Bologna: capital and university town
The capital city of Emilia-Romagna is an important traffic junction located at the foot of the Apennines. Because of the red bricks of many houses it is called also “La Rossa” – Red City – and due to its time-honored university it besides bears the byname “La Dotta” – Erudite City.
The history of Bologna probably goes back to the Etruscan settlement Felsina that already existed in the 6th century BC. Under the Romans this settlement was called Bononia. Thanks to the construction of the Via Aemilia it gained importance as route and developed in an at that time relatively big town.
Then, till the Middle Ages this early height of Bologna wasn’t really noticeable. Only with the foundation of the “Studio” – the later university – in 1088 it obtained more influence again. About 80,000 students, which are attending this oldest academy throughout Europe today, leave their marks on the life in the city.
A first peculiarity for architecture fans spending their holidays in Bologna are the all in all 40 kilometer long arcades that can be found throughout the old town. Initially built with wood these arcades were used to create more space for the growing number of inhabitants without blocking the paths underneath them. Many of these archways are still visible today and they are decisive for the unique atmosphere that you can experience strolling through the city. Moreover they make it possible to reach every place sheltered from rain, sun and wind.
Another characteristic of Bologna in Emilia-Romagna are the so-called family towers constructed by noble families during the Middle Ages. Many of them were destroyed at the end of the 19th century, but some are still preserved, for instance also the two landmarks of town: Torre Garisenda and Torre degli Asinelli. Moreover, worthwhile trips lead to diverse city palaces, museums, the square Piazza Maggiore with fountain in the town center and the impressive Gothic basilica San Petronio.
Therefore Bologna makes a major contribution to the cultural heritage of Emilie-Romagna. Visits to the other art towns in the environs such as Modena, Ferrara or Parma and to the seaside of Rimini round the holiday pleasure off.