The Nerazzurri achieved a hard-fought win over Pierpaolo Bisoli's men, who proved a tough nut to crack for the visitors on Saturday evening
Giampaolo Pazzini was on target for the Nerazzurri in the first half, but his goal was cancelled out from the spot by Alessandro Diamanti after the break.
Diego Milito and Lucio, however, tipped the scale in Inter's favor with strikes in the final 10 minutes of the game to secure the three points.
Inter got off to a positive start to the match as in the eighth minute Walter Samuel was presented with a clear-cut chance to open the scoring, but failed to overcome Jean-Francois Gillet from close range, sending his shot straight at the goalkeeper from seven yards out.
Inter began to tighten the grip and was soon rewarded for its efforts when five minute from the first half whistle, Pazzini opened the scoring. Diego Forlan found Esteban Cambiasso into space, and in turn the Argentinian released the ex-Sampdoria man, who slotted in the right corner.
The second half saw Bologna pick up its game in search of an equalizer. Di Vaio forced Julio Cesar into a good save with a header in the 53rd minute, before Gaston Ramirez nearly scored a wonder-goal with a superbly taken free-kick just after the hour mark.
Moments later Pierpaolo Bisoli's men finally got their equalizer through Diamanti, who converted a penalty conceded by Walter Samuel for a foul on Daniele Portanova. Bologna's celebration did not last long, however, as in the 70th minute goalkeeper Gillet was forced to leave the pitch, and was substituted by Federico Agliardi.
Nevertheless the hosts continued to press, but were made to pay for their excessively aggressive approach as a swift attack saw substitute Milito break free in the penalty box, which forced Archimede Morleo to pull him down. The Argentinian easily converted from the spot to restore Inter's lead, while the defender was sent off.
Defender Lucio put the cherry on the with a fine header in the 88th minute to seal the three points for Ranieri's men.
Following tonight's result, Inter is 11th in the standings, while Bologna is 19th with just a single point. The Nerazzurri's next game is at home against Napoli in a week, while Pierpaolo Bisoli's men visit Udinese a day later.