To learn a language well, it is important to know the culture it springs from. The musical quality of Italian reflects the beauty and charm of our country. Arca always lays emphasis on developing students' linguistic and communicative skills through activities introducing them to Italian cultural and social life. In fact, the language courses have two scheduled weekly activities and guided tours around towns of historical or artistic interest.

Join us and take part in:

  • 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 ….*

  • On request we can also organize 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.

  • half-day trips to art-towns 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.

  • * activities may vary according to the season and availability


To find out more, take a look at a sample 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 try some of the many dishes Bolognese cuisine is famous for: tagliatelle al ragù, tortellini, lasagne..., the best local gastronomy can offer! Then, after dinner...

Thursday 13 March, 4 pm
Visit to the Archiginnasio building

We are visiting one of the most important historical buildings of the town together: 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 pursued their studies in Bologna between 1563 and 1803. On the first floor, you can also see the fascinating anatomical theatre...

Saturday 15 March, from 9 am to 3 pm
Half-day trip to Ferrara

We leave from Bologna Central Station and in half an hour reach Ferrara, famous for the prestigious Este dynasty, but also for its multitudes of bicycles! As you get to 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 cappuccino, we visit the splendid cathedral of San Giorgio, with its Roman architecture alleviated by Gothic elements on high! Then we take a walk through the medieval part and finish up by visiting the Castello Estense, or Castle of the Estes, built in the 14th century as a fort for defensive measures, then transformed into a palace with a court, a meeting-place for literati, painters and many others...

On request, at an additional cost, we can organize:

  • day-trips to towns and medieval borghi of the region, particularly to special events: Parma, Torrechiara and Langhirano; Mantua and the Festival of Literature; Ferrara and the Buskers' Festival; fiestas, medieval and renaissance festivals, etc.

    see a sample day-trip

    Leave at 9 am, return at 8 pm

    We leave from Bologna Central Station and about an hour later reach Parma, hometown of the famous 16th century painter, Correggio, the great composer Giuseppe Verdi, and Arturo Toscanini, the celebrated conductor. It is also the home of Parmesan cheese, Parma ham and tortelli.

    After a good breakfast, we begin our tour with Palazzo della Pilotta, built between the 16th and 17th centuries and belonging to the renowned Farnese family, with its splendid wooden theatre where performances were held. Then we move on to the 11th century Romanesque cathedral and 12th century baptistery in Piazza Duomo, before treating ourselves to a tasty lunch at one of the little restaurants in Via Farini…


    In the afternoon we take a bus into the countryside: half an hour's ride will take us to the fairytale castle of Torrechiara, built in the 15th century and surrounded by vineyards and a small hamlet of stone houses. Built for defensive purposes, the manor soon became a love-nest for Count Pier Maria Rossi, who owned over 40 castles, and his mistress, Bianca Pellegrini. The frescoes depict scenes from courtly love rituals...


    After a walk around the hamlet, we take a five-minute bus-ride to Langhirano, where we'll visit the Parma ham museum and learn the secrets of this royal food, after which we’ll taste some typical products of the area … 

  • visits to farm-businesses and tourist farms, where you can discover for yourself the richness of tradition and culture surrounding the wine and gastronomy of the region

  • two-day weekend trips to places of cultural and touristic interest: Venice; Verona and Vicenza; Rimini and Urbino; Cremona and Piacenza; Pisa and Lucca; Siena and San Gimignano; Florence; Rome, etc.

    see a sample two-day trip

    Leave on Saturday at 9 am, return late Sunday afternoon

    We leave by train from Bologna Central and reach Venice after roughly two hours. Stepping out of the station of Santa Lucia, we are greeted by the sight of the Canal Grande and are immediately enveloped in the magical atmosphere of Venice, city of canals and gondolas, where the streets are known as calli and the squares as campi (fields), world-famous for its unique, fairy-tale charm. You'll feel as if you had travelled back in time, surrounded by beautiful palazzi and sparkling light reflected off the buildings mirrored in the water.

    A short stop-off in our hotel, then we take a walk to Ca' d'Oro, a beautiful 15th century house. After that, we cross the Canal Grande by gondola to get to the characteristic fish-market. The crossing doesn't last long, but it is a great feeling to step onto a typical Venetian vessel. If you wish, we could decide to make a longer trip by gondola (at the price of €20 per person). You'll also be struck by the colours, sounds and general liveliness of the market, as well as by the curious Venetian dialect.

    Then we proceed towards Rialto Bridge and Campo dei Frari and look at the majestic 13th century basilica, after which we take a stroll around the most important monuments of the city: the 14th century Doge's Palace and the 11th century basilica of St. Mark. Later, we can enjoy the beauty of the lagoon on a long walk along Riva degli Schiavoni, crossing the famous "Bridge of Sighs", possibly stopping to watch the sunset.

    A ferryboat will take us to a trattoria, where we can try typical Venetian dishes, or even just a pizza. After dinner, those who wish to can return to the hotel, while those who still have the energy can either listen to music played in Piazza San Marco or venture forth and discover the little streets and squares, by the light of Venetian lamplight.


    After breakfast, we catch a ferry to the isle of Burano, which is famous for its lace and colourful fishermen's houses. Later we sail to Torcello, the island with the beautiful basilica consecrated in 1008 AD and the church of Santa Fosca dating back to the 11th-12th century. You will enjoy the return journey by ferry-boat along the Grand Canal, sailing past all the lovely sights of Venice, before we wend our way back towards Bologna.

  • practical cookery courses with a final dinner of typical dishes

  • winetasting at a typical Bolognese enoteca.



Main events to be held in Bologna and surroundings:

    Weekly (Fridays and Saturdays)
    Mercato della Piazzola e della Montagnola ( 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 ( 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 (, e

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?


The following are a list of links to sites that could be useful to you for your stay in Bologna and for learning more about Italian language and culture.





Guide to Museums in Bologna (from the website of the Province of Bologna)