Italian: [boˈloɲːa] ( listen); Emilian: Bulåggna
IPA: [buˈlʌɲːa]; Latin: Bononia) is the capital and largest
city of the
Emilia-Romagna Region in Northern Italy. It is the seventh
most populous city in Italy, at the heart of a metropolitan area of
about one million people.
Of Etruscan origin, the city has been a major urban centre for
centuries, first under the Etruscans, then under the Romans (Bononia),
then again in the Middle Ages, as a free municipality and signoria,
when it was among the largest European cities by population. Famous
for its towers, churches and lengthy porticoes,
Bologna has a
well-preserved historical centre, thanks to a careful restoration and
conservation policy which began at the end of the 1970s. Home to
the oldest university in the world, the University of
Bologna, established in AD 1088, the city has a large student
population that gives it a cosmopolitan character. In 2000 it was
declared European capital of culture and in 2006, a
UNESCO "city of
Bologna is an important agricultural, industrial, financial and
transport hub, where many large mechanical, electronic and food
companies have their headquarters as well as one of the largest
permanent trade fairs in Europe. According to the most recent data
gathered by the European Regional Economic Growth Index (E-REGI) of
Bologna is the first Italian city and the 47th European city in
terms of its economic growth rate. As a consequence,
also one of the wealthiest cities in Italy, often ranking as one of
the top cities in terms of quality of life in the country: in 2011 it
ranked 1st out of 107 Italian cities.
1.1 Antiquity and Middle Ages
1.2 Early modern
1.3 Late modern and contemporary
1.3.1 World War II
1.3.2 Post-war years
3.1 Municipal government
3.2 Provincial and regional government
Bologna Public Transportation Statistics
9.1 Entertainment and performing arts
13 International relations
14 See also
16 Further reading
16.1 Guide books
16.2 Older guides
17 External links
See also: Timeline of Bologna
Antiquity and Middle Ages
The iconic Due Torri.
Porta Maggiore, one of the twelve medieval city gates of Bologna.
Depiction of a 14th-century fight between the Guelf and Ghibelline
factions in Bologna, from the Croniche of Giovanni Sercambi of Lucca.
First settled around 1000 BCE and then founded as the Etruscan Felsina
about 500 BCE, it was occupied by the
Boii in the 4th century BCE and
became a Roman colony and municipium with the name of Bononia in 196
BCE. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Bologna, then a frontier
outpost of the
Exarchate of Ravenna
Exarchate of Ravenna was repeatedly sacked by
the Goths; it is in this period that legendary bishop Petronius,
according to ancient chronicles, rebuilt the ruined town and founded
the basilica of Saint Stephen. Petronius is still revered as
patron saint of Bologna.
In 727-28, the city was sacked and captured by the Lombard king
Liutprand, becoming part of that kingdom. These Germanic conquerors
built an important new quarter, called "addizione longobarda" (Italian
for "Longobard addition") near the complex of St. Stephen. In the
last quarter of the 8th century, Charlemagne, at the request of pope
Adrian I, invaded the Lombard Kingdom, causing its eventual demise.
However Bologna, occupied by Frankish troops in 774 on behalf of the
papacy, remained under imperial authority and prospered as a frontier
mark of the Carolingian empire.
After the death of
Matilda of Tuscany
Matilda of Tuscany in 1115,
substantial concessions from Emperor Henry V. However, when Frederick
Barbarossa subsequently attempted to strike down the deal, Bologna
joined the Lombard League, which then defeated the imperial armies at
Battle of Legnano
Battle of Legnano and established an effective autonomy at the
Peace of Constance
Peace of Constance in 1183. Subsequently, the town began to expand
rapidly (this is the period in which its famous towers were built) and
it became one of the main commercial trade centres of northern Italy
thanks to a system of canals that allowed barges and ships to come and
go. Believed to have been established in 1088, the University of
Bologna is widely considered the oldest university in continuous
operation. The university originated as a centre for the study
of medieval Roman law under major glossators, including Irnerius. It
Boccaccio and Petrarca among its students. The
medical school was especially renowned. By 1200,
Bologna was a
thriving commercial and artisanal centre of about 10,000 people.
During a campaign to support the imperial cities of
Modena and Cremona
against Bologna, Frederick II's son, King Enzo of Sardinia, was
defeated and captured on 26 May 1249 at the Battle of Fossalta. Though
the emperor demanded his release, Enzo was thenceforth kept a knightly
prisoner in Bologna, in a palace that came to be named Palazzo Re Enzo
after him. Every attempt to escape or to rescue him failed, and he
died after more than 22 years in captivity. After the death of his
half-brothers Conrad IV in 1254,
Frederick of Antioch
Frederick of Antioch in 1256 and
Manfred in 1266, as well as the execution his nephew
Conradin in 1268,
he was the last of the Hohenstaufen heirs.
