Sunset arrival at Bologna, Italy
Bologna Guglielmo Marconi (not macaroni which I keep wanting to say instead!) Airport is its full name - named after an Italian engineer and Nobel laureate who came from Bologna.
A makeover in the works
It's a relatively small airport serving domestic flights as well as routes throughout Europe and a few in north Africa too. Not as popular a destination for travellers to Italy, passenger numbers are slowly increasing (they hit nearly 6 million last year) - which not only means that more and more people are starting to appreciate that it's a great city to visit in its own right but perhaps they're also working out that it's incredibly handy as a base for further Italy travels! Located fairly centrally, you can get to a number of different cities within or in little over an hour including Florence in the south, Ravenna on the East coast and to Parma - home to parma ham and my favourite cheese... Parmigiano-Reggiano (true parmesan cheese!).
It's justifiable then that the airport's getting a revamp as well as there being expansion plans under way too. This inevitably means that you'll see small areas closed off for work but it shouldn't really impact your arrival or departure too much - or at all! Work is expected to be complete in 2013. You can read more about expansion plans on the Bologna Airport website.
From plane to Passport Control (if you're travelling from a non-Shengen destination), the journey is short. Actually, once you step down onto the tarmac, the process is pretty much all on the ground floor which makes it all even easier. With just three passport control desks (all were open too), the queues can build up quickly once a flight's arrived but thankfully, they get through them fairly quickly too. The lines aren't as obvious initially even though they have signs directing people to either 'All passports' and 'EU citizens'. Because the lines are so close together, they sort of merge until you get to barriers splitting them off (which was only then a pain because the other lines went more quickly then my one!).
Still in Baggage Reclaim
The left-hand side wall is actually just temporary. I'd initially mistaken it for this space to be a corridor only to realise the Baggage Reclaim is much bigger than I thought - part of it was just blocked off. Until all the work is done, they will be rotating which belts are being used but they'll all be in this room.
Once you're through Passport Control, you'll find yourself in one half of Baggage Reclaim with belts one and two. Keep walking on and you'll find belts four and five. Belt number three was blocked off which made me feel like Baggage Reclaim was split into two rooms initially until I realised that part of the room was just hidden away.
exit into the Arrivals Hall
If you've got all your luggage or just took hand luggage, keep walking on towards the exit (or Uscita). Just head straight out of the doors and you'll go from the green of the Baggage/Customs area and enter the dark red of the Arrivals Hall.
In the Arrivals Hall
As soon as you're out, you'll notice a seating area for people waiting for arriving friends and family.
Bologna Airport car hire
car hire at Bologna Airport
See our post on collecting your car hire from Bologna Airport for more information on how to find the car hire desks. They're split into two areas in the airport so check which company you have a car with first so you know which way to go.
Money, money, money
To get your money changed
To your right, as soon as you enter the Arrivals Hall, you'll find a Travelex money exchange desk. If what you really want is just to take money out of a machine, keep walking to your right past the Travelex and the Libreria Mondadori and there is a Carisbo Bank and ATM machine on the wall on your right.
City map and information
When you walk into Arrivals, you'll see the Tourist Information desk in front of you towards your right - don't walk towards your right… that'll take you to the Travelex above (unless of course you need it!). Basically, from Baggage Reclaim, walk straight ahead and you'll see it on your right.
Hungry or thirsty?
There are three options available to you in the Arrivals Hall - although if you're just looking for a quick snack, there are several vending machines around the airport too. All three cafés/restaurants are versions of the Autogrill brand, which you'll recognise if you've ever driven on Italian motorways before - Autogrill is the service/food stop you're likely to most often see! They all seem to serve similar fare but in a different location (so you might want to pick somewhere to eat according to convenience) and in a different setting.
Piazza Maggiore is closest to the entrance to the Arrivals Hall. It's located on your left after the Fantasy Store and opposite the Europcar car hire desk. It's also the most convenient if you're coming in from a domestic or Shengen destination as the entrance from there is also on this side.
Time Café is next - you'll find this walking towards your right after entering the Arrivals Hall, past the Travelex, Libreria Mondadori and Carisbo Bank. The café is also on the right-hand side and is before you reach all the rest of the car hire desks.
A Café is your third option - good name, huh! This Autogrill café is closer to the end of the terminal when you've walked towards your right so you'll pass all the above for Time Café as well as the main bulk of the car hire desks before reaching it on your right-hand side. It was currently undergoing works so wasn't open at the time.
Books, papers and cigarettes, a deli and something for the kids
Here's a quick run-through of shops you'll find in the Arrivals Hall…
Looking for something to read (in italian)? Mondadori's where you need to be! They do also have a great selection of road maps which might make a trip more worth it if you can't speak Italian.
Titoli for cigarettes and papers
For snacks, newspapers (Italian and international) and cigarettes, come to Titoli.
Love italian food? This Vecchia Malga deli celebrates the produce of Bologna and Emilia Romagna. You can find their original store in Bologna, which is worth a stop too as it's beautiful. The airport branch does a good job of recreating that. Find cheese, salami and fresh pasta as well as a host of other goodies.
A treat for the kids, the Fantasy Store has cuddly toys, games, and clothing from Disney, Warner Bros and Hello Kitty.
Remember, if you want to find out about Bologna Airport car hire, see our post on collecting your car hire from Bologna Airport.
By bus: a shuttle called Aerobus travels to and from the airport and several stops in Bologna's city centre including the main train station - Bologna Centrale. One-way tickets cost €6 and the journey takes about 20 minutes. You'll find the stop for the bus outside the airport closest to the exit by the main bulk of the car hire desks. There are also other bus services at the same stop direct to Ferrara, Modena and Siena.
Taxi stand at the airport
By taxi: you'll find a taxi rank outside the airport - the exit closest to it is the one opposite Libreria Mondadori.
More Bologna car hire
If you've arrived into town by train or bus and want to pick up a car hire in Bologna to do your day trips or just more exploring, we also have low-cost car hire in the city on Via Cairoli. Get a quote on Bologna city car hire here.