—  Comune  —
Comune di Bologna
A collage of the city, showing the Fontana del Nettuno, the Public Library Sala Borsa, the Piazza Maggiore and an aerial view of the city.

Coat of arms
Bologna is located in Italy
Location of Bologna in Italy
Coordinates: 44°30′27″N 11°21′5″E / 44.5075°N 11.35139°E / 44.5075; 11.35139Coordinates: 44°30′27″N 11°21′5″E / 44.5075°N 11.35139°E / 44.5075; 11.35139
Country Italy
Region Emilia-Romagna
Province Bologna (BO)
Frazioni Frabazza, Monte Donato, Paderno, Rigosa
 – Mayor Virginio Merola (PD)
 – Total 140.7 km2 (54.3 sq mi)
Elevation 54 m (177 ft)
Population (31 March 2011)[1]
 – Total 382,460
 – Density 2,718.3/km2 (7,040.3/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 – Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 40100
Dialing code +39051
Patron saint St. Petronius
Saint day October 4
Website Official website

Bologna (Italian pronunciation: [boˈloɲɲa] ( listen), Bulåggna; pronounced [buˈləɲɲa] in the Bolognese dialect of Emiliano-Romagnolo language) is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. It is the seventh largest city in terms of population and it is the heart of a metropolitan area (officially recognized by the Italian government as a metropolitan city) of about 1,000,000 inhabitants. The urban sprawl of Bologna – Modena, whose metropolises are adjoining, is continuously expanding. Home to the oldest university in the world, University of Bologna, founded in 1088, Bologna hosts numerous students who enrich the social and cultural life of the city. Famous for its towers and lengthy porticoes, it has a well-preserved historical centre (one of the largest in Italy) thanks to a careful restoration and conservation policy which began at the end of the 1970s, on the heels of serious damage done by the urban demolition at the end of the 19th century as well as that caused by wars. The city, the first settlements of which date back to at least one millennium before Christ, has always been an important urban center, first under the Etruscans (Velzna/Felsina) and the Celts (Bona), then under the Romans (Bononia), then again in the Middle Ages, as a free municipality (for one century it was the fifth largest European city based on population).

An important cultural and artistic center, it is rarely recognized as such, as it does not possess a world renowned "masterpiece" that would attract tourists en masse; that having been said, its artistic importance and its importance in terms of landmarks can be contributed to homogenous mixture of monuments and architectural examples (medieval towers, antique buildings, churches, the layout of its historical center) as well as works of art which are the result of a first class architectural and artistic history. Bologna is also an important crossroads of the roads and trains of Northern Italy, where many important mechanical, electronic and nutritional industries have their headquarters. According to the most recent data gathered by the European Regional Economic Growth Index (E-REGI) of 2009, Bologna is the first Italian city and the 47th European city in terms of its economic growth rate.[2] It is home to prestigious cultural, economic and political institutions as well as one of the most impressive trade fair districts in Europe. In 2000 it was declared European capital of culture[3] and in 2006, a UNESCO “city of music”. The city of Bologna was selected to participate in the Universal Exposition of Shanghai 2010 together with 45 other cities from around the world.[4] Bologna is also one of the richest cities in Italy, often ranking as one of the top cities in terms of quality of life in the country: it was ranked 5th in 2006, and 12th in 2007, out of 103 Italian cities.[5] Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, and it has spectacular history, art, cuisine, music and culture.



