Bologna's Cesare Natali cancelled out Danilo D'Ambrosio's opener in the 29th minute, but Cerci put Torino back in front when he converted a penalty on the stroke of half-time after Omar El Kaddouri had been brought down by Francesco Della Rocca in the area.
The home side had to play the entire second half a man down after Natali was sent off for dissent during the interval and it proved to be a hammer blow for the Rossoblu, who failed to threaten a determined Torino side after the restart.
The outcome was Il Toro's second victory of the campaign while it piled further misery on Bologna, who are without a win after four games.
The visitors enjoyed a great start and went ahead when Bologna goalkeeper Gianluca Curci failed to hold onto Cerci's goal-bound shot, D'Ambrosio heading home his team's first goal.
Il Toro should have doubled their lead in the 25th minute but Cerci's left-footed strike from just outside the area was met by a fine save from Curci.
Bologna came close to levelling shortly after.
A dangerous cross from the left found Marek Cech in the box but the defender blasted the ball high and wide, much to the disappointment of the home fans.
Bologna made no mistake next time around and drew level when Torino goalkeeper Daniele Padelli was unable to hold onto Natali's powerful header, and the defender tapped in the rebound from close range.
The hosts could have taken a 40th-minute lead had Panagiotis Kone's bullet from 30 yards not hit the bar with Padelli already beaten.
At the other end, Cerci's free-kick from just outside the area rebounded off the crossbar.
With seconds remaining in the first half, Cerci struck the spot-kick out of Curci's reach following Della Rocca's tussle with El Kaddouri.
Shortly after the hour mark, Curci made a great save to deny El Kaddouri from close range and kept his team in the game.
However, Bologna struggled to put a good move together as time ticked away and never really looked like equalising.