Italians love to define Bologna as a scholarly, fat and red city. The scholarly label refers to the site of the world’s oldest university (1088). The fat label alludes to Bolognese food, with its tagliatelle and tortellini. Finally, Bologna is a red city because of the colour of its houses and also thanks to the political traditions of the city’s administration.
Bologna is also a city of porticos, which stretch for nearly 40 kilometres in the city centre, and of the Garisenda tower, the only real leaning tower in Italy (the leaning tower of Pisa is in fact a bell tower).
As an Etruscan settlement, Bologna later became a Roman town (Bononia). During the medieval period, the city developed into a free commune which reached the peak of its power in the 13th Century. Despite falling under the control of the Papal States in the 16th Century, the city maintained legal and political autonomy.
Torre Degli Asinelli and Torre Della Garisenda
These two leaning towers, built in the 12th century, are together one of the main symbols of Bologna. The tallest tower is the Torre degli Asinelli, with its 98 metres. It is worth making an effort to climb this tower because of the magnificent views from the top.
Bologna’s town hall
The Palazzo Comunale is Bologna’s town hall. The upper level of the palace is the home of the civic museum Collezioni Comunali d'Arte (Municipal Art Collections) where a large collection of Renaissance paintings and other pieces of art can be enjoyed.
Le Stanze is a very charming bar on campus. It is located in an 18th century house and the walls are covered with beautiful frescoes. This is a good bar to go after dinner. They have exceptional cocktails such as caipiroska with vanilla or liquorice. The music is varied with everything from classical and jazz to house and acid.
Good to know
TPER is the company that operates Bologna’s local transport system. You can buy tickets in every newsstand, tobacconist, automatic machines (near to the main bus stops) and in TPER offices. Once you are on the bus remember to stamp your ticket, it will be valid for 75 minutes. For tourists various passes are available: daily passes, carnet with 10 or 20 tickets.
For additional information, visit the TPER office, (contacts below are referred to the main TPER office).