Etruscan, Celtic and Roman times

The area around Bologna has been inhabited since the 9th century BC, as evidenced by the archeological digs in the 19th century in nearby Villanova. This period, and up to the 6th century, is in fact generally referred to as villanovian, and had various nuclei of people spread out around this area. In the 7-6th centuries BC, Etruria began to have an influence on this area, and the population went from Umbrian to Etruscan. The town was renamed Felsina. In the 4th century BC, the city and the surrounding area were conquered by the Boii, a Celtic tribe from Transalpine Gaul. The tribe settled down and mixed so well with the Etruscans, after a brief period of aggression, that they created a civilization that modern historians call Gaul-Etruscan (one of the best examples is the archeological complex of Monte Bibele, in the Apennines near Bologna). The Gauls dominated the area until 196 BC, when they were sacked by the Romans. After the Battle of Telamon, in which the forces of the Boii and their allies were badly beaten, the tribe reluctantly accepted the influence of the Roman Republic, but with the outbreak of the Punic Wars the Celts once more went on a war path. They first helped Hannibal's army cross the Alps then they supplied him with a consistent force of infantry that proved itself decisive in several battles. With the downfall of the Carthaginians came the end of the Boii as a free people, the Romans destroyed many settlements and villages (Monte Bibele is one of them) and then founded of the colonia of Bononia in c.189 BC. The settlers included three thousand Latin families led by the consul Lucius Valerius Flaccus. The Celtic population was ultimately absorbed into the Roman society but the language has survived in some measure in the Bolognese dialect, which linguists say belongs to the Gallo-Italic group of languages and dialects. The building of the Via Aemilia in 187 BC made Bologna an important centre, connected to Arezzo by way of the Via Flaminia minor and to Aquileia through the Via Aemilia Altinate. In 88 BC, the city became a municipium: it had a rectilinear street plan with six cardi and eight decumani (intersecting streets) which are still discernible today. During the Roman era, its population varied between c. 12,000 to c. 30,000. At its peak, it was the second city of Italy, and one of the most important of all the Empire, with various temples and baths, a theatre, and an arena. Pomponius Mela included Bononia among the five opulentissimae ("richest") cities of Italy. Although fire damaged the city during the reign of Claudius, the Roman Emperor Nero rebuilt it in the 1st century AD. After the fall of the Empire, this area fell under the power of Odoacre, Theodore the Great (493-526), Byzantium and finally the Longobards, who used it mostly as a military center. In 774, the city fell to Charlemagne, who gave it to Pope Adrain I.

Middle Ages

Porta Maggiore. Strada Magiore. Torre degli Asinelli

After a long decline, Bologna was reborn in the 5th century under bishop Petronius. According to legend, St. Petronius built the church of S. Stefano. After the fall of Rome, Bologna was a frontier stronghold of the Exarchate of Ravenna in the Po plain, and was defended by a line of walls which did not enclose most of the ancient ruined Roman city. In 728, the city was captured by the Lombard king Liutprand, becoming part of the Lombard Kingdom. The Germanic conquerors formed a district called "addizione longobarda" near the complex of S. Stefano. Charlemagne stayed in this district in 786. In the 11th century, Bologna began to aspire to being a free commune, which it was able to do when Matilde of Tuscany died, in 1115, and the following year the city obtained many judicial and economic concessions from Henry V. Bologna the joined the Lombard League against Frederick Barbarossa in 1164 which ended with the Peace of Costanza in 1183; after which, the city began to rapidly expand (this is the period in which its famous towers were built) and it became one of the main commercial trade centers thanks to a system of canals that allowed large ships to come and go. Also, in 1088, the Studio was founded, now the oldest university in Europe, which could boast notable scholars of the Middle Ages like Irnerius, and, among its students, Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarca. In the 12th century, the expanding city needed a new line of walls, and at the end of the 13th century, Bologna had between 50,000 and 60,000 inhabitants making it the fifth largest city in Europe (after Cordova, Paris, Venice, and Florence) and tied with Milan as the biggest textile industry area in Italy. The complex system of canals in Bologna, was one of the most advanced hydraulic systems in Europe (the main canals were Canale Navile, the canale di Reno and the Canale di Savena), and took its water from the Savena, Aposa and Reno Rivers. All of this hydraulic energy helped run the numerous textile mills and transport goods. Now these canals are located under the city and some can even be visited on organized rafting tours. In 1256, Bologna promulgated the Legge del Paradiso ("Paradise Law"), which abolished feudal serfdom and freed the slaves, using public money. At that time the city centre was full of towers (perhaps 180), built by the leading families, notable public edifices, churches, and abbeys. In the 1270s Bolognese politics was dominated by the lettered Luchetto Gattilusio who served as podestà. Like most Italian cities of that age, Bologna was torn by internal struggles related to the Guelph and Ghibelline factions, which led to the expulsion of the Ghibelline family of the Lambertazzi in 1274. After this period of great prosperity, Bologna experienced some ups and downs: it was crushed in the Battle of Zappolino by the Modenese in 1325 but then prospered under the rule of Taddeo Pepoli (1337–1347). Then in 1348, during the Black Plague, about 30,000 inhabitants died, and it subsequently fell to the Visconti of Milan, but returned to Papal control under Cardinal Gil de Albornoz in 1360. In the following years, Republican governments like that of 1377, which was responsible for the building of the Basilica di San Petronio and the Loggia dei Mercanti, alternated with Papal or Visconti resurgences, while the city's families engaged in continual internecine fighting.

