Summer Events in Bologna

Ciao tutti! Happy first day of summer!

Can you believe it? I’ve been pretending summer started  three weeks ago (because it was boiling HOT) but really, today is the official day according to our solstice calendar. The weather is such a trickster!

Last night I had a sudden realization. I was out with some friends and we were trying to decide on what to do. Naturally, we did what any so called millenial-born youngster would do and we asked Google. 

Google, “Tell me about some events in Bologna”.  


They were also all in Italian. :(

That’s when I realized that this is a major problem for anyone in Bologna who doesn’t speak Italian or who simply can’t be bothered to search through Google’s long list of Bologna events. If you’re one of those people, this post is for you. Because I want you to have fun in Bologna! 

Summertime in Bologna really is the best. Not just because of the weather and not just because you get to pig out on gelato, but also because summer events in Bologna ROCK

So sharing with you some of my favorite events, because they really are worth sharing.


Outdoor Cinema in Bologna's Piazza Maggiore

Foto: Cineteca di Bologna

1. Open-air cinema in Piazza Maggiore – I can’t even describe to you how magical this event is. Every summer, the city of Bologna sets up a giant outdoor cinema in the middle of Piazza Maggiore, the city’s primary square. For two full months they show a film every single night. It’s completely free (winning!) and open to the public. The films are often shown in the original language (with Italian subtitles) and they air a wide variety of films, from recent Oscar winners to old black-and-white classics. Films usually start around 9:45 pm, but be sure to get there early as finding a seat can be difficult. I like to bring some snacks while I wait for the film to start. Click here for a full list of this year’s films.

Botanique Garden Concert in Bologna

Foto: Schicchi

2. Botanique Garden Concerts – What happens when you mix live music, cheap (and good) food, beer gardens, university students and a whole bunch of outdoor lounge pillows together? Botanique. The Botanique garden concerts is another annual event in Bologna, often popular among university students, but also producing of an impressive concert line-up that any age could enjoy. The concerts are free and occur nearly every night, with the exception of Sunday when there is a daytime picnic with local produce available for purchase. Click here for the full program. 

BOFF in Bologna

3. BOFF – BOFF is a fairly new, outdoor aperitivo/social garden/Indie film event. I still don’t know what BOFF stands for but that’s okay. I discovered BOFF because it’s located in September 11 park just near my house where I usually go to walk. They have a wide range of events – from cheap aperitivos, language exchanges, salsa dance nights, and indie film showings. It’s a really cute place to go for a casual night out. Click here for the weekly programs. 

Vicolo Bolognetti Courtyard Concerts in Bologna

Foto: Schicchi

4. Bolognetti Rocks Courtyard Concerts – Vicolo Bolognetti is sort of a legendary place for the youth of Bologna. A large courtyard near Via San Vitale in the university zone of Bologna, Vicolo Bolognetti is only open during the summer when they host evening concerts one Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Thursdays are typically a throwback 80’s dance night, Fridays are for Brits and Indie hits, while Saturdays are for Rock n’ Roll baby! Click here for full list of events and pricing information. 

Mercato della Terra

5. Mercato della Terra – If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you know well that I LOVE LOVE LOVE Mercato della Terra. It’s the best outdoor marekt in Bologna. Really. Part of the Slow Food assocaition, they offer lots of locally produced food from fresh fruits and veggies, meats, cheeses, seafood, eggs, bread, wine, and even cakes. The tricky part is that they are only open on Saturday mornings (9am-2pm), Thusday nights (5:30pm-11:00pm) and during June, July and August on Monday nights too (5:30pm-11:00pm). Maybe their limited hours is what makes them so special. Located in Piazza Pasolini (near Cinema Lumiere). Click here for a full calendar and info. 

Mercato dell Erbe Bologna

6. Mercato delle Erbe Outdoor Aperitivo – Thanks to the recent expansion of Mercato delle Erbe eateries, there is now an even BIGGER out door aperitivo on Via Belvedere. Nearby bars and restaurants have started to place more outdoor seating, offering a wide range of aperitivos from Banco 32’s fish tapas to Bar Senza Nome’s standard Spritz-chips offerings. It’s really a magical little corner of Bologna, a perfect summer aperitivo under the stars, offering a taste for everyone.

Jazz concerts in Montagnola Park, Bologna

Foto: Comune di Bologna Rete Civica

7. Jazz + Dinner in Montagnola Park – A seriously AWESOME new event in Bologna that has brought back to life the deserted, forgotten Montagnola Park. Live Jazz concerts will play from June 10 – September 5 and dinner will be provided by the famous È Cucina restaurant with fixed menu options from 10, 15, 20 euro. You definitely will want to book a table as the place fills up quickly. In case of rain, concerts will be moved to È Cucina on via Leopardi 4. Click here for program details.