Bologna is one of the most prosperous Italian cities, the culinary capital of the country and the birthplace of the oldest European university, among the picturesque hills of the Padanskaya Plain in the blessed region of Emilia-Romagna. The historical center of Bologna is full of palaces, temples and quarters built in the Early Middle Ages and well preserved thanks to timely reconstruction.
Once upon a time, the great Copernicus and Dante roamed the streets of the city, the chefs diligently invented a new type of pasta and sauce especially for the wedding of Lucrezia Borgia, and the founder of the ancient Dominican Order read his sermons to the grateful flock. History itself was created in Bologna, whose secrets have been carefully kept here for many centuries.
What to see and where to go in Bologna?
The most interesting and beautiful places for walking. Photos and a short description.
Piazza Maggiore and Neptune
Piazza Majorore is the central square of Bologna, which was formed in the XIII century. Initially, the city market was located here. The place was fully equipped by the 16th century. Around the square are the Palazzo Podesta, the Palazzo Commune, the Basilica of St. Petronius (San Petronio) and other historical buildings. Piazza Neptune borders Maggiore to the northwest. It owes its name to the fountain of the same name with a bronze statue of a god, which was created in 1567.
Fountain of Neptune
An interesting story is connected with the fountain and sculpture of Neptune. The statue was created by a Flemish master nicknamed Giambologna in 1567. The work was not liked by the Catholic clergy, as they felt that the nudity would embarrass the residents. The churchmen offered the sculptor to put pants on Neptune. As a result, it was decided to ask the townspeople themselves and hold a referendum on the need to “cover shame”. But the inhabitants of Bologna decided to leave everything as it is, and now the masterpiece adorns the square.
The University of Bologna is the oldest and one of the most respected in Europe. The first faculties were formed here already in the 11th century. Among the outstanding graduates of the educational institution are Dante, Petrarch and Copernicus. Until the 16th century, the departments of the university were located in several separate buildings, until Pope Pius IV ordered the construction of the Archigymnasium - the University Palace, which still adorns the architecture of Bologna.
The theater is located in one of the former buildings of the University of Bologna. It arose in 1637 after the removal of the church ban on medical autopsy. Previously, the theater was used as a showroom for medical students, now it sometimes shows performances (in one way or another related to anatomy). The original building was destroyed in 1944. Only wooden sculptures survived, which now adorn the restored theater.
Towers of Asinelli and Garisenda
Medieval buildings located near the Basilica of St. Petronius. It is believed that they were erected at the beginning of the XII century. The Asinelli Tower reaches a height of 97 meters, it has an inclination of 1.3 ° to the base. Garisenda is significantly inferior in size, its height is 48 meters. The structures served both as housing and as a defensive fortress. In the 20th century, a military observation post and a TV tower were located in Asinelli.
The alley stretched from the central city station to the main Piazza Maggiore. Along the street are city mansions with through arched galleries. An incredible number of shops of various price categories, coffee houses and Italian restaurants are concentrated here. The street is perfect for leisurely walks, quality shopping and exploring the city.
The palace complex is located in Piazza Maggiore. It appeared in the XII century due to the unification of individual buildings into a single architectural ensemble. Since 1336, the palazzo has been used as the residence of the city administration. The palace also houses the Giorgio Morandi Museum, which exhibits paintings of the 20th century. The interiors of the Palazzo Comunale are decorated with decorative elements and frescoes of the 15th-16th centuries.
Palazzo Re Enzo
The building of the palace was erected in the XIII century for the needs of the city administration. The name "Re Enzo" comes from the famous prisoner of the castle - the ruler of Sardinia Enzo, who spent more than 20 years in captivity here. There is a legend that his illegitimate son, conceived in the palace, laid the foundation for the line of the rulers of Bologna. Palazzo Re Enzo survived two major renovations in the 18th and 20th centuries.
The palace was erected in 1200 for the head of the city administration (podesta). Initially, the interior was made in the Gothic style, but the decoration of the 15th century in the Renaissance style has survived to this day. On the territory of the arched gallery, which occupies the entire first floor, there are retail premises. The Palazzo Podestà is crowned with a square crenellated tower. Access inside is possible only during events.
Palazzo della Mercantia
The palace houses the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bologna. The building was erected at the end of the XIV century in the manner of "Italian" Gothic. Until 1811, representative offices of trade guilds and a court of merchants were located on its territory. The palazzo is built of red brick, decorated with intricate frescoes and marble trim. During the Second World War, the façade was destroyed as a result of the bombing, which was restored by 1949.
House of Isolani
Three-storey residential building of the 13th century, located about 300 meters from Piazza Maggiore. It is a valuable example of civil architecture, which is at the junction of Romanesque and Gothic styles. A covered passage leads from the Isolani house to the Isolani Palace, built in the 15th century. This palazzo already has pronounced features of the Italian Renaissance.
