Travel and Culture in
Bologna is rich in art and history, so you can visit it with a great pleasure, because it is full of culture, but not very known among the commonest touristic routes in the Italian peninsula.
To start the visit of the town, you have to begin from Maggiore Square, surrounded by the beautiful San Petronio Basilica (patron saint of the town), which was begun in 1390. Then you can admire King Enzo Palace, the Nettuno Fountain, Palazzo dei Notai (Notaries’ Palace) and Palazzo Comunale or d’Accursio (the Municipal Palace).
Moreover, you must visit the arcades of Pavaglione and Palazzo dell’Archiginnasio, the old univeristy’s seat. Its interior is rich in history, proved by all the coats of arms, which cover the inside walls of the building. In Maggiore Square you can see Palazzo Banchi, too, dominated, in a spectacular way, by St Maria della Vita’s Dome, a church that encloses the beauty of a dramatic sculptural terra cotta group: the Pietà di Nicolò dell’Arca. Then you can walk along Pescherie Street (fish shop), Clavature and Drapperie Street (draper’s shop), streets which were all consecrated to the Arts and Crafts guilds. In fact, they made even richer, more civilized and more important the old “handicraft” Bologna. A very special characteristic of Bologna are the two towers, which were present since 1100: the Garisenda Tower and the Asinelli Tower.
A very special characteristic of Bologna are the two towers, which were present since 1100: the Garisenda Tower and the Asinelli Tower
In the 13th and 14th centuries the religious Orders entered the town, so the building of the most important Gothic churches began: San Domenico (the Dominican friars), San Francesco (Franciscans), San Giacomo (Augustinians), Santa Maria dei Servi (Servites), San Martino (Carmelites).
If you keep walking, always under the beautiful arcades, you will arrive in Zamboni Street, where you can find the Giuseppe Verdi Municipal Theatre and Santa Cecilia church.
Another important street is Santo Stefano Street, that will lead you to the famous square with the same name. We absolutely recommend you not to miss the architectural complex known as Chiesa delle sette Chiese (the Seven Churches’ Church), that shows its monumental Romanesque style and the ravishing harmony of its aristocratic cipolin marble pillars.
At last, the usual arcades will lead you past Porta Saragozza (one of the ancient town’s gates), to the Arco del Meloncello, from which you can go on, as far as Colle della Guardia, at the foot of the St Luke’s Blessed Virgin Sanctuary (Beata Vergine di San Luca), protectress of the town.
Another typical identification sign for Bologna are the Walls and the Gates (originally 12, today 10), which are remnants of the city walls that, today, surround the old town centre and welcome the visitors.
Bologna photographies kindly granted by Provincia di Bologna