Bologna Inside

third edition
edition 2021




Utilities have been liberalized in Italy (mercato libero), which really means that you get bombarded by unwanted phone calls to make you switch from one company to another. You’re free to choose between different providers but it makes sense to start by checking the conditions provided by the city’s water, gas and electrical authority, to set up new services or to ask questions about your existing contract.

Hera Bologna
Via C. Berti Pichat, 2/4
Tel. 800 999 500

You will get your gas bill every three months. You can pay it at the post office, some Coop supermarkets, your bank, by direct debit, or directly at Hera (or another provider). The authorities only come to read the meter occasionally. Periodically, you may be requested by mail to read your meter and send back the reading on a special postcard. If you do not update the information, the authorities will charge you according to the previous year’s usage. The difference between your actual usage and what you’ve paid is calculated at the next meter reading. If they have overcharged you, they give you a credit. If you use more than projected, you’ll have to pay the difference, called a conguaglio.


One of the major electric companies is called Enel (again, thanks to the free energy market, you can choose from a range of different providers). Enel services, including initial set-up can be handled by phone and online. A standard contract gives you a usage capacity of three kilowatt-hours. This may not be enough to run many electrical appliances at once. To avoid blowing a fuse, use only one major appliance at a time or ask for a higher base consumption level. Bills are sent out every other month. Here too, prepare yourself for the occasional conguaglio.

When entering a new apartment, make sure you arrange for the electricity to be switched on (owners often switch it off in the absence of tenants) and that can take anything between two and seven working days, so make sure you do it well in advance of your move-in date.

Numero verde 800.900860


Hera services all of Bologna with garbage/recycling services and street cleaning. The way garbage is collected has changed in the recent years, depending on where you live. 

If you live in the city centre, your regular household trash (also known as indifferenziata) should be taken to the mixed waste dumpster that opens using the chip card called Carta Smeraldo. If you pay a waste fee bill (TARI), you will get two copies of the card. To collect your Carta Smeraldo, go to:

Ufficio Tassa Rifiuti
Piazza Liber Paradisus 10
Torre/Tower A, First Floor

To request an appointment, call: 800 037 688.

Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

Paper, plastic, glass (including metal cans) and waste are separated. In the city centre, paper and plastic are collected every Tuesday night (the bags for paper and plastic waste can be picked up at your local edicola (newsstand), or in the following points). Deposit glass/cans and organic waste in your local isola (island with designated dumpsters).

For the list of locations and more details on where to dispose of what, check Il Rifiutologo website or download Hera’s Il Rifiutologo app.

If you have some small bulky waste and small electrical and electronic devices you want to dispose of, check this map for information on where and when you can bring them.

If you have some domestic bulky goods (e.g. furniture), or big electric and electronic devices they can be collected, free of charge, by Hera. Call their Customer Service number 800 999 500 to make an appointment.

Outside of the city centre, waste is disposed of in colorful recycling receptacles known as campane (bells); yellow is for plastic, blue for paper, brown for organic waste, green for glass and grey for general household mixed waste. Near the campane, you will sometimes also find donation receptacles for used clothing.

In supermarkets and hardware stores you can find special containers for used batteries. Used or expired pharmaceutical items can be disposed of in collection boxes, which are usually placed outside the pharmacies.