During the late 1200s,
Bologna was affected by political instability
when the most prominent families incessantly fought for the control of
the town. The free commune was severely weakened by decades of
infighting, allowing the Pope to impose the tyranny of his envoy
Bertrand du Pouget
Bertrand du Pouget in 1327. Du Pouget was eventually ousted
by a popoular rebellion and
Bologna became a signoria under Taddeo
Pepoli in 1334. By the arrival of the
Black Death in 1348, Bologna
had 40-50,000 inhabitants, reduced to just 20-25,000 after the
Bologna was conquered by archbishop Giovanni Visconti, the new
lord of Milan. However, following a rebellion by the town's governor,
a renegade member of the Visconti family,
Bologna was recuperated to
the papacy in 1363 by cardinal
Gil Álvarez Carrillo de Albornoz
Gil Álvarez Carrillo de Albornoz after
a long negotiation involving a huge indemnity paid to Bernabò
Visconti (the heir to Giovanni, died in 1354). In 1376, Bologna
again revolted against Papal rule and joined
Florence in the
unsuccessful War of the Eight Saints. However, extreme infighting
inside the Holy See following the
Western Schism prevented the papacy
to restore its domination over
Bologna that remained relatively
independent for some decades as an oligarchic republic. In 1401
Giovanni I Bentivoglio took power by a coup with the support of Milan
but, having turned his back on them and allied with Florence, the
Milanese marched on
Bologna and had him killed the following year. In
1442 Hannibal I Bentivoglio, nephew of Giovanni, recovered Bologna
from the Milanese, only to be assassinated in a conspiracy plotted by
Eugene IV three years later. But the signoria of the Bentivoglio
family was then firmly established, and the power passed to his cousin
Sante Bentivoglio that ruled until 1462, followed by Giovanni II.
Giovanni II managed to resist the expansionist designs of Cesare
Borgia for some time, but on 7 October 1506, Pope
Julius II issued a
bull deposing and excommunicating Bentivoglio and placing the city
under interdict. When the papal troops, along with a contingent sent
by Louis XII of France, marched against Bologna, Bentivoglio and his
Julius II entered the city triumphantly on 10 November.
Bologna in 1640.
The period of Papal rule over
Bologna has been generally evalued by
historians as one of severe decline. However, this was not evident in
the 1500s that were in fact marked by some major developments in
Bologna. In 1530, Emperor Charles V was crowned in Bologna. In 1564,
the Piazza del Nettuno and the
Palazzo dei Banchi
Palazzo dei Banchi were built, along
with the Archiginnasio, the main building of the university. The
period of Papal rule saw also the construction of many churches and
other religious establishments, and the restoration of older ones. At
Bologna had ninety-six convents, more than any other
Italian city. Painters working in
Bologna during this period
Bolognese School which includes Annibale Carracci,
Guercino and others of European fame.
In the 17th century, the economy of
Bologna started to show signs of
severe decline as the global centres of trade shifted towards the
Atlantic. During the Italian Plague of 1629–31
Bologna lost up to a
third of its population. The traditional silk industry was in a
critical state. The university was losing students, that once came
from all over Europe, because of the illiberal attitudes of the Church
towards culture (especially after the trial of Galileo). Bologna
continued to suffer a progressive deindustrialisation also in the 18th
In the mid-1700s pope Benedict XIV, a Bolognese, tried to reverse the
decline of the city with a series of reforms intended to stimulate the
economy and promoting the arts. However, these reforms achieved only
mixed results. The pope's efforts to stimulate the decaying textile
industry had little success, while he was more successful in reforming
the tax system and liberalising trade and relaxed the oppressive
system of censorship.
The economic and demographic decline of
Bologna became even more
noticeable starting from the second half of the 18th century. In 1790
the city had 72,000 inhabitants, ranking as the second largest in the
Papal States; however this figure had remained unchanged for decades.
The economy was stagnant because of Papal policies that distorted
trade with heavy custom dues and sold concessions of monopolies to
single manufacturers thus lowering competition, depressing
productivity and incentivising corruption.
Late modern and contemporary
Piazza del Nettuno in 1855, looking towards Piazza Maggiore.
Napoleon entered Bologna, making it the capital of the short
lived Cispadane Republic, a client state of the French Empire. After
the fall of Napoleon, the
Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna of 1815 placed Bologna
once again under the oppressive rule of the Papal States, leading to
the unsuccessful uprisings of 1831. By the mid 1840s, unemployment
levels were very high and traditional industries continued to languish
Bologna became a city of economic disparity with the top
10 percent of the population living of rent, another 20 percent
exercising professions or commerce and 70 percent working in low-paid,
often insecure manual jobs. The Papal census of 1841 reported 10,000
permanent beggars and another 30,000 (out of a total population of
70,000) who lived in poverty. In the revolutions of 1848 the
Austrian garrisons which controlled the city on behalf of the Pope
were temporarily expelled, but eventually came back and crashed the
revolutionaries. Finally, in the aftermath of Second War of Italian
Independence, when the French and Pidemontese troops expelled the
Austrians from Italian lands, on 11 and 12 March 1860
for joining the new Kingdom of Italy.
In the last decades of the 19th century,
Bologna once again thrived
economically and socially. In 1863
Naples was linked to
railway, and the following year
Bologna to Florence. Bolognese
moderate agrarian elites, that supported liberal insurgencies against
the papacy and were admirers of the British political system and of
free trade, envisioned a unified national state that would open a
bigger market for the massive agricultural production of the Emilian
Italy one of its first prime
ministers, Marco Minghetti.
