Everything within the city wall is walk-able. As an example, walking from Porta Santo Stefano located at the south part of the wall to the train station located in the north is about a forty minute walk. The city may seem confusing at first with all of its narrow zigzag streets but you’ll quickly become familiar with it and how it makes sense. Most major roads lead to Piazza Maggiore so you can never truly get lost. If all else fails, look up and you’ll find the Two Towers.
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TPER is the public transportation system for the Emilia-Romagna region. A well known stereotype is that the Italian system can be disorganized. That’s far from the truth for Bologna. The transportation system is surprisingly organized and usually on time. You can get to most places with the bus within the city wall and a bit outside of the wall too.
It’s rare but occasionally the coin machine may be broken on the bus. To be safe, look at the front of the bus for a red or green sign. Green means the coin machine works and will print out a ticket for you. Red means there’s no coin machine so you’ll need to get a ticket before you board or use your TPER card if you have one.
There’s a large fine if you don’t pay. TPER security will often wear civilian clothing to blend in with the crowd. While on board, a badge will come out asking to see your ticket. Always have a ticket.
The bus costs 1,50€ if paid on-board and is valid for 75 minutes within the urban area. Purchasing in advanced before boarding costs 1,30€. The ticket allows for multiple trips with a single ticket as long as it’s within 75 minutes. There’s the option to pay with coins but keep in mind that it does not provide change. It does not need to be exact as long as it’s at least 1,50€
It’s worth purchasing a daily pass for 5,00€ if you plan to purchasing more than three tickets in a single day. These can be purchased at a re-seller. The ticket is valid for 24-hours from when it’s been validated. It’ll need to be validated for each leg of the trip.
The TPER Card can be topped up at most major supermarkets and convince stores (often called tabaccheria). The card itself can be purchased at Punto Tper located at Via Guglielmo Marconi, 4, 40122 Bologna BO. Identification is required to purchase a TPER Card which can be your passport. They’ll take a picture and print out a card.
Muver is a super convenient app available only for Android phones with NFC. It’s the the easiest option and one of the cheapest because you can purchase tickets at the reduced advanced rate of 1,30€ per ride at any time. The app is entirely in English. Single ride passes, airport bus, and FICO bus are available to purchase on the app. It does require a phone number for verification purposes to create an account. Unfortunately, it’s only available for Android.
Corrente is a car sharing service provided by TPER. They offer full-size cars. The perimeter you’re allowed to drive these at is small and limited. These can be great for large grocery runs or for moving. It’s still more convenient to take the bus for every day channel but can come in handy when you need the extra space. The cost is 0,25€ a minute with a max of 10€ per hour and 30€ a day.
Every weekend all year round from 8:00 on Saturday to 22:00 on Sunday and every bank holiday, several streets are open exclusively to pedestrians and bicycles. This is a great time to explore the city. I’ve marked the streets that are for pedestrians on the map below. During the holidays and nice weather weekends, the streets can get busy and lively. You’ll find performers, sweet stalls, and sometimes festivals occurring on the weekends.
Note that public transport may have different routes during these times.
Every day from 7:00 to 20:00, cars are subject to limited restrictions. Within the city wall, Bologna is controlled by Limited Traffic Zone (ZTL) monitored by cameras “Sirio electronic” that control access. If you do not have permission to go in then you’ll run the risk of a fine. Residents and businesses often provided these passes. A daily pass can be purchased up to a maximum of three per month for each car at the price of 6€ or a single 4-day ticket at 15€. You can buy these passes at the following locations.
Be aware that rental cars do not include daily passes within the Limited Traffic Zone. Cameras within the city wall will send the fine to the car company which will rely itself back to you. Many car rental companies will charge an additional administration fee as a result.