Parking in Bologna or train to Bologna: a useful guide
FIRST OF ALL: WHERE IS BOLOGNA?
Bologna lies in a very strategic area, very close to Milan, Venice and Florence, which is why it is one of the most important railway and route connections of the north of Italy. Wether you come from Florence, Venice, Milan, Parma or anywhere else, you’ll easily get to Bologna!
But where to park your car in Bologna? And how to get to the old town from the Train Station?
Here are the Art & Food Tours tips and infos for you to get to Bologna safely and stress-free.
WHERE TO PARK THE CAR IN BOLOGNA
Let’s start with the basics: the ZTL.
WHAT DOES ZTL MEAN?
ZTL stands for “Zona Traffico Limitato”, which can be translated into “Limited Traffic Zone”. If you enter it, you’ll get a ticket.
Bologna’s historical city centre is somehow included in a ring of boulevards that follow the print of the long-gone XIV century circle of walls.
My advice is: don’t enter the historical city centre with your car. Better find a parking spot among the blue striped ones on the streets, or look for the closest parking lot or multi-level garage.
All of them are not free but they’re pretty safe and easy to find.
BLUE STRIPES PARKING SPOTS
First of all, the only color of the stripes you can take into consideration is the color blue. Blue stripes mean that it’s a parking spot to be paid by coins or credit card at the machine, which is usually red or black.
Prices vary, averagely between 1,50 € and 2,40 € per hour. Usually, the parking is to be paid between 8am and 8 pm: you can usually check this information on the sign above the machines. It means that if you park the car at 8.30 pm, parking will be free until 8 am of the next day.
The machine will give you a receipt ticket that you’ll have to display on your windscreen.
You may also pay via app, called Mycicero. Download it (it’s in Italian and English) and follow all the steps to pay the parking with your cellphone.
You can also consider parking the car in a garage then walk or hop on a bus, perhaps to get to our Art & Food Bologna Tours meeting point!
GARAGES AND UNDERGROUND PARKING LOTS IN BOLOGNA
There are many options; here are some of the best garages in Bologna where to park your car that are close enough to the historical city centre and the two towers.
• APCOA Parking Piazza VIII Agosto
A multi-level underground park car underneath a large square, and the entrance is in Via Ciro Menotti.
Prices: between 2,90€ and 1,40€ depending on how many hours your car is parked, 22€ for the day.
Walking distance from the two towers: 12 minutes.
Bus distance from the two towers: 8 minutes with bus number 11 direction “Ponticella Edera” or bus number 20 direction “Casalecchio Marconi”
Useful link: https://www.apcoa.it/en/parking-in/bologna/piazza-viii-agosto/
• APCOA Parking Riva Reno
Entrance is in Via Azzo Gardino 61B. It’s another multi-level underground car park close to the Cineteca, the Cavaticcio park and the Mambo Museum.
Prices: Between 2,50 € and 0,20 € depending on how many hours your car is parked, 17€ for the day.
Walking distance from the two towers: 20 minutes.
Bus distance from the two towers: about 13 minutes with bus number 30 direction “San Michele in Bosco”.
Useful link: https://www.apcoa.it/en/parking-in/bologna/riva-reno/
• Parcheggio di Bologna Centrale P1
This parking lot is easy to find and you can enter from Via Giacomo Matteotti, but if you want you may consider give a look around for a blue stripe parking spot in the surrounding streets such as Via Aristotile Fioravanti, Via Alessandro Tiarini, Via Niccolò dall’Arca.
Prices: between 1,70€ and e 2,00€ per hour.
Walking distance from the two towers: 23 minutes.
Bus distance from the two towers:
15 minutes with bus number 11B direction “Ponticella Edera” or 20 minutes with bus number 30 direction “San Michele in Bosco”.
Useful link: https://www.metropark.it/content/metropark/it/parcheggi/parcheggi-per-regione/emilia-romagna/parcheggio-bologna-centrale-p1.html
• Nuovo parcheggio stazione
Same area as the previous one, in Via Aristotile Fioravanti 4. Same as previously written: take a quick ride around to spot a free blue stripe parking spot first.
Prices: between 1,40€ and 2€ per hour, 13€ for the day.
Walking distance from the two towers: 30 minutes.
Bus distance from the two towers: 15 minutes with bus number 11B direction “Ponticella Edera” or 20 minutes with bus number 30 direction “San Michele in Bosco”.