After World War I,
Bologna was heavily involved in the Biennio Rosso
socialist uprisings. As a consequence, the traditionally moderate
elites of the city turned their back on the progressive faction and
gave their support to the rising Fascist movement of Benito
Mussolini. Dino Grandi, a high-ranking Fascist party official and
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, remembered for being an Anglophile, was
from Bologna. During the interwar years,
Bologna developed into an
important manufacturing centre for food processing, agricultural
machinery and metalworking. The Fascist regime poured in massive
investments, for example with the setting up of a giant tobacco
manufacturing plant in 1937.
World War II
Bologna suffered extensive damage during World War II. The strategic
importance of the city as an industrial and railway hub connecting
northern and central
Italy made it a strategic target for the Allied
forces. On 24 July 1943, a massive aerial bombardment destroyed a
significant part of the historic city centre and killed about 200
people. The main railway station and adjoining areas were severely
hit, and 44% of the buildings in the centre were listed as having been
destroyed or severely damaged. The city was heavily bombed again on 25
September. The raids, which this time were not confined to the city
centre, left more than 1,000 people dead and thousands injured.
After the armistice of 1943, the city became a key centre of the
Italian resistance movement. On 7 November 1944, a pitched battle
around Porta Lame, waged by partisans of the 7th Brigade of the Gruppi
d'Azione Patriottica against Fascist and Nazi occupation forces, did
not succeed in triggering a general uprising, despite being one of the
largest resistance-led urban conflicts in the European theatre.
Resistance forces entered
Bologna on the morning of 21 April 1945. By
this time, the Germans had already largely left the city in the face
of the Allied advance, spearheaded by Polish forces advancing from the
east during the
Battle of Bologna
Battle of Bologna which had been fought since 9 April.
First to arrive in the centre was the 87th Infantry Regiment of the
Friuli Combat Group under general Arturo Scattini, who entered the
centre from Porta Maggiore to the south. Since the soldiers were
dressed in British outfits, they were initially thought to be part of
the allied forces; when the local inhabitants heard the soldiers were
speaking Italian, they poured out on to the streets to celebrate.
Aftermath of the 1980 terrorist bombing.
In the post-war years,
Bologna became a thriving industrial centre as
well as a political stronghold of the Italian Communist Party. Between
1945 and 1999, the city had an uninterrupted series of left-wing
mayors, the first of whom was Giuseppe Dozza. At the end of the 1960s
the city authorities, worried by massive gentrification and
suburbanisation, asked Japanese archistar
Kenzo Tange to sketch a
master plan for a new town north of Bologna; however, the project that
came out in 1970 was evaluated as way too much ambitious and
expensive. Eventually the city council, in spite of vetoing
Tange's master plan, decided to keep his project for a new exhibition
centre and business district. At the end of 1978 the construction
of a tower block and several diverse buildings and structures
started. In 1985 the headquarters of the regional government of
Emilia-Romagna moved in the new district.
Bologna was the scene of rioting linked to the Movement of
1977, a spontaneous political movement of the time. The alleged police
shooting of a far-left activist, Francesco Lorusso, sparked two days
of street clashes. On 2 August 1980, at the height of the "years of
lead", a terrorist bomb was set off in the central railway station of
Bologna killing 85 people and wounding 200, an event which is known in
Italy as the
Bologna massacre. In 1995, members of the neo-fascist
Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari were convicted for carrying out the
attack, while Licio Gelli—Grand Master of the underground Freemason
Propaganda Due (P2)—was convicted for hampering the
investigation, together with three agents of the secret military
Francesco Pazienza and Pietro
Musumeci). Commemorations take place in
Bologna on 2 August each year,
culminating in a concert in the main square.
In 1999 the long tradition of left-wing mayors was interrupted by the
victory of the independent candidate Giorgio Guazzaloca, who led a
centre-right coalition; this brief experience ended in 2004 when
Sergio Cofferati, a former trade union leader, was elected. The next
centre-left mayor, Flavio Delbono, elected in June 2009, resigned in
January 2010 after being involved in a corruption scandal. After a
15-month period in which the city was administered under Anna Maria
Cancellieri (as a state-appointed prefect),
Virginio Merola was
elected as mayor, leading a left-wing coalition comprising the
Left Ecology Freedom
Left Ecology Freedom and
Italy of Values.
Aerial photograph of
Bologna (from East to West).
Bologna is situated on the edge of the Po Plain at the foot of the
Apennine Mountains, at the meeting of the Reno and
valleys. As Bologna's two main watercourses flow directly to the sea,
the town lies outside of the drainage basin of the River Po. The
Bologna stretches from the western edge of the Po Plain on
the border with
Ferrara to the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. The centre of
the town is 54 metres (177 ft) above sea level (while elevation
within the municipality ranges from 29 metres (95 ft) in the
suburb of Corticella to 300 metres (980 ft) in Sabbiuno and the
Colle della Guardia). The Province of
Bologna stretches from the Po
Plain into the Apennines; the highest point in the province is the
peak of Corno alle Scale (in Lizzano in Belvedere) at 1,945 metres
(6,381 ft) above sea level.
Bologna has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate
Annual precipitation oscillates between around 450 mm
(18 in) and 900 mm (35 in), with the majority
generally falling in spring and autumn.