Early modern

In 1337, the rule of the noble Pepoli family, nicknamed by some scholars as the "underground nobles" as they governed as "the first among equals" rather than as true nobles of the city[7]. This noble family's rule was in many ways an extension of past rules, and resisted until March 28, 1401 when the Bentivoglio family took over. The Bentivoglio family ruled Bologna, first with Sante (1445–1462) and then under Giovanni II (1462–1506). This period was a flourishing one for the city, with the presence of notable architects and painters who made Bologna a true city of art. During the Renaissance, Bologna was the only Italian city that allowed women to excel in any profession. Women had much more freedom than in other Italian cities; some even had the opportunity to earn a degree at the university.

Giovanni's reign ended in 1506 when the Papal troops of Julius II besieged Bologna and sacked the artistic treasures of his palace. From that point on, until the 18th century, Bologna was part of the Papal States, ruled by a cardinal legato and by a Senate which every two months elected a gonfaloniere (judge), assisted by eight elder consuls. In 1530, in front of Saint Petronio Church, Charles V was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Clement VII. Then a plague at the end of the 16th century reduced the population from 72,000 to 59,000, and another in 1630 to 47,000. The population later recovered to a stable 60,000–65,000. However, there was also great progress during this era: in 1564, the Piazza del Nettuno and the Palazzo dei Banchi were built, along with the Archiginnasio, the center of the University. The period of Papal rule saw the construction of many churches and other religious establishments, and the reincarnation of older ones. At this time, Bologna had ninety-six convents, more than any other Italian city. Artists working during this period in Bologna established the Bolognese School which includes Annibale Carracci, Domenichino, Guercino and others of European fame.

Late modern and contemporary

In 1796, Napoleon took over Bologna with his French troops, and with the rise of Napoleon, Bologna became the capital of the Cispadane Republic, and later, after Milan, the second most important center of the Repubblica Cisalpina and the Italian Kingdom. After the fall of Napoleon, and the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Bologna was once again under the sovereignty of the Papal States, rebelling in 1831 and again 1849, when it temporarily expelled the Austrian garrisons which controlled the city until 1860. After a visit by Pope Pius IX in 1857, the city voted to be annexed into the Kingdom of Sardinia on June 12, 1859, and then becoming part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1860.

The second world war

The city of Bologna was bombarded many times during World War II. The importance of the city as an urban center which connected the north to central Italy as well as its strategic importance as a train hub made it one of the main targets of the Allied forces. In fact, on July 16, 1943, a series of bombings began which were strategic but ended up devastating a large part of the city and the population. It destroyed several historic areas of the city and the main railway; in the end 44% of the infrastructure of the city was either destroyed or severely damaged. On September 25, 1943, Bologna was once again the target of bombings, and 936 people were killed, and thousands injured, not like in July 16 when the areas outside the city center were bombed. On the morning of April 21, 1945, when Bologna had already been abandoned by the Germans, the first to enter the city was the 87th Infantry Regiment of the "Friuli" Combat Group, lead by general Arturo Scattini. The soldiers were wearing British equipment and so were initially thought to be part of the allied forces, but when the people heard them speak Italian, they exploded into the streets to celebrate. The fighting to oust the Germans from Bologna was mostly done by soldiers of the Polish 2nd Corps in the days before, and reconnaissance units entered Bologna on the same morning as the "Friuli" Combat Group, though from another direction. Bologna was part of the resistance, and from after the war to today, this city has always tended politically towards the left.

Recent history

The city, from 1945 to 1999, had an uninterrupted consecutive series of liberal, leftist mayors, the most famous of which was Giuseppe Dozza.

During the administration of Renato Zangheri, on August 2, 1980, at 10:25 am a bomb exploded at the central train station in Bologna killing 85 people, wounding 200: this event became known as the massacre of Bologna. Two people were convicted: Valerio Fioravanti and Francesca Mambro, both of them neo-fascist from the group Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari, while the ex leader and Grand Master of the mason lodge P2, Licio Gelli, the former agent of SISMI Francesco Pazienza, and the military secret service officers Pietro Musumeci and Giuseppe Belmonte were convicted of hampering the investigation.

