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Arca is keen on developing students' linguistic and communicative skills through activities that introduce them to Italian cultural and social life. This is why our language courses have two scheduled weekly activities and guided tours around towns of historical or artistic interest. And during weeks that include a national holiday (when the school will be closed for the whole day) we organize an extra afternoon activity.

Here are some examples of the activities *

  •   guided tours around museums, exhibitions, monuments and important buildings of Bologna
  •   cultural events such as film, dance and music festivals, concerts, art exhibitions,
  •   film shows at school with an introduction by the teacher and a guided discussion; afterwards, aperitifs in a bar in the centre, dinner in typical Bolognese trattorie.
  •   half-day trips to towns of artistic interest not far from Bologna: Modena, the town of the Ferrari, with its splendid cathedral; Ferrara with its fascinating castle, Ravenna with its magnificent mosaics and the tomb of Dante Alighieri, etc.
  •   day-trips to Towns in Emilia Romagna, particularly when there are special events: Parma, Modena (balsamic vinegar); Ferrara and the Buskers' Festival; Ravenna and its mosaics


On request we can also organise:

  •   half-day visits to local businesses of commercial and cultural interest: Ducati, Ferrari, a traditional vinegar works producing the renowned balsamic vinegar of Modena, etc.
  •   practical cookery courses with a final dinner of typical dishes at a local cooking school
  •   wine tasting at a typical Bolognese enoteca.


  • * activities may vary according to the season and availability


To give you a better idea, here are two samples of a typical weekly programme:

Tuesday 11 March, 8 pm
Cena in trattoria! (dinner in a trattoria)

We've booked tables in a cosy trattoria in the centre of town where we can sample some of the many dishes Bolognese cuisine is famous for: tagliatelle al ragù, tortellini, lasagne..., the best local gastronomy can offer!

Thursday 13 March, 4 pm
Visit to the Archiginnasio building

We are going to visit one of the most important historical buildings of the town: the Archiginnasio, the original location of the 11th century Bolognese Studio, the oldest University in Europe. The building, designed by architect Antonio Morandi, known as "the Terrible", contains beautiful frescoes, monuments dedicated to its professors and over 6,000 coats-of-arms commemorating the many students who studied in Bologna between 1563 and 1803. Upstairs, you can also see the fascinating anatomical theatre.

Friday 15 March, from 3 to 7 pm
Half-day trip to Ferrara

We leave from Bologna train station and in half an hour we are in Ferrara, former home of the Este dynasty. As you reach the centre, you are struck by the charm of this little town, brimming with history and art, with its slow rhythm, many cafés and tiny shops.

After a break for a coffee, we'll visit the splendid cathedral of San Giorgio, with its original Romanesque architecture later completed in a Gothic style. Then we'll take a walk through the medieval part of town and end our tour with a visit to the Castello Estense, built in the 14th century as a fort for defensive measures, then transformed into a palace with a courtyard, a meeting-place for literati, painters and many others.

Monday 15 May: finding your way round town
Together we'll take a stroll around our beautiful town, home of one of the oldest universities in the world. We'll see some of the most important parts of the historic centre - one of the best preserved in Europe - and sample the welcoming and lively atmosphere of Bologna, exploring its narrow streets in search of some of its more secluded corners.

Wednesday 17 May: Visit to the Accademia Filarmonica
We'll visit Palazzo Carrati and embark on a journey through the history of music in the heart of the city's historic centre. With Maestro Girati as our guide, we'll see the Sala Mozart, Sala Martini, the library, the historic archives, the Sala Rossini, Sala Farinelli, Sala Verdi, Wagner and Respighi (duration: 2 hours).

Thursday 18 May: "Apericena da Costanza"
We'll meet for an aperitif in a true Bolognese home, where we can sample homemade products typical of the Bolognese culinary culture. Drinks will be accompanied by an assortment of snacks: mixed bruschette, Bolognese crescenta with a selection of cured meats, taralli and olives, a sample of tradition handmade tortellini and a tasty mixed salad. And for dessert there will be rice cake and traditional 'ciambella' sponge.




Main events to be held in Bologna and surroundings:

    Weekly (Fridays and Saturdays)
    Mercato della Piazzola e della Montagnola (www.lapiazzola.com): Open air market of new and second-hand clothes and accessories

  • FORTNIGHTLY (Fridays and Saturdays)
    Deco Mela Art Market of local art and craft

  • WEEKLY (Saturdays)
    Mercato della Terra (www.slowfoodbologna.it) Farmers' market

  • The second weekend in every month (except July and August)
    Bologna Antique Market

    Sagre (food and wine-festivals), fairs and markets in Bologna and surroundings (www.giraitalia.it/sagre/emilia/bologna/, www.bolognafiere.it e creativa.altervista.org/mercatini.htm)

You'll find an update on events in Bologna and Emilia Romagna month by month on our Facebook group.


Like to learn Italian in the comfort of your hotel? Arca, in cooperation with Bologna Art Hotels, organizes intensive Italian courses held in the hotel you'll be staying in. Packages are intended for individuals, couples or small groups, and include, beside the Italian classes, the stay at Art Hotel Orologio (in the heart of the medieval centre, next to the impressive Piazza Maggiore square), breakfast, use of hotel bicycles and wi-fi Internet inside the hotel.

You can choose between various options differing in type and duration. The timetable is flexible to suit your commitments and if you wish, you can arrange the course-content with your teacher. You'll be provided with all didactic materials, you can join in with the cultural activities of the school and, at the end of the course, you'll be entitled to an attendance certificate recognized by the Italian Ministry of Public Education, showing the duration of classes attended and the level of language-proficiency attained.

If you’d like to know more, why not visit Bologna Art Hotels website?