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Emilia Romagna - Places to Visit - Bologna

Capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, Bologna is situated 54 m. above sea level, in a pleasant position at the foot of the outlying Apennine ramifications, at the mouth of the plain of the Reno and Savena valleys.

Founded in the 6th century BC. by the Etruscans, with the name Felsina, on a previous Italic settlement, two centuries later it became a settlement of the Boii Gauls; subsequently (191 BC.), already known by the name of Bononia, it became fully romanized.

Bologna in Emilia Romagna

After the fall of the Empire, it was under Byzantine, Lombard and Frankish rule until it became a free municipality (11th century).

The foundation of the famous university, one of the oldest in the world, transformed the city into the cultural capital of Europe: at the same time, Bologna assumed the precise urbanistic and architectural character still evident today, expanding within successive sets of city walls.

In 1513, after being the object of struggles, between the various Signorie and the Papacy, it became part of the Papal State to which it remained loyal, except during the Napoleonic period, until 1859 when, following the Second War of Independence and the Plebiscites, it became a part of the Kingdom of Italy.

The city is rich in monuments and works of art, notably: Piazza Maggiore, the heart of Bologna, San Petronio (Gothic, 14th-17th century), the Palazzo dei Notai (14th century), the Palazzo Comunale (13th-16th century), the Palazzo del Podest (15th century), the Palazzo di Re Enzo (13th century) and the Fontana del Nettuno (Renaissance fountain, by Giambologna).

The Cappella Bentivoglio (Renaissance, works of art by Veneziano and Ludovico Carracci), San Giacomo Maggiore (13th-14th century, Gothic), San Domenico (13th century, with works of art by N. Pisano, Michelangelo and Filippino Lippi), San Francesco (12th century), the Archiginnasio (16th century), Santa Maria dei Servi (14th-15th century), the Palazzo della Mercanzia (14th century) and the `torri pendenti' (12th century leaning towers: degli Asinelli, 98 m., view of the city, and della Garisenda, 48 m.), are all worth a visit.

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.

Bologna in Emilia Romagna

Events: Trades Fair (June; other exhibitions during the year), Childrens's Book Fair (March), Bologna's musical festivals (summer), Corteo Storico di Monte San Pietro.

Famous People: Agostino Carracci (artist, 1557-1602), Annibale Carracci (artist, 1560-1609), Lodovico Carracci (artist, 1555-1619), Guido Reni (artist, 1575-1642), Luigi Galvani (physicist, 1737-1798), Ulisse Aldrovandi (philosopher and physician, 1522-1605), Guglielmo Marconi (inventor, 1874-1937), Marcello Malpighi (physician, 1628-1694), Benedetto XV (Pope, 1675-1758), Ottorino Respighi (musician, 1879-1936), Giorgio Morandi (artist, 1890-1964) and Pier Paolo Pasolini (film director and writer, 1922-1975).

Cultural Institutions: University, Galleria d'Arte Moderna, (modern art gallery), Teatro Comunale (theatre), Casa di Carducci, with library; Pinacoteca Nazionale (art gallery, featuring works of art, among others, by Giotto, Guido Reni, Parmigianino, Carracci, Raffaello and Tiziano), Museo Civico Archeologico (archeological museum), Museo Storico della Tappezzeria (tapestry museum), Museo delle Navi.

In the Province: Imola (Museo delle Armi e delle Maioliche, Museo Archeologico, interesting historical centre), Lizzano in Belvedere (Apennine holiday resort), Porretta Terme (thermal spa), Marzabotto (Etruscan remains, museum), Castiglione dei Pepoli.

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