Snow occasionally falls during
winter and heavy snowfalls; the last major event was in November
Climate data for
Bologna (1971–2000, extremes 1946–present)
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source: Servizio Meteorologico (sun and humidity
See also: List of mayors of Bologna
Bologna City Council
Consiglio Comunale di Bologna
Virginio Merola, PD
Since 16 May 2011
Party-list proportional representation
5–19 June 2016
Palazzo d'Accursio, Bologna
Virginio Merola, mayor of
Bologna since 2011.
The six boroughs of Bologna.
The legislative body of the municipality is the City Council
(Consiglio Comunale), which is composed by 48 councillors elected
every five years with a proportional system, contextually to the
mayoral elections. The executive body is the City Committee (Giunta
Comunale), composed by 12 assessors, that is nominated and presided
over by a directly elected Mayor. The current mayor of
Virginio Merola (PD), elected on 16 May 2011 with the 50.5% of the
votes. On 19 June 2016 Merola was re-elected in a second-round
ballot with 54.64% of votes.
The municipality of
Bologna is subdivided into six administrative
Boroughs (Quartieri), down from the former nine before the 2015
administrative reform. Each Borough is governed by a Council
(Consiglio) and a President, elected contextually to the city Mayor.
The urban organization is governed by the Italian Constitution (art.
114). The Boroughs have the power to advise the Mayor with nonbinding
opinions on a large spectrum of topics (environment, construction,
public health, local markets) and exercise the functions delegated to
them by the City Council; in addition they are supplied with an
autonomous founding in order to finance local activities.
Provincial and regional government
Fiera District, seat of the regional government of Emilia-Romagna.
Bologna is the capital of the eponymous administrative province and of
Emilia-Romagna, one of the twenty regions of Italy. While the Province
Bologna has a population of 1,007,644, making it the twelfth
most populated province of Italy,
Emilia-Romagna ranks as the sixth
most populated region of Italy, with about 4.5 million inhabitants,
more than 7% of the national total. The seat of the regional
government is Fiera District, a tower complex designed by Japanese
Kenzo Tange in 1985.
According to the last governmental dispositions concerning
administrative reorganisation, the urban area of
Bologna is one of the
15 Metropolitan municipalities (città metropolitane), new
administrative bodies fully operative since 1 January 2015. The
new Metro municipalities, giving large urban areas the administrative
powers of a province, are conceived for improving the performance of
local administrations and to slash local spending by better
co-ordinating the municipalities in providing basic services
(including transport, school and social programs) and environment
protection. In this policy framework, the Mayor of
designated to exercise the functions of Metropolitan mayor (Sindaco
metropolitano), presiding over a Metropolitan Council formed by 18
mayors of municipalities within the Metro municipality.
Metropolitan City of Bologna
Metropolitan City of Bologna is headed by the Metropolitan Mayor
(Sindaco metropolitano) and by the Metropolitan Council (Consiglio
metropolitano). Since 21 June 2016 Virginio Merola, as mayor of the
capital city, has been the mayor of the Metropolitan City.
Panoramic view of central Bologna
Piazza Maggiore, with San Petronio Basilica,
Palazzo dei Banchi
Palazzo dei Banchi and
Palazzo del Podestà.
For a complete list, see Buildings and structures in Bologna.
The colorful open-air market of Via Pescherie Vecchie.
Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca.
Until the late 19th century, when a large-scale urban renewal project
Bologna was one of the few remaining large walled
cities in Europe; to this day and despite having suffered considerable
bombing damage in 1944, Bologna's 350 acres (141.64 ha) historic
centre is Europe's second largest, containing an immense wealth of
important medieval, renaissance, and baroque artistic monuments.
Bologna developed along the
Via Emilia as an Etruscan and later Roman
Via Emilia still runs straight through the city under the
changing names of Strada Maggiore, Rizzoli, Ugo Bassi, and San Felice.
Due to its Roman heritage, the central streets of Bologna, today
largely pedestrianized, follow the grid pattern of the Roman
settlement. The original Roman ramparts were supplanted by a high
medieval system of fortifications, remains of which are still visible,
and finally by a third and final set of ramparts built in the 13th
century, of which numerous sections survive. No more than twenty
medieval defensive towers remain out of up to 180 that were built in
the 12th and 13th centuries before the arrival of unified civic
government. The most famous of the towers of
Bologna are the central
"Due Torri" (Asinelli and Garisenda), whose iconic leaning forms
provide a popular symbol of the town.
The cityscape is further enriched by its elegant and extensive
porticoes, for which the city is famous. In total, there are some 38
kilometres (24 miles) of porticoes in the city's historical centre
(over 45 km (28 mi) in the city proper), which make it
possible to walk for long distances sheltered from the elements.
Portico di San Luca is possibly the world's longest. It
Porta Saragozza (one of the twelve gates of the ancient walls
built in the Middle Ages, which circled a 7.5 km (4.7 mi)
part of the city) with the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca, a
church begun in 1723 on the site of an 11th-century edifice which had
already been enlarged in the 14th century, prominently located on a
hill (289 metres (948 feet)) overlooking the town, which is one of
Bologna's main landmarks. The windy 666 vault arcades, almost four
kilometres (3,796 m or 12,454 ft) long, effectively links
San Luca, as the church is commonly called, to the city centre. Its
porticos provide shelter for the traditional procession which every
year since 1433 has carried a
Byzantine icon of the Madonna with Child
Luke the Evangelist
Luke the Evangelist down to the
Bologna Cathedral during
the Feast of the Ascension.
