The SAIS guide to gyms and exercise studios in Bologna

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Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

By Sarah Casson

BOLOGNA, Italy — After endless plates of tagliatelle, bottles of lambrusco and pistachio cornettos from Giulio’s Cafe, there comes a time in a SAIS Europe student’s life when they accept that they may need to find a gym.  

Luckily, Bologna offers exercise options for every interest, ranging from CrossFit to yoga to plain old weight rooms and cardio machines. Read on to learn more about gyms and studios that can help you get ripped — or at least work off yesterday’s gelato.  

  1. Performance Fitness Club, Via Nazario Sauro 1/2

Amenities such as a spin studio, saunas and locker rooms with showers and blow dryers attract a young, hip crowd to this centrally-located gym. In addition to the typical free weights and cardio machines, this gym offers 80s-style step classes, dance fitness and a class called “Mortal Gluteo.” Unlimited memberships cost €48 per month and the drop-in price is €10 per day.  

  1. Palestra UNIone, Via Azzo Gardino 33

When in Bologna, do as the UniBo students do. While the location is unexpectedly far from both UniBo and SAIS, its northwest location may be convenient for students living near the train station. The no-frills gym is staffed by UniBo exercise science students and includes the typical weights and cardio machines. Students can choose between a €30 monthly fee for gym use before 5 p.m. or unlimited hours for €35 per month.  

  1. Vinyasa Yoga Bologna, Strada Maggiore 24

This spacious, airy studio offers classes seven days per week with mats and blocks provided at no extra fee. All instructors speak English, making the studio popular with the international crowd. They offer a mix of Vinyasa flow-style classes that will get your heart pumping and more relaxing Gentle Flow options to calm your anxiety during midterm week. The studio offers a 15% discount for SAIS students, which means students can choose between an unlimited membership for €93 per month or purchasing a packet of classes for around €10 per class.  

  1. Palestra de’ Poeti, Via Poeti 3

This high-end gym near Piazza Cavour offers a variety of classes such as HIIT Tabata, Pilates and TRX, and includes access to a mini spa. While this gym may be luxe, it comes at a cost: The monthly rate for students under 25 starts at €68.30.

  1. Queen’s, Via Dè Ruini 5a

Yaaasss, queen! This small, women-only gym in the southeast corner of Bologna is ideal for ladies seeking a friendly, non-judgemental environment. Membership costs €40 per month for students under 25 and includes aerobics, Zumba and indoor cycling classes.  

  1. CrossFit Irnerio, Via Sabatucci 1

If you’re seeking a challenging workout, this CrossFit “box” is just ten minutes away from SAIS and offers classes and open gym hours every day. Unlimited memberships for students cost €80 excluding classes after 6 p.m.  

  1. McFit, Via Mazzini 144

Although you won’t find Big Macs or a Dollar Menu here, this gym is among the cheaper options on this list with a flat rate of €23.90 per month. McFit is a German chain with hundreds of locations throughout Europe including several in the Bologna metro area. The closest one to SAIS is a 15-minute walk outside of the city walls.  

While staying fit in Bologna may seem like an elusive goal, membership at a gym or exercise studio can be a great way to integrate into the local community and relieve stress. With the exception of Palestra de’ Poeti, all of the gyms listed above offer a free “prova” trial session, so it may be worth shopping around before making a commitment.