Corte Isolani

Three arrows stuck in one of the oldest wooden porches n the city evoke stories of lovers and archers and mark the entrance of Corte Isolani, a splendid passage that connects Strada Maggiore to Piazza Santo Stefano. Il Caffè della Corte Bistrot is right here, in the very heart of Bologna.

Welcome to medieval Bologna

As the legend goes a betrayed husband hired three archers to avenge his honor. His wife, however, showed up at the door without clothes on and, to their amazement, the three archers stuck the arrows in the ceiling of the portico. A 9 meter high wooden porch, marked today by a door opened in 1877 by the architect Raffaele Faccioli. That door now coincides with the entrance of Corte Isolani, a bright “gallery”, between open sky and wooden ceilings, as well as a clear and magnificent example of fourteenth-century architecture.

A journey through history, shopping and culture

The history of Corte Isolani began in the 14th century, when the Isolani family left Cyprus and reached Bologna, choosing the building at number 19 of Strada Maggiore as their senatorial residence (Casa Isolani). Later on the Isolani family will also purchase the adjacent Palazzo Bolognini, with its splendid façade on two orders, from which the sculptural faces of the ancient ancestors are still overlooking the magnificent Piazza Santo Stefano.

The two Palaces have been hosting shops and warehouses on their ground floor until 1999, when a powerful renovation was carried out by the architect Marina di Mottola, thus transforming the original spaces into a truly beautiful pedestrian walkway overlooked by shops, offices and homes.

This gives back to Bologna one of the most suggestive and poetic corners of the city, for a walk through loggias, courtyards, mullioned windows and doorways that make Corte Isolani a pleasant place for purchases and meetings.


From the station you just have to take the bus number 27 and hop off at the first stop in Strada Maggiore. You’ll find the entrance of Caffè della Corte at the number 19.

From the Two Towers walk along Via Santo Stefano from Piazza della Mercanzia.You’ll find the entrance of Caffè della Corte at the number 18.

Highway it is recommended to head towards the city center and leave your car in one of the parking areas located along the Viali, the road that surrounds the city perimeter. Please remember that entering the city center is allowed to cars that have a specific permission only.