San Petronio Basilica, built between 1388 and 1479 (but still
unfinished), is the tenth-largest church in the world by volume, 132
metres long and 66 metres wide, while the vault reaches 45 metres
inside and 51 metres in the facade. With its volume of
258,000 m³, it is the largest (Gothic or otherwise) church built
of bricks of the world. The Basilica of Saint Stephen and its
sanctuary are among the oldest structures in Bologna, having been
built starting from the 8th century, according to the tradition on the
site of an ancient temple dedicated to Egyptian goddess Isis. The
Basilica of Saint Dominic is an example of Romanic architecture from
the 13th century, enriched by the monumental tombs of great Bolognese
glossators Rolandino de'Passeggeri and Egidio Foscherari. Basilicas of
Santa Maria dei Servi
Santa Maria dei Servi and San Giacomo Maggiore are other
magnificent examples of 14th century architecture, the latter also
featuring Renaissance artworks such as the Bentivoglio Altarpiece by
Lorenzo Costa. Finally, the Church of
San Michele in Bosco
San Michele in Bosco is a
15th-century religious complex located on a hill not far from the
city's historical cente.
View from the top of the Basilica di San Petronio. In center the dome
of Santuario di Santa Maria della Vita, right – "Due Torri":
Asinelli (higher) and Garisenda.
Unipol Tower, at 127 m, is the city's tallest building.
In terms of total GDP, the
Metropolitan City of Bologna
Metropolitan City of Bologna generated a
value of about 35 billion € (40.6 billion $) in 2014, equivalent to
€34,251 ($39,765) per capita, the third highest figure among Italian
Milan and Bolzano/Bozen).
The economy of
Bologna is characterized by a flourishing industrial
sector, traditionally centered on the transformation of agricultural
and zootechnical products (Granarolo, Segafredo Zanetti, Conserve
Italia), machinery (Coesia, IMA), energy (Hera Group), automotive
(Ducati, Lamborghini), footwear, textile, engineering, chemical,
printing and publishing (,). The city has also a strong financial,
insurance (Unipol) and retail (Coop Italia, Conad) sector.
Bologna is considered the centre of the so-called
"packaging valley", an area well known for its high concentration of
firms specialised in the manufacturing of automatic packaging
Bologna is well known for its dense network
of cooperatives, a feature that dates back to the social struggles of
farmers and workers in the 1800s and that today produces up to a third
of its GDP and occupies 265 thousand people in the Emilia-Romagna
The city's Fiera District exhibition centre is one of the largest in
Europe, extending over 375,000 m2 of covered and outdoors areas.
It hosts yearly international expos focused on the automobile sector
Bologna Motor Show), ceramics for the building industry
(International Exhibition of Ceramic Tiles and Bathroom Furnishings)
and food industry.
Bologna is also a key railway and motorway hub in
Italy, connecting the northern powerhouses of
Lombardy and Venetia
Rome and the south.
Trolleybus of ATC municipal transport company in Via Saffi.
Bologna is home to the
Guglielmo Marconi International Airport,
recently expanded to accommodate larger aircraft. Today, it is the
seventh busiest Italian airport for passenger traffic (7 million
passengers handled in 2016).
Bologna Centrale railway station
Bologna Centrale railway station is one
of the most important train hubs in
Italy thanks to the city's
strategic location. It serves 58 million passengers annually. In
Bologna San Donato classification yard, with 33 railway
tracks, is the largest in
Italy by size and traffic. The city is
also served by a large network of public bus lines, including
trolleybus lines, operated since 2012 by Trasporto Passeggeri
Emilia-Romagna SpA (TPER).
A large commuter rail service is currently under development (see
Bologna metropolitan railway service).
Bologna Public Transportation Statistics
The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit
in Bologna, for example to and from work, on a weekday is 53 min. 9%
of public transit riders ride for more than 2 hours every day. The
average amount of time people wait at a stop or station for public
transit is 12 min, while 16% of riders wait for over 20 minutes on
average every day. The average distance people usually ride in a
single trip with public transit is 5.4 km, while 7% travel for
over 12 km in a single direction.
At the end of 2016, the city proper had a population of 388,254 (while
1 million live in the greater
Bologna area), located in the province
of Bologna, Emilia Romagna, of whom 46.7% were male and 53.3% were
female. Minors (children ages 18 and younger) totalled 12.86 percent
of the population compared to pensioners who number 27.02 percent.
This compares with the Italian average of 18.06 percent (minors) and
19.94 percent (pensioners). The average age of
Bologna resident is 51
compared to the Italian average of 42. In the five years between 2002
and 2007, the population of
Bologna grew by 0.0 percent, while Italy
as a whole grew by 3.56 percent. The current birth rate of Bologna
is 8.07 births per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the Italian average
of 9.45 births.
As of 2009[update], 89.47% of the population was Italian. The largest
immigrant group came from other European countries (mostly Romanians
and Albanians): 2.82%,
East Asia (mostly Filipino): 1.50%, and South
Asia (mostly from Bangladesh): 1.39%.
Bologna University is the oldest academic institution of the world,
founded in AD 1088.
