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The city of Bologna

Bologna - a city rich in History


The history of Bologna began with the Etruscans. In the VI century b.C. the city bore the etruscan name of “Felsina”. Later the Romans called it Bononia, from which derives its current name.

In the Middle Ages, Bologna became an important city and reached its peak of prosperity. From this period sections of walls, gates, towers and palaces remain. Among these were the Two Towers – traditional symbol of the city; the Basilica of San Petronio with its unfinished facade and the Re Enzo Palace, where the son of Emperor Federico II of Hohenstaufen was imprisoned and spent his time in a golden exile until his death in 1272. If we take a walk around the perimeter of the historical city center, we can see ten of the twelve original gates that welcomed visitors and staved off armies appearance. Three rings of walls were constructed over time, due to population increase and the arrival of students and teachers, from neighboring European countries, to attend the highly regarded Bologna University, the first university in the world. The true date of its founding is uncertain, but is believed by most accounts to be 1088. The University was born as a spontaneous association of students and teachers, as the term itself suggests, since university was originally used to indicate any association with a professional character. Today the University of Bologna has 23 Faculties and hosts many Museums  (Museum of Human Anatomy, Naval Collection, the Observatory and Astronomical Collection....). On 18 September 1988, during the ceremonies of the Ninth Centennial of the University, the Magna Charta Universitatum  (or Universal Declaration of Academic Rights) was signed by some 400 Rectors coming from the whole world.

Bologna  is also well known for its arcades and porticoes, for a total length of about 35 km, leading from the City center to the Basilica di San Luca, dominating Bologna from the “Colle della Guardia”.

From Bologna also came some famous painters, like the Carracci brothers (Annibale and Agostino who, together with the cousin Lorenzo founded the “Accademia degli Incamminati” probably the first art academy in Italy) and Guido Reni. Many of their works can be visited at the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna. In the XX century, Giorgio Morandi has been an important painter and engraver. Very famous are his "nature morte" oil on canvas, where the apparent simplicity of his subjects (pots, jars, flowers, landscapes) and the light effects highlight his pictorial quality. His works are exhibited at the Giorgio Morandi Museum, inside the Town Hall (Palazzo Comunale).