Bologna Inside - Second Edition

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Finding fun activities for children outside of school in Bologna is no problem, the challenge is finding time to experience them all. School bulletin boards and your local or central URP are good sources for information. Most swimming pools, sports clubs and many gyms offer special classes for kids. The BimbiBo site has a calendar that lists many kid-related activities, including special museum openings, library readings, puppet shows and more:


Bologna’s centri giochi or ludoteche (play centers) are a great way to meet other parents while your children ages 0-6 play with their peers in a controlled environment. There are many such centers throughout Bologna, most are open a few mornings or afternoons a week and the first visit is usually free. Subsequent visits are paid with a ticket, purchased in packets of ten. These tickets can be used at any participating center in the city. The nominal entry fee often includes snacks for the kids and coffee and tea for the adults. Many play centers also offer additional courses such as baby massage and arts and crafts.

Your local quartiere or URP office can provide you with a list of these centers.


Bologna’s principal children’s library is located in the Sala Borsa in Piazza Maggiore. It boasts a large collection of books in many languages including English, German, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese and Russian as well as videos, DVDs, an internet point and a pleasant reading and play area for small children. It’s the perfect place to take a quiet break from the city when out with children. It’s also a convenient and relatively private space for nursing a baby or otherwise tending to a child’s needs. There are also numerous spazi lettura (reading rooms) throughout the city. In addition to children’s books and videos they often offer readings and creative workshops. See the Sala Borsa website at

I’m not sure how I would have survived the first few months of motherhood without my local ludoteca. When my daughter was born, I felt very isolated so I signed up for a baby massage class. There, I discovered ten other women all experiencing the same mixed emotions I was. After the massage lessons, we passed on to conversations in which we talked about birth, death, our husbands, and everything in between. These conversations were a revelation to me and helped me feel more confident as a mother and less foreign as a woman. As my children grow we continue to use the center, but it is the friendships I made with the other women that I cherish the most.

Alexa Sinel


The children’s theater Testoni Ragazzi puts on plays for children ages 1 and up from November to April and organizes workshops and summer activities for older children.

Testoni Ragazzi

Via Matteotti, 16
Tel. 051.4153800 tickets
Tel. 051.4153700 office

The Montagnola park also offers a theater series for children ages 4 and up.

Isola Montagnola – A Teatro nel Parco (Theater in the Park)

Via Irnerio, 2/3
Tel. 051.4228708


From January to May, many of Bologna’s museums participate in a special calendar of children’s events called Il Museo Si Diverte. The URP offices and websites usually carry each year’s program. Museums of particular interest to children include: Museo Civico Archeologico, Museo del Patrimonio Industriale, Museo di Zoologia, Museo Geologico Capallini, Museo della Preistoria Luigi Donini. For details about these museums and others, see Chapter 8: Tempo Libero.