna based on the weather through the year

  2. When to visit Bologna considering costs of accommodations

  3. When is the best time to visit Bologna based on holidays, events, and activities

When Is The Best Time To Visit Italy

When Is The Best Time To Visit Bologna Italy - Bologna Weather
When Is The Best Time To Visit Bologna Italy – Bologna Weather

Many travelers start by asking when to visit Italy in the first place, and that’s a good place to start. Italy is a country with differing weather across its regions. Like many countries within Europe, spring and fall are the best times to travel to Italy. It avoids the colder winter months, the Christmas and New Year holidays, and the hot and humid summer months. But, these shoulder seasons can also bring higher costs for accommodations.

It is difficult for travelers with children to find the best month to visit Italy, and that is understandable. July and August are when many children are off from school. But, in Italy, as in much of southern Europe, August is a very difficult time of year for a visit. This is for a few reasons. One, August is hot across much of the continent and many hotels, attractions, and restaurants are not equipped with air conditioning.

In Italy, August is also when many Italians take their summer holidays. This can mean higher prices along the coast. It also can mean many of the best restaurants and other shops are closed, anywhere from 2-3 weeks or longer. In Italy, August 15 is known as Ferragosto, or Assumption Day. It is an Italian national holiday and almost everything is closed. Italians tend to start their annual holiday around this time, normally taking off the weeks before or after (or both).

Where Is Bologna Italy Located

In order to narrow down the best time to visit Bologna, it’s helpful to understand more about where Bologna is located. Bologna is located in the Italian region of Emilia Romagna. It could be said that Bologna is the heart of Emilia Romagna.

There are nine distinct geographic areas, or provinces, within Emilia Romagna. The nine geographic areas from west to east include the five of Emilia: Piacenza, Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, and Bologna. Along the Adriatic Sea, from north to south, the remaining geographic areas within Romagna include: Ferrara, Ravenna, Forli-Cesena, and Rimini.

Bologna lies at the heart of Emilia Romagna for one reason: transportation. It hosts the main international airport, and the largest train station. It’s the perfect starting block for an exploration of the region. From Bologna, it is possible to head north to Modena and beyond, or east into Romagna. 

Bologna is located at the foothills of the Apennine Mountains, about 180 feet or 55 meters above sea level. Even within the Bologna city center there are hills and smaller mountains. In addition, the Bologna Hills, just outside of town, produce some of the best local wines. This mountainous area means that winters tend to be cold and wet and summers hot and humid.

Bologna Italy Through The Seasons

So, when is the best time to visit Bologna Italy? In this section, we will talk about the weather in Bologna during each season as well as some reasons to visit (or not to visit). We will also mention some holidays to work around as well as events in Bologna and Emilia Romagna.

Visiting Bologna in Spring – April, May, and June

Bologna in spring can be simply lovely. The city is coming alive after the winter months. Temperatures are warmer but a lot more dry than the winter months. Average temperatures in Bologna range between 10-25C although warmer weather is not uncommon. Some of the interesting times to visit Bologna in spring include the Di Verde in Verde in May, which focuses on the Italian gardens of the city.

There are also a host of food and wine related festivals that are held outside of the Bologna city centre, but are worth checking out. Some of the festivals that are easiest to access from Bologna include a wild asparagus festival in May in Reggio Emilia. Reggio Emilia also hosts a Lambrusco festival each June.

One of the biggest and most important festivals in Emilia Romagna is held during the last week of June and the first week of July. It is the Festa Artusiana held in Forlimpopoli. For many of the other, smaller festivals, you can just show up and explore the small village hosting the event. For the Festa Artusiana, it is important to plan ahead, particularly to secure accommodations in Forlimpopoli.

There are few holidays to be aware of when planning travel to Bologna in the spring months. May 1 is International Workers’ Day. June 2 is an Italian public holiday called Republic Day. Shops and restaurants might be closed during these days. It is best to plan ahead. This is a popular time to plan a trip to Bologna and accommodations can be a little more scarce, so plan ahead.

Visiting Bologna in Summer – July and August

As for the summer, as mentioned above about the best time to visit Italy, summer is not the best month to visit Bologna either. In late June and early July, visits are still possible with little disruption. Later in July and into August things become more complicated. Temperatures in the peak of the summer can reach into the 30s.

