Home to the oldest university in the western world, Bologna, in Emilia-Romagna, is a city with an intense cultural life and a very interesting historical heritage
Home to the oldest university in the western world, Bologna, in Emilia-Romagna, is a city with an intense cultural life and a very interesting historical heritage. Important urban center first under the Etruscans, then under the Gauls and finally under the Romans, Bologna was also a major urban center in Europe in the Middle Ages. European Capital of Culture in 2000, in 2006 it was declared a “creative city of music” by UNESCO
Among the most important symbols of Bologna its characteristic arcades, or covered walkways that combine roads, towers and buildings and only in the center reach the total length of about 38 kilometers. Built during a long period of time from the 11th to the 20th century, the arcades of Bologna are considered a heritage of ‘exceptional universal value’ for which the city has been nominated for enrollment in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Among the many noteworthy porticoes we remember, among the oldest, that of Casa Isolani in Strada Maggiore, which is one of eight wooden remained today. Also in the same street is the largest portico of the city, that is the quadriportico of the Basilica of Santa Maria dei Servi. The highest is the loggia of the Archbishop’s Palace in Via Altabella, which reaches almost ten meters. The most famous and longest portico, however, starts in via Saragozza and leads to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca.
Bologna’s characteristics are also its towers, which offer tourists the opportunity to admire a wonderful view from the top. Among the most important, Torre di Garisenda and Torre degli Asinelli are located at the entry point into the city of the ancient Via Emilia and belonged to a complex of about one hundred medieval towers, of which there are currently only about twenty examples.
Among the other towers we also mention the beautiful Torre Accursi or dell’Orologio, which dominates Piazza Maggiore with its huge mechanical clock, and the Torre Azzoguidi, on Via Altabella, which is part of the so-called ‘triad of medieval skyscrapers’ of Bologna together with Torre Prendiparte and Torre Galluzzi. Very particular, finally, Torre dell’Arengo, located in a very central place of the city, above the Palazzo del Podestà.
Palaces and historic buildings
Among the palaces and historic buildings, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Piazza Maggiore houses three: the first is Palazzo del Podestà, built around 1200, which was the first seat of the city government. A curiosity: for a particular acoustic effect, visitors can speak in low voices from the opposite corners of the pillars that support the tower.
The second, Palazzo Re Enzo, was joined to the previous one in 1244-46 and hosted for about twenty-three years the so-called ‘king prisoner’, King Enzo of Sardinia, son of Frederick II. Finally, Palazzo Comunale or d’Accursio was the residence of the Elders, the highest magistracy of Government of the Municipality, and today it is the seat of the Municipality of Bologna.
Finally, the National Art Gallery, which collects works by the likes of Giotto, Raphael, Carracci, and the Archiginnasio of Bologna, the seat of the ancient University, is worth visiting.
Bologna is first and foremost a university town: among its streets, its alleys, its arcades you can breathe a youthful air in continuous cultural ferment. Salaborsa, a beautiful multimedia civic library, and the countless cafés and restaurants under the arcades are among the meeting points preferred by the Bolognese.
It is precisely in these meeting places that you can touch the spirit of warmth and hospitality of Bologna and above all discover the great culinary tradition of this wonderful city.
Text from: www.italia.it