The University of Bologna, conventionally said to have been founded in
1088 by glossators
Irnerius and Pepo, is considered the oldest
university in the world. It was an important centre of European
intellectual life during the Middle Ages, attracting scholars from
Italy and throughout Europe. The Studium, as it was originally
known, began as a loosely organized teaching system with each master
collecting fees from students on an individual basis. The location of
the early University was thus spread throughout the city, with various
colleges being founded to support students of a specific nationality.
Anatomical theatre of the Archiginnasio, dating from 1637.
In the Napoleonic era, the headquarters of the university were moved
to their present location on Via Zamboni, in the north-eastern sector
of the city centre. Today, the University's 11 schools, 33
departments, and 93 libraries are spread across the city and include
four subsidiary campuses in nearby Cesena, Forlì, Ravenna, and
Rimini. Noteworthy students present at the university in centuries
past included Dante, Petrarch, Thomas Becket, Pope Nicholas V, Erasmus
of Rotterdam, Peter Martyr Vermigli, and Copernicus. Laura Bassi,
appointed in 1732, became the first woman to officially teach at a
college in Europe. In more recent history, Luigi Galvani, the
discoverer of bioelectromagnetics, and Guglielmo Marconi, the pioneer
of radio technology, also worked at the University. The University of
Bologna remains one of the most respected and dynamic post-secondary
educational institutions in Italy. To this day,
Bologna is still very
much a university town, with over 80,000 enrolled students in 2015.
This community includes a great number of Erasmus, Socrates, and
overseas students. The university's botanical garden, the Orto
Botanico dell'Università di Bologna, was established in 1568; it is
the fourth oldest in Europe.
Bologna is also home to private tertiary institutions, such as the
Bologna Center of
Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced
International Studies (SAIS). SAIS
Bologna was founded in 1955 as the
first campus of a US post-graduate school to open in Europe. It
was inspired by Marshall Plan efforts to build a cultural bridge
between America and Europe. Today, the
Bologna Center also hosts
the Associazione italo-americana "Luciano Finelli," which supports
cross-cultural awareness and exchange between
Italy and the United
Bologna hosts a music school, Conservatorio Giovanni
Battista Martini, established in 1804 and a art school, Accademia di
Belle Arti di Bologna, founded in 1802. Both institutions were born as
part of the reforms introduced by
International museum and library of music
International museum and library of music displays ancient musical
instruments and unique musical scores from the 16th to the 20th
Over the centuries,
Bologna has acquired many nicknames: "the learned
one" (la dotta) is a reference to its university; "the fat one" (la
grassa) refers to its cuisine; "the red one" (la rossa), originally
referring to the colour of the roofs in the historic centre, became
later connected to the political leanings of the city, in particular
after World War II: until the election of a centre-right mayor in
1999, the city was renowned as a bastion of the Italian Communist
Party. The centre-left regained power again in the 2004 mayoral
elections, with the election of Sergio Cofferati. It was one of the
first European cities to experiment with the concept of free public
The city of
Bologna became a
UNESCO City of Music on 26 May 2006.
According to UNESCO, "As the first Italian city to be appointed to the
Bologna has demonstrated a rich musical tradition that is
continuing to evolve as a vibrant factor of contemporary life and
creation. It has also shown a strong commitment to promoting music as
an important vehicle for inclusion in the fight against racism and in
an effort to encourage economic and social development. Fostering a
wide range of genres from classical to electronic, jazz, folk and
Bologna offers its citizens a musical vitality that deeply
infiltrates the city's professional, academic, social and cultural
Entertainment and performing arts
Façade of "Arena del Sole" theatre.
The theatre was a popular form of entertainment in
Bologna until the
16th century. The first public theater was the Teatro alla Scala,
active since 1547 in Palazzo del Podestà. An important figure of
Italian Bolognese theatre was Alfredo Testoni, the playwright, author
of The Cardinal Lambertini, which has had great theatrical success
since 1905, repeated on screen by the Bolognese actor Gino Cervi. In
1998, the City of
Bologna initiated the project "
Bologna dei Teatri"
Bologna of the Theatres), an association of the major theatrical
facilities in the city. This is a circuit of theatres which offer
diverse theatrical opportunities, ranging from Bolognese dialect to
contemporary dance, but with a communications strategy and promoting
unity. Specifically, the shows on the bill in various theatres
participating in the project are advertised weekly through a single
poster. Bologna's opera house is the Teatro Comunale di Bologna. The
Orchestra Mozart, whose music director was
Claudio Abbado until his
death in 2014, was created in 2004.
Bologna hosts a number of international music, art, dance and film
festivals, including Angelica
Bologna and Contemporanea (festivals
on contemporary music), Bolognafestival (international classical
Bologna Jazz Festival, Biografilm Festival (a
film festival devote to biographic movies), BilBolBul (a comics
festival), Danza Urbana (a street contemporary dance festival)
F.I.S.Co(festival on contemporary art, now merged in Live Arts Week)
Future Film Festival (animation and special effects),Il Cinema
Ritrovato(film festival about rare and forgotten movies), Live
Arts Week, Gender Bender (festival on gender identity, sexual
orientation and body representation), Homework festival
(electronic music festival), Human Rights Film Festival, Some
Prefer Cake (lesbian film festival),
Zecchino d'Oro (a children's
Tagliatelle al ragù Bolognese as served in Bologna.
