The Piazza Maggiore is truly Bologna’s beating heart, packed with attractions and walled by four of the city’s best-known palaces. Watched over by the famously unfinished facade of the enormous San Pertonio Basilica, the piazza is one of the city’s most thriving spots.
Dating from the 15th century, the square has remained largely unchanged, other than the instalment of a vast stage area at the beginning of the 20th century. At the centre of this lively space is the Fountain of Neptune – an enormous monumental fountain, crowned by a figure of Neptune wielding a trident that is said to have influenced the Maserati car company’s logo. Many of the museums ringing the square are worth a look in, but the main attraction has to be the mighty basilica which looms high above the square’s time-worn stones. The rather imposing facade hides a breathtaking interior, fluted with enormous pink marble columns that rise to a ceiling more than 14 storeys above.