In 1999 the tradition of liberal mayors was interrupted by the historical win of center-right Giorgio Guazzaloca; his reign ended in 2004 when Sergio Cofferati, a unionist, was elected mayor, thanks to the active participation of the city's people and the political parties Ulivo and Italia dei Valori. The next mayor, Flavio Delbono, elected in June 2009, quit in January 2010, after being accused of several crimes including embezzlement, fraud, and abuse of power during the time that he was vice-president of the Region Emilia-Romagna.



The Basilica of Santo Stefano.

Bologna is located in the Padana Plains, at the foot of the Apennines, between the Reno and Savena river valleys. The provincial territory stretches out from the western edge of the Padana Plains on the boarder with Ferrara to the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, ranging from 29 meters above sea level in the suburb of Corticella to 54m downtown, all the way up to 300 meters above sea level in Sabbiuno and the Colle della Guardia (Guard Hills, within the municipality) and up to 1945 meters above sea level at Corno alle Scale (within the provincial territory).


Bologna has a continental climate, without any influence from the seaside; the Climatic Classification is "zone E, 2259 GR/G". The winters here can be cold (the all time lowest temperature in winter recorded in the area, more precisely in Molinella on the night of January 12, 1985, was −28.8 °C (−20 °F), caused by the historic cold wave of January 1985) and snow is never lacking, sometimes it is quite abundant considering that this is a plains area. Some snowfalls that have remained in the record books and memories of many Bologna citizens are that of June 1491 with 30 cm (11.81 in) of snow and that of February,1929 ( when all of the Northeast, in particular Romagna, was hit hard by a snow storm[6]) with about 130 cm (51.18 in) of snow which completely blocked the city for days, with walls of snow and teams of people who removed the snow from roofs which threatened to collapse. Other noteworthy snowfalls, always in the months of January and February, occurred more recently in 1977 (roofs caved in), in January 1985 (caused a 3 day black due to downed electrical lines), and in 2004 (more than 70 cm (27.56 in) of snow all at once between the end of February and the beginning of March); but it has even snowed in springtime in Bologna (as on April 21, 1974 or on April 26, 1990). The record lows recorded in the last twenty years are around −10 °C (14 °F), while summers are hot and muggy due to the high humidity in this area, and they can be long with long periods of drought (as in 2003); in July and August it is normal for temperatures to rise above 37 °C (99 °F).[7]

Spring and fall are, in general, mild and rainy and quite short. Average precipitation oscillates between 450 mm and 900 mm[7] (measurements are taken at the Guglielmo Marconi Airport, while in the past they were taken downtown in a tower of the University of Bologna; at least 70% of precipitation falls in spring and autumn).

Moderate wind contributes to the formation of fog and haze and to an elevated smog due to local traffic, as well as to the combustion in heating systems (most of which have been converted to methane gas) and industrial establishments. Occasionally, despite all of this, there have been days with gusts up to 120 km/hour (for example on December 26, 1996) due to the winds coming down off the mountains (sometimes the buran from the Siberian steppe reaches the foot of the Apennines); during the month of August, in particular, strong gusts of more than 100 km/hour are recorded when there are thunderstorms or other localized storms.

Climate data for Bologna
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 4.8
{{{year high C}}}
Average low °C (°F) −1.5
{{{year low C}}}
Precipitation mm (inches) 43
Source: Intellicast[8]

Main sights

For a complete list, see Buildings and structures in Bologna
The iconic Two Towers.
Via Rizzoli crossing Bologna.

Until the early 19th century, when a large-scale urban reconstruction project was undertaken, Bologna remained one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe; to this day it remains unique in its historic value. Despite having suffered considerable bombing damage in 1944, Bologna's 350 acres (141.64 ha) historic centre today is Europe's second largest,[9] containing an immense wealth of important Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque artistic monuments.

Bologna developed along the Via Emilia as an Etruscan and later Roman colony; the Via Emilia still runs straight through the city under the changing names of Strada Maggiore, Rizzoli, Ugo Bassi, and San Felice. Due to its Roman heritage, the central streets of Bologna, today largely pedestrianized, follow the grid pattern of the Roman settlement.

The original Roman ramparts were supplanted by a high medieval system of fortifications, remains of which are still visible, and finally by a third and final set of ramparts built in the 13th century, of which numerous sections survive. Over twenty medieval defensive towers, some of them leaning precariously, remain from the over two hundred that were constructed in the era preceding the security guaranteed by unified civic government. For a complete treatment, see Towers of Bologna.

