Bologna Gay Travel Guide & Map 2021

Upcoming Events in Bologna

|  2 – 19 September 2021
Gender Bender Festival 2021: annual international festival ›dedicated to the new imagery related to gender identity, sexual orientation and body representation‹.
In 2021 again already in September and as open-air events.
@ Giardino del Cavaticcio
|  4 October 2021
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.
|  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)

Accommodation Tip

Hotel. ****, from 60 €
Modern hotel in a quiet area near the exhibition centre BolognaFiere, 25 minutes to walk from the historical center of Bologna. The facilities and services are on a high level, the rooms are spacious, and the staff is very friendly and helpful. More of a business hotel, but as such it has attractive weekend rates for tourists.
@ Via Ferruccio Parri 9
Bologna 40128

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.