Travel to Bologna
Flying to Bologna
British Airways and Ryanair run direct flights from the UK to Bologna. Cheap flights are available year-round, although prices tend to go up in summer. There are no direct flights from the USA.
From London - 2 hours 5 minutes; New York - 9 hours 35 minutes; Los Angeles - 12 hours 50 minutes; Toronto - 10 hours 10 minutes; Sydney - 20 hours 20 minutes.
Travel by road
Italy has an excellent selection of autostrade (A) (motorways), the main north-south link being the autostrada del sole, which links Milan with Naples in the south of Italy. Speed limits on motorways are 130kph (81mph), while on non-urban highways it's 110kph (68mph). In built-up areas it's 50kph (31mph). Motorways are tolled, so travellers on a budget might prefer the stradestatali (SS), which are often fast, multi-lane carriageways that are toll free. Stradeprovinciale are perfect for exploring Italy's hidden countryside.
Car lights must be switched on at any time on autostrade and stradestatali. All those not in possession of an EU licence must carry an International Driving Permit alongside their national licence. The minimum age for driving a car is 18, but from 14 years up you are permitted to drive a moped under 50cc (for which you don't need a licence). Up to 125cc you must be 16 years or over, and for above this you need a motorcycle licence. EU nationals taking their own vehicle will need an International Insurance Certificate, also known as a Carta Verde (Green Card), issued by your car-insurance company. Automobile Club Italia (ACI) (tel: +39 06 491 115; www.aci.it) provides further information.
Emergency breakdown services
ACI (tel: +39 803 116).
Bologna is linked to Milan, Florence and Rome by the A1. The A13 arrives directly from Venice and Padua, while the A14 links Bologna to the coastal towns of Ravenna and Rimini.
There are numerous coach service providers operating to and from Bologna's coach terminal, Autostazione di Bologna, Piazza XX Settembre 6 (tel: +39 051 245 400; www.autostazionebo.it), just around the corner from the train station.
Pullman (coaches) from regional centres such as Ferrara and Modena arrive at this station. There are also long-distance services from Milan and Ancona and international services from London, Paris and Frankfurt.
Time to city
From Milan - 2 hours; Rome - 4 hours; Venice - 1 hour 40 minutes; Florence - 1 hour 15 minutes.
Travel by Rail
Bologna's train station, Bologna Centrale, is located at Piazza Medaglie d'Oro, in the north of the city. Facilities in the station include car hire, banks, bars, restaurants, newspaper stands and a pharmacy. Passengers must validate their printed tickets by stamping them in the yellow machines, located on the platform, before boarding, to avoid having to pay a fine. E-tickets are also available. Supplements might be charged, depending on the type of train taken (Diretto, Interregionale, Espresso, Intercity or Eurostar).
Bologna Centrale is one of Italy's main crossroads for both national and international trains. It has good connections to the main destinations in Italy and is on the high-speed network, which has drastically cut travel times to numerous destinations.
Trenitalia (tel: +39 06 6847 5475; www.trenitalia.com) is the national rail company, which runs a fast, efficient and good-value service throughout Italy. Italo (tel: +39 06 422 991; www.italotreno.it) offers a high-speed service to Venice via Padua, Turin via Milan, and Salerno via Florence, Rome and Naples.
From Milan - 1 hour; Florence - 30 minutes; Rome - 2 hours 30 minutes; Venice - 1 hour 30 minutes; Naples - 5 hours.