A great intellectual past, a relaxed atmosphere and a rich cultural offer that has been realised under papal influence: Bologna is a true ‘must-do’ destination…
Bologna is situated in the north of Italy and has almost 400,000 inhabitants. In 2000 Bologna was declared ‘European capital of culture’; an understandable choice, as the city exudes history from every pore. The old city walls embrace a centre of old, wide streets, spacious piazzas and high towers. Especially the Torre degli Asinelli is a true eye catcher. The tower is no less than 97 meters high and can be climbed for a phenomenal view over the city.
A good starting point for a city walk is Piazza Maggiore. Here you will find the City Hall, Museum Morandi and the impressive San Petronio. According to the building plans, this church would become bigger than Saint Peter’s in Rome, but the Pope thought that this was not a good idea. The square runs into Piazza del Nuttono, known for its fountain with a statue of the Greek sea god Neptune. ‘Il Gigante’ was designed in the 16th century and at that time the Pope had influence as well. At the urging of the Holy Father, the original design was changed considerably.
No less than one out of four inhabitants of Bologna is a student; therefore it is a pleasant student city. This has been traditionally so, because Bologna is home to the oldest active university in the world. The Università di Bologna started as early as the year 1088. The city owns its nickname La Dotta (the scholar) to it. The vibrant heart of the student area is the Via Zamboni where you can spend a pleasant evening.
Pasta in Bologna
Those who wish to experience the real Bologna must try a plate of pasta. Bologna is famous for its many delicious pasta dishes. These are always tasty but are, without exception, filled with ingredients such as cream, butter and bacon. The city takes its none-too-subtle nickname La Grassa or ‘the fat one’ from this fact. It may be clear: in Bologna, cultural and gastronomic development go hand in hand.