City Archaeological Museum
The museum was founded in 1881. Its history began with an exhibition of archaeological finds in 1871, which was opened on the territory of the Archigymnasium. Later, the collection was transferred to the Galvani Palace, which was specially restored for this purpose. The museum exposition is divided into eight sections, which represent different historical periods. Many exhibits were borrowed from the collection of the University of Bologna.
Museum of Palazzo Poggi
Museum of the University of Bologna, which combines several collections. The exposition is located on the territory of the palace complex in the Renaissance style. Since 1711, the Scientific Institute with an astronomical observatory has been located in Palazzo Poggi. In museums, you can admire collections of ancient geographical maps, picturesque frescoes, a unique collection of naturalist U. Aldrovandi, and much more.
The collection is located on the grounds of the 15th-century Gisilardi Palace. The exposition is based on the private collection of General L. F. Marsili, the aristocrat F. Cospi and the painter P. Palagi. The museum contains various exhibits, which can give you an idea of how medieval Bologna lived. There are statues, stained-glass windows, bas-reliefs, church vestments, tombstones and other interesting artifacts.
Museum of the History of Bologna
The exposition was opened in 2012. It is located in the Pepoli Palace. Now the museum is at the stage of active formation of funds. Interactive installations are available to visitors, with the help of which models of medieval streets and buildings are created. Some exhibits are presented in a very interesting perspective with the help of modern technologies. The museum collection is housed in 34 rooms.
National Pinacoteca of Bologna
City Art Museum, housed in a building that previously belonged to the Jesuit order. The Pinakothek collection mainly consists of works by Italian artists of the 13th-18th centuries. It is believed that the gallery was founded in the 18th century thanks to Cardinal Prospero Lambertini, who later became pope and became known as Benedict XIV. In 1796, the exhibits were confiscated from the churchmen and transferred to the municipal museum.
Opera House Comunale
The theater building began to be erected according to the project of A. Galli in the 18th century, construction work continued until the 1930s, despite the fact that the stage was solemnly opened in 1651. In 1981, a reconstruction was made. Operas by Rossini, Bellini, Wagner and Verdi were staged on the stage of the Comunale Theatre. Today, the repertoire consists of all the same classical works that the public loved.
Library of Salabors
Since 2001, the book collection has been located in the Palazzo d'Accursio, which is located on the main square of Maggiore. The library halls are well equipped and technically equipped. Particular attention is drawn to the children's room, where you can take books written in different languages. The inner courtyard of Salaborsa is surrounded by a series of arched galleries and covered with a picturesque glass dome.
Mercato di mezzo market
The place is popular not only among tourists, but also among the inhabitants of Bologna, as here you can eat delicious delicacies inexpensively and drink a couple of glasses of excellent Italian wine. Local cheeses, various varieties of prosciutto, pastries, fish and other products are laid out on small market stalls. Due to the large number of people, it is often crowded here and there are not always enough tables for everyone.
A complex of buildings for religious purposes, located on the square of the same name. The temples of the complex belong to the period of the Early Middle Ages - from the 5th to the 12th centuries. The structures were built in such a way as to repeat the outlines of the Jerusalem temples known and revered in the Christian world. The complex was restored in the XIX-XX centuries, after which it acquired a modern look.
Church of the Madonna di San Luca
The history of the temple began in the XII century with the construction of a small church. In the XV-XVIII centuries. The building was rebuilt several times, Baroque and Renaissance features were introduced into its architectural appearance. The construction work was finally completed only in the 20th century. The basilica is a center of pilgrimage, as it houses a Christian shrine - the icon of the Virgin Mary with Jesus. It is believed that it was created by the evangelist St. Luke, who lived in the 1st century.
Basilica of San Petronio
The ancient cathedral of Bologna, located on the main square Maggiore. The construction of the temple continued in the period 1390-1663. It is considered the fifth largest in Europe (height - 45 meters, length - 132 meters, width - 60 meters). The temple was erected in honor of St. Petronius, who was the bishop of Bologna in the 5th century. He is considered the patron saint of the city. The interior of the cathedral is decorated with valuable works of art created in the XII-XV centuries.
Basilica of San Domenico
The remains of St. Dominic, the founder of the Dominican Order, are buried in the church, so it is the main shrine for representatives of this association. Masters such as Michelangelo, N. Pisano and A. Di Cambio worked on the magnificent marble tomb of St. Dominic. The organ is also kept in the basilica, on which V.A. Mozart during his life in Bologna.
Cathedral of Saint Peter
The main cathedral of Bologna, built at the end of the 12th century in the Romanesque style and rebuilt in the 13th century in the Gothic style. The main bell tower and the crypt were created in the 16th century according to the project of D. Tibaldi. Further reconstructions under the direction of various architects were already carried out in the Baroque style. There is a museum at the temple, where various items of church utensils are displayed.
The necropolis has been functioning since 1801. It was created on the outskirts of Bologna on the territory of a former monastery, which was dissolved in 1796. Within the cemetery are the mass graves of soldiers of the First and Second World Wars. On Certosa there are also the graves of the famous singer Farinelli, writer R. Bakelli, singer L. Dalla and other personalities who contributed to the development of Italian culture.