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Move to Bologna: things to know if you’re considering moving to Bologna

Are you thinking about relocating to Italy and looking for a conveniently located, medium-sized city? Read our guide and find out why Bologna could be the right home for you.

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With almost 400.000 inhabitants, Bologna is the capital and biggest city of Emilia-Romagna region. Founded by Etruscans back in the 6th century BCE, Bologna has maintained an historical character, marked by the distinctive towers “Due Torri”, the many churches, fountains and the typical “portici” that were recently recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Thanks to its strategical position, Bologna represents a center of cultural and commercial exchange, where inclusion is considered as an important value. Moreover, the city is home to one of the oldest and most highly regarded universities in the western world, still welcoming nowadays a large population of international students, contributing to the city’s cosmopolitan character.

Before moving to Bologna and entering Italy

If you intend to move to Bologna, remember that the immigration process is different for EU and extra-EU nationals. As extra-EU you will need a visa to enter the country;  here you can find the different types of visa available.

After entering the country with a valid travel visa, you will need to register your presence: the public authorities in charge of releasing the official documents that allow extra-EU nationals to legally live in Italy are: Questura di Bologna and Prefettura di Bologna. As EU national, you will just be required to obtain your fiscal code.

Both EU and extra-EU citizens who are planning to live in Italy permanently need to enroll at Bologna Town Hall.

Finding a home when moving to Bologna

Our offices are located only 1 hour driving from Bologna city center and we pride ourselves on our 20+ years of experience helping expats to find the perfect home for their families. Due to its cosmopolitan character and to its productive industrial sector, the housing market in Bologna moves at very fast speed and rental prices are slightly above the average.

At first glance, finding a new home might look challenging, but the most important thing it getting to know the market – and our consultants are here to help you!

Despite the appearances, the urban area of Bologna is quite extended. Even though the city is known for being “bicycle friendly”, in certain areas it is recommended to use the public transportation, which successfully connects the entire city. The following are the main areas or “quartieri”, each with different characteristics, both in terms of esthetics and of pricing:

  • Centro storico, located within the so-called “mura” – ancient walls that nowadays have almost completely disappeared to be replaced by large avenues called “viali”– offering mainly apartment-solutions with walking distance to many attractions and facilities;
  • Santo Stefano, well-known for being one of the most elegant parts of the city. Many of the most ancient families of Bologna still live in that neighborhood, characterized by prestigious, historical buildings, and also close to the beautiful park Giardini Margherita;
  • Porto-Saragozza, a residential area hosting a large variety of cultural associations and institutions such as the “Cineteca” and the “Manifattura delle Arti” and at the foot of the beautiful landscape of the Colli Bolognesi (Bologna Hills) and close to the stunning church “Basilica di San Luca”.

Arletti&Partners will support you in every phase of the process, from the temporary accommodation or house search to the contract negotiation and signature, by suggesting the most convenient types of contract, and the house delivery.

Driving in the “motor valley”

If you wish to drive in Italy, please remember that different regulations apply to EU or extra-EU nationals concerning the driving permissions. Extra-EU citizens may drive in Italy for one year from their residency registration before converting their driving license into an Italian license. On the other hand, different rules apply to EU citizens, based on the duration of their license.

Nevertheless, foreign plates must be converted within 60 days from the residency registration at the local Department of Motor Vehicles, or “Motorizzazione”.

Arletti&Partners can also support you in converting foreign plates to drive in Italy.

Healthcare assistance in Bologna

Foreign nationals legally residing in Italy have the right to be enrolled to the National Health System to be assisted by a family doctor or pediatrician.

Arletti&Partners can support you in enrolling into the Health System and finding an English-speaking doctor to guarantee you and your family with the best assistance.

Getting to know Bologna culture and traditions

Bologna offers both local and international schooling options, for instance families with kids may opt to enroll their kids at the International School of Bologna which is a leader in international education. Furthermore, adults wishing to develop their professional skills may enroll at the Bologna Business School.

Besides education, Bologna is also known for hosting many art events and concerts of local and international artists. Moreover, it is often called the culinary capital of Italy due to the variety of traditional food offered by the city, such as the delicious “spaghetti alla bolognese”, the famous “lasagna” or “mortadella”.

To celebrate its food traditions, the city is used to organize many gastronomic festivals. You may want to check the Bologna city official touristic website, to make sure you don’t miss out any interesting event!

Transportation and connections

Bologna hosts the international airport Aeroporto G. Marconi Bologna BLQ, with direct connections to the main Italian and international destinations. It is also well connected with the main Italian highways (A22, A14, A1…) that will enable you to easily reach some of Italy’s most attractive cities, such as Florence or Verona; the Riviera for your summer holidays, or the UNESCO world-heritage Dolomiti for your winter fun.

Bologna is also well connected to Modena, another city located in Emilia Romagna. In our guide on how to move to Modena you will find all the relevant information to consider before relocating.

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