Bologna Gay Travel Guide & Map 2021

Upcoming Events in Bologna

|  31 December 2021
New Year's Eve in Bologna: on Piazza Maggiore with music and shows and the traditional bonfire (Rogo del Vecchione), with which the inhabitants of Bologna symbolically leave behind all the bad things of the old year.
|  21 – 23 January 2022
Arte Fiera 2022: annual international fair for modern and contemporary art.
@ Fiera di Bologna (Viale della Fiera 20)
|  25 June – 3 July 2022
Il Cinema Ritrovato 2022: annual international film festival with rediscovered or restored movies of the past, organized by the Cineteca di Bologna. With widescreen presentations, open-air screening spaces (among others on the Piazza Maggiore) and silent films with live music.
|  4 October 2022
Festa di San Petronio: the feast day of St. Petronius, patron saint of Bologna.
In the evening with music and other activities on Piazza Maggiore and fireworks at around 23:15.

Accommodation Tip

Hotel. ****, from 80 €
Stylish hotel in contemporary design with air-conditioned rooms, modern facilities and a gardened roof terrace. Very well located in the city center between the railway central station and the historic heart of Bologna.
@ Via dell'Orso 6
Bologna 40121

About Bologna and its gay life

Bologna was founded by the Etruscans 2500 years ago. In the 13th century it became the sixth biggest city in Europe, and in the 15th century it was an important Italian Renaissance city. Today, Bologna is a major industrial center and transport hub in Italy and hosts some of the biggest and most prominent trade fairs and exhibitions in Europe.

One of the main attractions that make Bologna a special place (and a dream for travellers who like to explore a city by strolling around its streets) are the arcades (›porticoes‹) in the historical center of Bologna, totalling 38 kilometres. In 2021, they have been inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites.

But above all, today's face of Bologna is shaped by its university and its students. Founded in 1088, the university is the oldest one in Europe. And the 80000 students in the city represent a fifth of the total population of Bologna. An evening in the lively student area around Piazza Giuseppe Verdi and Via Zamboni is an experience not to be missed.

Bologna has also the most tolerant and open-minded atmosphere throughout Italy. One reason for this – beside the many students – is that Bologna had been ruled by the centre-left almost all the years after World War II. And although the gay scene in Bologna is quite ›concise‹ the local authorities afford a LGBT center, the Cassero, that is unparalleled in Italy and even most of the gay hot spots in Europe.

Annual highlights and queer events are the Bologna Pride in June and the queer film and arts festival Gender Bender in autumn.

For Italy, see also our gay guides for Rome, Milan and Florence.