Useful link: http://www.nuovoparcheggiostazione.it
• Parcheggio Ex Staveco Parking lot
This is in Viale Panzacchi, 10.
Prices: about 2€ per hour, 12 for the day.
Walking distance to the two towers: 15 minutes.
Bus distance from the two towers: about 13 minutes reaching the bus stop in Via XII Giugno and getting on the bus number 16 direction Piazza Cavour. Get off there and walk for extra 5 minutes.
Useful link: https://www.bolognawelcome.com/en/other/other/parking-ex-staveco
• PARCHEGGIO TANARI Parking Lot
This open air parking lot has very cheap parking fees but if you buy a bus ticket and take the shuttle bus from the parking to the city centre (number 29), the parking will be free!
Prices: 0,60€ per hour, 5€ for the day, free for 24h if you take the bus.
Walking distance from the two towers: 30 minutes.
Bus distance from the two towers: about 12-15 minutes; get off in Piazza Maggiore and walk for 2 extra minutes.
Useful link: https://www.bolognawelcome.com/en/other/other/parking-tanari
Bus tickets cost 1,50 € and you can buy them at the Tabacchi shop or at the newsagent’s kiosks.t useful informations to move around Bologna like a local!
WHERE TO BUY BUS TICKETS IN BOLOGNA
Bus tickets cost 1,50€ and you can buy them at the Tabacchi shop or at the newsagent’s kiosks.
You can also buy the ticket on the bus either paying 2€ at the red machine or with credit card.
The daily ticket is valid for 24 hours since the firs validation and costs 6€.
There’s also a multiple-validation ticket for 10 trips at the cost of 14€ and it is called City-Pass.
Each validation allows a 75 minutes trip, no matter how many buses you get on.
HOW TO CALL A TAXI IN BOLOGNA
Here is the phone number to get in touch with an operator: +39 051 372727
You’ll just have to tell when, where and for how many people.
HOW TO GET TO BOLOGNA BY TRAIN AND WALK TO THE CITY CENTRE
The Bologna Central Train Station, called Bologna Centrale, is in Piazza Medaglie d’Oro, 2. There’s a side for the regular trains and a side for the High-Speed trains.
HIGH SPEED TRAINS
High-speed trains may be a bit more expensive than regular trains but they’re the best choice if you want to get to Bologna quickly and spend a longer time in this lovely city! Some useful examples:
FLORENCE TO BOLOGNA: From Santa Maria Novella station. About 30 minutes trip!
VENICE TO BOLOGNA: From Santa Lucia station. About an hour and a half trip.
MILAN TO BOLOGNA: From Milano Centrale station.. About one hour trip.
ROME TO BOLOGNA: From Roma Termini station. About 2 and a half hours trip.
VERONA TO BOLOGNA: From Verona Porta Nuova station. About 1 hour trip.
PADOVA TO BOLOGNA: From Padova train station. About 1 hour trip.
Regular trains are cheaper but of course a bit slower; they’re perfect if you’re coming from one of the nearby cities. For instance:
PARMA TO BOLOGNA: About 1 hour trip.
MODENA TO BOLOGNA: About 30 minutes trip.
FERRARA TO BOLOGNA: About 40 minutes trip.
Here’s the Trenitalia link where you can buy your tickets online, both for regular trains and high-speed trains: https://www.trenitalia.com/en.html
You can also buy tickets at the train station using the self-service machines or at the ticket counters.
At Bologna Centrale train station there’s a luggage room, located next to the track 7 West (Binario 7 Ovest). It’s open from 7 am to 10 pm.
GETTING FROM THE TRAIN STATION TO PIAZZA MAGGIORE AND THE TWO TOWERS
Whether you arrive by high speed train or regular train, you’ve got to follow the sign to exit (Uscita) at Piazza Medaglie d’Oro.
From there, when you’re out, walk toward the street Via dell’Indipendenza, that starts at Piazza XX settembre where you’ll see a big city gate that used to be part of the ancient ring of walls.
Start there, walk straight: you’ll have to walk up the Indipendenza Street and the Neptune Fountain will welcome you, next to Piazza Maggiore.
To meet us and start the tour, when you arrive at the bottom of Via dell’Indipendenza, just turn left: you’ll see the Asinelli tower in front of you: here we are, ready for the Art and Food Bologna Tours!