The cityscape is further enriched by elegant and extensive arcades (or porticos), for which the city is famous. In total, there are some 38 kilometres of arcades in the city's historical center[10] (over 45 km in the city proper), which make it possible to walk for long distances sheltered from rain, snow, or hot summer sun. The Portico of San Luca, one of the longest in the world (3.5 km, 666 arcades)[11] connects the Porta Saragozza (one of the twelve gates of the ancient walls built in the Middle Ages, which circled a 7.5 km part of the city) with the San Luca Sanctuary, on Colle della Guardia, over the city (289 m.).

The Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca is located just outside the city proper. Traditional place of worship for the presence of an image the Virgin of St. Luca as well as reassuring visual landmark for Bolognese approaching town, the shrine located on top of Guardia hill is one of Bologna's symbol. The 666 vaults of the arcade – unique for his length covering almost four kilometres (3,796 m) – link the shrine with the town and provide a shelter for the procession which every year since 1433 has brought the Byzantine Madonna with Child to the cathedral downtown during the Ascension week. Built in the 11th century, it was much enlarged in the 14th and 18th centuries. The interior contains works of several masters, but probably the most important is the painting of the Madonna with Child attributed to Luke the Evangelist.

Bologna is home to numerous churches. These include:

  • San Petronio Basilica, one of the world's largest
  • Bologna Cathedral
  • St. Stephen basilica and sanctuary
  • St. Dominic basilica and sanctuary
  • St. Francis basilica
  • Santa Maria dei Servi basilica
  • San Giacomo Maggiore basilica (13th-14th century), featuring numerous Renaissance artworks such as Lorenzo Costa the Elder's Bentivoglio Altarpiece
  • San Michele in Bosco
  • St. Paul the Great, basilica


Bologna is an important railway and motorway hub in Italy.[citation needed] The economy of Bologna is based on an active industrial sector which, traditionally strong in the transformation of agricultural products and in animal husbandry, also includes the footwear, textile, engineering, chemical printing and publishing industries, as well as on flourishing commercial activity. The city's Fiera District (exhibition area) is one of the largest in Europe, with important yearly international expos of the automobile sector (Bologna Motor Show), ceramics for the building industry (International Exhibition of Ceramic Tiles and Bathroom Furnishings) and food industry. Bologna and its metropolitan area have several important industries in the fields of mechanics, food, tobacco and electronics, important retail and wholesale trade (the "Centergross" in the northern part of its metropolitan area, built in 1973), and one of the first Italian vegetable and fruit markets.


A trolleybus in the city centre

Bologna is home to Guglielmo Marconi International Airport, expanded in 2004 by extending the runway to accommodate larger aircraft. It is the tenth busiest Italian airport for passenger traffic (over than 4 million/year in 2007) and is an intercontinental gateway.

Bologna Central Station is considered the most important train hub in Italy thanks to the city's strategic location. Also, its goods-station (San Donato) with its 33 railway tracks, is the largest in Italy in size and traffic.[citation needed]

Bologna's station holds a memory in Italian public consciousness of the terrorist bomb attack that killed 85 victims in August 1980. The attack is also known in Italy as the Strage di Bologna ("Bologna massacre").

Bologna is served by a robust system of public bus lines, run by Azienda Trasporti Pubblici Bologna (ATC).


At the end of 2010, the city proper had a population of 380,604 (while 1 million live in the greater Bologna area), located in the province of Bologna, Emilia Romagna, of whom 46.7% were male and 53.3% were female. Minors (children ages 18 and younger) totalled 12.86 percent of the population compared to pensioners who number 27.02 percent. This compares with the Italian average of 18.06 percent (minors) and 19.94 percent (pensioners). The average age of Bologna resident is 51 compared to the Italian average of 42. In the five years between 2002 and 2007, the population of Bologna grew by 0.0 percent, while Italy as a whole grew by 3.56 percent.[12] The current birth rate of Bologna is 8.07 births per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the Italian average of 9.45 births.

As of 2009, 89.47% of the population was Italian. The largest immigrant group came from other European countries (mostly from Romania and Albania): 2.82%, East Asia (mostly Filipino): 1.50%, and the South Asia (mostly from Bangladesh): 1.39%.[13]


A hall in the Enrico Tabellini-Museo della musica, or the International museum and library of music, showing some ancient musical instruments.