Bologna is renowned for its culinary tradition. It has baptised the
famous Bolognese sauce, a meat based pasta sauce that in
called ragù and is substantially different from the variety found
worldwide; moreover, in
Bologna the sauce is used only as a dressing
for tagliatelle, serving it with spaghetti being considered odd.
Situated in the fertile Po River Valley, the rich local cuisine
depends heavily on meats and cheeses. As in all of Emilia-Romagna, the
production of cured pork meats such as prosciutto, mortadella and
salumi is an important part of the local food industry.
Well-regarded nearby vineyards include Pignoletto dei Colli Bolognesi,
Sangiovese di Romagna.
ragù, lasagne, tortellini served in broth, and mortadella, the
Bologna sausage, are among the local specialties.
Traditional Bolognese desserts are often linked to holidays, such as
fave dei morti ("cookies of the dead"), multi-coloured almond paste
cookies made for All Saints' Day, jam-filled raviole cookies that are
served on Saint Joseph's Day, and carnival sweets known as sfrappole,
a light and delicate fried pastry topped with powder sugar. Torta di
riso, a custard-like cake made of almonds, rice and amaretto, is made
throughout the year.
Stadio Renato Dall'Ara
Stadio Renato Dall'Ara is the home of
A sporting nickname for
Bologna is Basket City in reference to the
successes of the town's two rival historic basketball clubs, Fortitudo
and Virtus, though the clubs are now often referred to by the names of
their current sponsors. Of the two, the latter won 15 Italian
basketball championships and two Euroleagues making them one of the
most influential European basketball clubs; the former won two league
titles between 1999 and 2005. The rivalry is temporarily dormant since
Fortitudo left the country's professional ranks when, following the
2008–09 season, the club was relegated from the top-level Lega A to
LegADue, before being relegated further to the nominally amateur Serie
A Dilettanti for financial reasons; in the 2012–13 season, Fortitudo
will play in the LegADue. The Italian
Basketball League, which
operates both Lega A and LegADue, has its headquarters in Bologna.
Football also has a strong tradition in Bologna. The city's main club,
Bologna F.C. 1909, have won seven Italian league championships (the
latest in 1963–64), which make them the sixth most successful team
in the history of the league; in their heyday in the 1930s
were called "Lo squadrone che tremare il mondo fa" (Italian for "The
Team that Shakes the World"). The club play at the 38,000-capacity
Stadio Renato Dall'Ara, which has hosted the Italian national team in
both football and rugby union, as well as the San Marino national
football team. It was also a venue at the 1990 FIFA World Cup.
Rugby union is also present in the city: Rugby
Bologna 1928 is not
only one of the oldest Italian rugby union clubs but also the first
ever club affiliated to the Italian rugby union federation. and,
to date (2014) is Italy's oldest rugby union club still in operation.
The club took part to the top tier of the Italian championship for the
first 25 years of their history never winning the title but getting to
the runner-up place several times; they returned in top division
(Serie A1 then Super 10), in the late 1990s and faced serious
financial problems which led them to the relegation and almost to
Main category: People from Bologna
Pope Benedict XIV, born in
Bologna in 1675
Ulisse Aldrovandi (naturalist, 1522–1605)
Antonio Alessandrini (anatomist and parasitologist, 1786–1861)
Maria Gaetana Agnesi
Maria Gaetana Agnesi (mathematician, humanitarian, and linguist,
Amico Aspertini (painter, c. 1474–1552)
Pupi Avati (director, born 1938)
Riccardo Bacchelli (writer, 1891–1985)
Adriano Banchieri (composer, 1568–1634)
Agostino Barelli (architect, 1627–1687)
Antonio Basoli (painter and scene designer, 1774–1848)
Laura Bassi (scientist, first female appointed to university chair in
Ugo Bassi (Italian nationalist hero, executed for role in 1848
Pier Francesco Battistelli (painter of quadratura, 17th-century)
Stefano Benni (writer, born 1947)
Benedict XIV (Prospero Lambertini, Pope 1740–58)
Giovanni II Bentivoglio
Giovanni II Bentivoglio (1443–1508)
Giordano Berti (writer, born 1959)
Amedeo Biavati (footballer, 1915–1979, credited with the invention
of the stepover, World Champion 1938, played only for
Cristina D'Avena (actress and singer, born 1964)
Francesco Ricci Bitti, Italian sports administrator
Simone Bolelli (professional tennis player, born 1985)
Giacomo Bolognini (painter, 1664–1734)
Rafael Bombelli (mathematician, 1526–1572)
Rossano Brazzi (actor, 1916–1994)
Floriano Buroni (engraver, 17th-century)
Raffaella Carrà (singer, born 1943)
Annibale Carracci (painter, 1560–1609)
