Sala Borsa, the Wonderful Library of Bologna

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Sala Borsa Bologna
Lorenzo Gaudenzi, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Sala Borsa Bologna
Lorenzo Gaudenzi, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In this article we will tell you about one of the most important historical places in the capital of Emilia-Romagna: Sala Borsa in Bologna.

Bologna is undoubtedly one of the most interesting Italian cities in terms of history, culture and architecture. Despite this, not everyone knows the beauties it contains and this wonderful library is a perfect example of a hidden gem!

Table of Contents

Sala Borsa in a Nutshell

Inaugurated in 2001, this space was born inside the very important Palazzo d’Accursio, once the seat of the city government. The building overlooks Piazza Nettuno, one of the most beautiful squares in the city, built in 1564.

Sala Borsa was previously the seat of some municipal offices, however between 1988 and 1990 the decision was taken to transform it into a modern cultural center through the inclusion of a library. This decision was made in relation to the urban project called “Urban Park of Piazza Maggiore”, implemented precisely in those years.

In the vicinity of the building there is also the famous covered square, named for the large crystal roof that covers it. Here you can admire the suggestive excavations that testify the presence of the ancient civilizations that have followed one another over the centuries.

Where is it

Piazza del Nettuno, 3 40124 Bologna 

Hours and costs

Free entry


Monday from 2.30pm to 8.00pm
Tuesday-Friday from 10:00 to 20:00
Saturday from 10:00 to 19:00

Access to the archaeological excavations is possible only by booking a guided tour. For reservations you can call the number: 051 2194400

Sala Borsa library and its services

Since 1990, Sala Borsa has been transformed into a real multimedia library, thus becoming one of the most important modern cultural centers in the city. The choice was made mainly due to the lack of space in the main library of the city, located in the Montanari Palace.

The library has a very high number of paper documents inside, but also uses a lot of digital tools, thus making it a multimedia library in all respects. Moreover, being equipped with a large infrastructure with high technological content, it allows its users to have access to an enormous amount of information.

The library offers numerous services as well as being a tailor-made space for children and teenagers, created to help them interface with documents (especially paper), establish relationships and develop a critical sense.

The library also hosts numerous events open to the public in which you can participate to broaden your knowledge and satisfy your curiosity.

If you are passionate about books and history this place is for you and you absolutely cannot miss it. Here, in fact, not only will you be able to admire the beauty of an authentic historic building, but you will also be able to contemplate the huge collection of books contained within it. The library has in fact a patrimony of 255,000 volumes, inherited from the Centrale, Ruffilli and Ragazzi libraries, as well as a collection of more than 60,000 multimedia materials (including video tapes, CDs and CD-ROMs).

If you plan to visit Bologna, going to Sala Borsa is a must!

Historical notes on the Sala Borsa

Sala Borsa is located inside a wonderful eighteenth-century building or Palazzo d’Accursio.

As we have anticipated, you will be able to admire the archaeological excavations that can be glimpsed from the glass floor in some areas of the central hall. These artifacts came back to light during the renovations and tell a small part of the secret history of ancient Bononia.

The first to settle in this place were the Villanovans in the seventh century BC, then there was the creation of the Roman “Bononia” of 189 BC. Between the 2nd and 1st centuries the civil basilica was built where meetings and city administrations took place. Nearby it is still possible to see the remains of a road paving, probably built in the Augustan period.

Towards the 5th and 7th centuries AD, the area slowly begins its descent towards decay. The reconstruction of civic buildings above the Roman ruins began only in the 13th century when the Visconti lordship was in power. They will be the ones to make the palace a sort of fortified citadel.

The papal vicars will succeed them and it is in this period that numerous sums are invested for the construction of the main garden of the palace.

In the sixteenth century this was then transformed by Ulisse Aldovrandi into a real botanical garden enriched with wonderful exotic species from Asia, the Americas and Africa. The Botanical Garden was later moved in 1756 and the same area was used for more than a century as a training ground for the city militias. In the nineteenth century the building became more and more a pole of social life, however the operational offices dedicated to trade closed in 1903.

About twenty years later, the branches of the Cassa di Risparmio were inserted inside it, while in the post-war period the Piazza Coperta became a sports hall and in the 1980s the Sala Borsa housed all the administrative offices of the Municipality of Bologna.

Finally in 2001 the place was transformed into the library still present today.

Live unique experiences!

Continue your journey to discover the most beautiful places in bologna.

If you like mysteries you will surely find interesting our itinerary to discover the Seven Secrets. If you prefer to enrich your knowledge, you might be interested in knowing which museums to visit in Bologna.

If you are planning a trip, don’t forget to read our tips on where to sleep in Bologna!

4.4/5 - (9 votes)
This article was written by:
Ivan Agolino
I am a curious traveler and I passionately dedicate myself to the search for new tastes and emotions. I have made Bologna my home and every day I venture into its alleys to discover some new secret that I transcribe in these articles. I hope I can convey all the love I feel for this splendid city!
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