Over the centuries, Bologna has acquired many nicknames: "the learned one" (la dotta) is a reference to its famous university; "the fat one" (la grassa) refers to its cuisine.

"The red one" (la rossa) originally refers to the colour of the roofs in the historic centre, but this nickname is also connected to the political situation in the city, started after World War II: until the election of a centre-right mayor in 1999, the city was renowned as a bastion of socialism and communism in particular the Italian Communist Party. The centre-left regained power again in the 2004 mayoral elections, with the election of Sergio Cofferati. It was one of the first European cities to experiment with the concept of free public transport.[14]

The city of Bologna was appointed a UNESCO City of Music on 26 May 2006. According to UNESCO, "As the first Italian city to be appointed to the Network, Bologna has demonstrated a rich musical tradition that is continuing to evolve as a vibrant factor of contemporary life and creation. It has also shown a strong commitment to promoting music as an important vehicle for inclusion in the fight against racism and in an effort to encourage economic and social development. Fostering a wide range of genres from classical to electronic, jazz, folk and opera, Bologna offers its citizens a musical vitality that deeply infiltrates the city’s professional, academic, social and cultural facets."[15]

Entertainment and performing arts

Facade of "Arena del Sole" theatre.

The theatre was a popular form of entertainment in Bologna until the 16th century.[citation needed] The first public theater was the Teatro alla Scala, active since 1547 in Palazzo del Podestà.

An important figure of Italian Bolognese theatre was Alfredo Testoni,[citation needed] the playwright, author of The Cardinal Lambertini, which had great theatrical success since 1905, then repeated on the screen by the Bolognese actor Gino Cervi.

In 1998, the City of Bologna has initiated the project "Bologna dei Teatri" (Bologna of the Theatres), an association of the major theatrical facilities in the city. This is a circuit of theatres which offer diverse and colourful cultural and theatrical opportunities, ranging from Bolognese dialect to contemporary dance, but with a communications strategy and promoting unity. Specifically, the shows on the bill in various theatres participating in the project are advertised weekly through a single poster.

Bologna hosts a number of festivals and other events, including:

  • Angelica: International Contemporary Music Festival [16]
  • Bolognafestival: international classical music festival [17]
  • Bologna Jazz Festival: the Italian autumn jazz event [18]
  • Biografilm Festival: International Film Festival devote to Biography [19]
  • BilBolBul:International Comic Festival [20]
  • Casadeipensieri: International Summer Festival of literature and poetry [21]
  • Danza Urbana: International Street Contemporary Dance Festival [22]
  • F.I.S.Co: International Festival on Contemporary art
  • Future Film Festival: International Festival on animation and special effects.[23]
  • Il Cinema Ritrovato: International Film Festival about Forgotten Films [24]
  • Gender Bender: International Festival on the gender identity, sexual orientation and body representation [25]
  • Homework festival: electronic music festival[26]
  • Human Rights Film Festival [27]
  • Netmage: International Festival dedicated to Electronic Art
  • Some Prefer cake: Italian lesbian film festival [28]


Mortadella, fried crescentine, salami and Lambrusco wine: the typical food of Bologna.

Bologna is renowned for its culinary tradition. It has given its name to the well-known Bolognese sauce, a meat based pasta sauce called in Italy ragù alla bolognese but in the city itself just ragù as in Tagliatelle al ragù. Situated in the fertile Po River Valley, the rich local cuisine depends heavily on meats and cheeses. As in all of Emilia-Romagna, the production of cured pork meats such as prosciutto, mortadella and salami is an important part of the local food industry. Well-regarded nearby vineyards include Pignoletto dei Colli Bolognesi, Lambrusco di Modena and Sangiovese di Romagna. Tagliatelle with ragù, lasagne, tortellini served in broth, and mortadella, the original Bologna sausage, are among the local specialties.


Another nickname for Bologna is Basket City, referring to Bologna's obsession with basketball: the local derby between the city's two principal basketball clubs, Fortitudo and Virtus. (often called after the clubs' principal sponsors), is intense, as you can see here [29] and here.[30] However, the rivalry is temporarily dormant because Fortitudo are no longer in the country's professional ranks. After the 2008–09 season, Fortitudo were relegated from the top-level Lega A to LegADue, and then were relegated further to the nominally amateur Serie A Dilettanti for financial reasons. The impact of basketball in the city is not limited to Fortitudo and Virtus; the Italian Basketball League, which operates both Lega A and LegADue, has its headquarters in Bologna.