One of the best reasons to visit Bologna in the summer is that there is an outdoor film festival held in Piazza Maggiore, which can be magical. A large outdoor screen placed in the center of the Piazza, just below the steps of the Bologna Cathedral.

Other than that, particularly for food lovers, many of the fresh food markets shut down as do many of the top restaurants. What is open are often restaurants and bars that cater more to tourists than locals. There are also fewer food festivals in Emilia Romagna during July and August.

Visiting Bologna in Fall – September, October, and November

Visiting Bologna In The Fall

Fall is another great time to visit Bologna. Temperatures start to cool, with temperatures ranging between 10-20C, although colder temperatures are not uncommon. There are a series of food and wine festivals and some of the top produce products are in season, including mushrooms. Some of these festivals are easy to visit from Bologna on a day trip to nearby towns or villages. October 4 is also Bologna’s Saint’s Day, which is a good time to visit to witness the celebrations.

In September, Parma hosts a Festival for Prosciutto di Parma and Piacenza hosts a Coppa Festival. It’s a month to celebrate meat! Looking for something a little more adventurous, how about an Eel Festival in Ferrara. Some of the best festivals in the area occur in November, including November Porc in Parma. The nearby town of Imola hosts Baccanale, a 16-day festival including exhibitions, markets, food, and wine, along with several food routes focused on the dishes and tradition of Imola.

As for events in Bologna, check out Mortadella Please with mortadella tastings and cooking classes. And a definite Bologna must see has to be the crowning of the Mortadella Queen. Emilia Romagna’s largest wine exhibit takes place in November in Bologna. Enologica represents all of the top winemakers in the region.

During weekends throughout October and November, one of the largest fall festivals is TartuFesta in the Bologna Hills. The heart of the truffle festival includes the events held in Savigno, the Citta del Tartufo, and Sasso Marconi, which also sees displays of Italian food products.

It should also be noted that early in the fall is considered the high season to visit Bologna and accommodations can be more expensive. It’s best to book ahead of time to get the best rates. This is particularly the case in October when there is a huge trade fair that causes many hotels to be booked.

Is Bologna Worth Visiting In Winter?

Is Bologna Worth Visiting In The Winter
Bologna in the winter months

People tend to avoid traveling in the winter months due to unpredictable weather, but Bologna winter can be magical. With holiday shopping, white twinkle lights, and all sorts of events, Bologna is worth considering during the winter. Don’t forget, during inclement weather there are loads of Bologna museums to visit to keep travelers occupied. Also, Bologna hosts an amazing network of porticoes and covered walkways, meaning the city can still be explored during bad weather.

In Piazza Maggiore during New Year, the “Vecchione”, an icon of the changing year, which is set on fire. Winter also means a celebrationg of Bolognese food. After the wine harvest and mushroom and truffle festivals end, it’s a fabulous time to eat in Emilia Romagna. It’s the typical time to eat tortellini in brodo, a small handmade pasta served in broth.

Traditional meat dishes include cotechino and zampone. Cotechino is a fresh sausage, meaning it is not cured or aged. It is made with pork, back fat, and pork rinds. Traditionally, it was a way to serve the less tender cuts of meat. The meat is ground, placed inside a casing, boiled, and cooked in a dry oven.

Zampone is similar to cotechino in that it is a fresh sausage, ground with salt, seasonings, and pork rinds. The difference is that the sausage is stuffed inside a pork trotter, or the foot and front leg of the pig. The pork meat can be a mixed bag including tasty pig cheek, but also head, throat, or shoulder meat. During the winter months, it’s common to find both cotechino and zampone served with lentils or white beans, along with mashed potatoes. They are both hearty dishes, often reserved for Christmas or New Year.

Even if cotechino and zampone can’t be enough to talk travelers into visiting in the winter, winter can be the best time to visit Bologna Italy.

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Amber Hoffman

Amber Hoffman is a food and travel writer for With Husband In Tow, Food And Drink Destinations, and Bologna Living. Although she lives in Spain with her husband, Eric, they have traveled together to over 70 countries over the last 20 years. Amber is also the author of the gastronomy guide "The Food Traveler's Guide To Emilia Romagna: How to taste the history and tradition of Italy."

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