Soccer is still a highly popular sport in Bologna; the main local club is Bologna F.C. 1909, which is currently in Serie A.


University of Bologna is Europe's oldest, founded in 1088.

The University of Bologna, founded in 1088, is the oldest existing university in Europe, and was an important centre of European intellectual life during the Middle Ages, attracting scholars from throughout Christendom. A unique heritage of medieval art, exemplified by the illuminated manuscripts and jurists' tombs produced in the city from the 13th to the 15th century, provides a cultural backdrop to the renown of the medieval institution. The Studium, as it was originally known, began as a loosely organized teaching system with each master collecting fees from students on an individual basis. The location of the early University was thus spread throughout the city, with various colleges being founded to support students of a specific nationality.

In the Napoleonic era, the headquarters of the university were moved to their present location on Via Zamboni (formerly Via San Donato), in the north-eastern sector of the city centre. Today, the University's 23 faculties, 68 departments, and 93 libraries are spread across the city and include four subsidiary campuses in nearby Cesena, Forlì, Ravenna, and Rimini. Noteworthy students present at the university in centuries past included Dante, Petrarch, Thomas Becket, Pope Nicholas V, Erasmus of Rotterdam, Peter Martyr Vermigli, and Copernicus. Laura Bassi, appointed in 1732, became the first woman to officially teach at a college in Europe. In more recent history, Luigi Galvani, the discoverer of biological electricity, and Guglielmo Marconi, the pioneer of radio technology, also worked at the University. The University of Bologna remains one of the most respected and dynamic post-secondary educational institutions in Italy. To this day, Bologna is still very much a university town, and the city's population swells from 400,000 to over 500,000 whenever classes are in session. This community includes a great number of Erasmus, Socrates, and overseas students.

The University of Bologna is also the birthplace of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.[citation needed] It was founded by Manuel Chrysoloras in 1400.[citation needed] The fraternity was formed for mutual protection against Baldassare Cossa, who extorted and robbed the students of the university, and later usurped the papacy under the name John XXIII.[citation needed]

The university's botanical garden, the Orto Botanico dell'Università di Bologna, was established in 1568; it is the fourth-oldest in Europe.

Bologna is also home to other prominent universities such as the Bologna Center of the Johns Hopkins University, otherwise known as the SAIS Bologna Center.

Famous natives of Bologna and environs

In addition to the above natives, the following became associated with Bologna by long-term residence:

  • Giosuè Carducci (poet and academic, Nobel Prize for Literature, born near Lucca, Tuscany, 1835–1907)
  • Umberto Eco (writer and academic, born in Alessandria, Piedmont, 1932)
  • Juan Ignacio Molina (naturalist, born in Chile, 1740–1829)
  • Giovanni Pascoli (poet and academic, born in San Mauro di Romagna, 1855–1912)
  • St. Petronius (San Petronio, bishop of Bologna and patron saint of the city, birthplace unknown, died c. 450 AD)
  • Romano Prodi (economist, politician, born in Scandiano, Reggio Emilia, 1939)
  • Gioachino Rossini (opera composer, born in Pesaro, 1792–1868)
  • Giuseppe Torelli (composer, born in Verona, 1658–1709)
  • Wu Ming (collective of writers, active since 2000)

Famous companies

International relations

Twin towns – sister cities

Bologna is twinned with:

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ (English) [1]
  3. ^ "Bologna history – Bologna culture – Bologna – attractions in Bologna – art Bologna – history guide Bologna". Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ "Qualità della vita". Il Sole 24 ORE. Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  6. ^ sabatoseraonline: video, Faenza: la nevicata del 1929
  7. ^ a b Dati statistici temperature e precipitazioni dal 1991 al 2009
  8. ^ "Boloogna historic weather averages". Intellicast. Retrieved 23 September 2009. 
  9. ^ National League of Cities, American Municipal Association (1976). Nation's cities, Volume 14. United States: National League of Cities. 
  10. ^ UNESCO World Heritage Submission on the porticoes of Bologna
  11. ^ "Emila-Romanga Tourism Agency". Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  12. ^ "istat". Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  13. ^ "istat". Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  14. ^ "Repertoires of Democracy: The Case for Public Transport" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  15. ^ "The Creative Cities Network: UNESCO Culture Sector". Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  16. ^ "Angelica". Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  17. ^ "Bolonafestival". Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  18. ^ "BolognaJazzFestival". Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  19. ^ "Biografilm Festival" (in (Italian)). Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  20. ^ "BilBolBul". BilBolBul. Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  21. ^ "La casa dei pensieri". 
  22. ^ "Danza Urbana". Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  23. ^ "futurefilmfestival". futurefilmfestival. Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  24. ^ "Il CInema Ritrovato". Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  25. ^ "Gender Bender". Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  26. ^ "homeworkfestival". homeworkfestival. Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  27. ^ "Human Rights Film Festival". Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  28. ^ "Some Prefer Cake". 
  29. ^ "DerbyRitorno". Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  30. ^ "Derby 2005–06". Retrieved 2010-04-19. [dead link]
  31. ^ "Davide Ferrari". 
  32. ^ "Leipzig – International Relations". © 2009 Leipzig City Council, Office for European and International Affairs. Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  33. ^ "Intercity and International Cooperation of the City of Zagreb". © 2006–2009 City of Zagreb. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bologna — Bologna …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • BOLOGNA — BOLOGNA, city of north central Italy. There is documented evidence of a Jewish presence since 1353, when the Jewish banker Gaius Finzi from Rome took up his residence in the quartier of Porta Procola. In the second half of the 14th century around …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Bologna — Bo*lo gna, n. 1. A city of Italy which has given its name to various objects. [1913 Webster] 2. A Bologna sausage; also informally called {baloney}. [1913 Webster] {Bologna sausage} [It. salsiccia di Bologna], a large sausage made of bacon or ham …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bologna [2] — Bologna, Hauptstadt der gleichnamigen ital. Provinz (s. oben), ist eine der ältesten, größten und reichsten Städte Italiens, ein wichtiger Verkehrsmittelpunkt, in dem sich alle Straßen und Eisenbahnen, die vom Simplon bis Triest die Alpen… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Bologna, da — Bologna, da, Name mehrerer Maler, nämlich: 1) Antonio, s. Raimondi (Marc Antonio); 2) Franco, s. Franco, u. 3) eben so die anderen Vornamen, bes. aber 4) Giovanni, s. Giovanni da Bologna; 5) Simone, de Crocelissi genannt, Maler aus Bologna,… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Bologna —    BOLOGNA, (HOT DOG), HAMBURGER    Three fine European cities have become eponyms for common American edibles. Bologna, a gastronomic center in northern Italy, has been credited with many delectable dishes that have spread throughout the world;… …   Dictionary of eponyms

  • bologna — [bə lō′nē; ] also [, bə lōnyə, bə lō′nə] n. [after BOLOGNA] a large smoked sausage of beef, pork, or veal, or of a mixture of these: also bologna sausage …   English World dictionary

  • Bologna — (spr. Bolonja). I. (Geogr.), 1) (Bolognese), Legation im Kirchenstaat (Italien); 613/5 QM, 348,000 Einw., zerfällt in 12 Kreise, grenzt an Ferrara im N., an Toscana im W., an dasselbe u. Ravenna im S., an Ravenna im O.; im südlichen Theile… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Bologna [3] — Bologna (spr. lonnja), Giovanni (gewöhnlich da B. genannt, eigentlich Jean Boulogne), fläm. Bildhauer und Architekt, geb. 1524 in Douai, gest. 1608 in Florenz, begab sich um 1540 nach Antwerpen, wo er die Bildhauerkunst bei Jacques Dubroeucq… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Bologna [2] — Bologna (spr. lónja), Giovanni da, Bildhauer, geb. 1524 zu Douai (Flandern), gest. 1608 in Florenz; Werke im Stil Michelangelos: Neptunsbrunnen in Bologna (1566), fliegender Merkur (1572), Reiterstandbild Cosimos I. in Florenz. – Vgl. Desjardins… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • bologna — 1850, variant of bologna sausage (1590s), named for the city in Italy, from L. Bononia, which either represents Gaul. bona foundation, fortress, or Boii, the name of the Gaulish people who occupied the region 4c. B.C.E. Also see BALONEY (Cf.… …   Etymology dictionary

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