Lodovico Carracci (painter, 1555–1619)
Agostino Carracci (painter, 1557–1602)
Chiara Caselli (actress, born 1967)
Pier Ferdinando Casini
Pier Ferdinando Casini (politician, born 1955)
Pietro Cataldi (mathematician, 1548–1626)
Pierluigi Collina (football referee, born 1960)
Carlo Colombara (operatic bass, born 1964)
Giovanni Paolo Colonna
Giovanni Paolo Colonna (composer, 1637–1695)
Alessandro Cortini (musician, born 1976)
Cesare Cremonini (songwriter, 1980)
Giuseppe Maria Crespi (painter, 1665–1747)
Donato Creti (painter, 1671–1749)
Giulio Cesare Croce (cantastorie and writer, 1550–1609)
Scipione del Ferro (mathematician, solved the cubic equation,
Francesco Francia (Francesco Raibolini, painter, c. 1450–1517)
Lucio Dalla (singer-songwriter, 1943–2012)
Domenichino (Domenico Zampieri, painter, 1581–1641)
Elena Duglioli (Roman Catholic aristocrat, 1472–1520)
Sara Errani (tennis player, born 1987)
Gianfranco Fini (politician, born 1952)
Aristotile Fioravanti (architect, c. 1415–c. 1486)
Luigi Galvani (scientist, discoverer of bioelectricity, 1737–1798)
Alessandro Gamberini, (footballer, born 1981)
Serena Grandi (actress, born 1958)
Gregory XIII (Ugo Boncompagni, Pope 1572–85, instituted the
Gregory XV (Alessandro Ludovisi, Pope 1621–3)
Guercino (Giovanni Barbieri, painter, 1591–1666)
Irnerius (jurist, c. 1050–at least 1125)
Imelda Lambertini (Dominican novice, Eucharistic mystic, and
child saint, c. 1322–1333)
Claudio Lolli (singer-songwriter, born 1950)
Lucius II (Gherardo Caccianemici dell'Orso, Pope 1144–5)
Marcello Malpighi (physiologist, anatomist and histologist,
Guglielmo Marconi (engineer, pioneer of wireless telegraphy, Nobel
prize for Physics, 1874–1937)
Giovanni Battista Martini
Giovanni Battista Martini (musical theorist, 1706–1784)
Giuseppe Mezzofanti (cardinal, linguist and hyperpolyglot,
Marco Minghetti (economist and statesman, 1818–1886)
Giorgio Morandi (painter, 1890–1964)
Gianni Morandi (singer, born 1944)
Ludovico Morbioli (Catholic layman, declared Blessed, 1433–1485)
Edgardo Mortara (Catholic priest that was the subject of the Mortara
Case during the Risorgimento, 1851–1940)
Gianluca Pagliuca (footballer, born 1966)
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Pier Paolo Pasolini (writer, poet, director, 1922–1975)
Roberto Regazzi (luthier, born 1956)
Guido Reni (painter, 1575–1642)
Ottorino Respighi (composer, 1879–1936)
Augusto Righi (physicist, authority on electromagnetism, 1850–1920)
Carlo Ruini (equine anatomist, 1530–1598)
Angelo Schiavio (footballer, 1905–1990, scored the winning goal in
extra time in the 1934 World Cup Final, played only for Bologna)
Elisabetta Sirani (painter, 1638–1665)
Alberto Tomba (skier, born 1966)
Ondina Valla (first Italian woman Olympic gold medalist, 1916–2006)
Mariele Ventre (teacher and educator, founder of Piccolo Coro dell'
Antoniano choir, 1939–1995)
Christian Vieri (footballer, born 1973)
Vitale da Bologna
Vitale da Bologna (painter, fl. 1330, d. 1361)
Anteo Zamboni (anarchist who at the age of 15 attempted to assassinate
Benito Mussolini, 1911–1926)
Alex Zanardi (racing driver, born 1966)
Marco Aurelio Zani de Ferranti (writer, musician, and composer,
Alessandro Carloni (director, animator, artist who worked on films
Kung Fu Panda
Kung Fu Panda and The Croods, born 1978)
In addition to the natives of the city listed above, the following
Bologna their home:
Giosuè Carducci (poet and academic, Nobel Prize for Literature, born
near Lucca, Tuscany, 1835–1907)
Carlo Felice Cillario (Italian conductor of international renown,
founder of the
Bologna Chamber Orchestra in 1946 (7 February 1915 –
13 December 2007)
Umberto Eco (writer and academic, born in Alessandria, Piedmont,
Enzio of Sardinia
Enzio of Sardinia (born c. 1218, King of
Sardinia and illegitimate son
of Emperor Frederick II, was imprisoned in
Palazzo Re Enzo
Palazzo Re Enzo from 1249
until his death in 1272)
Vasco Errani (politician, born 1955)
William Girometti (painter, born in Milan, 1924-1998)
Alfonso Lombardi (sculptor, born in Ferrara, c. 1497–1537)
Niccolò dell'Arca (sculptor, born in Bari, c. 1435/1440–2 March
Juan Ignacio Molina
Juan Ignacio Molina (naturalist, born in Chile, 1740–1829)
Giovanni Pascoli (poet and academic, born in San Mauro di Romagna,
St. Petronius (San Petronio, bishop of
Bologna and patron saint of the
city, birthplace unknown, died c. 450 AD)
Romano Prodi (economist, politician, born in Scandiano, Reggio Emilia,
Gioachino Rossini (opera composer, born in Pesaro, 1792–1868)
Giuseppe Torelli (composer, born in Verona, 1658–1709)
Wu Ming (collective of writers, active since 2000)
Farinelli (Carlo Broschi, castrato opera singer, 1705–1782)
COESIA Group – G.D (packaging)
CIBO- Culinary Institute of
Bologna – (Culinary-Cooking School))
Coop (supermarket chain)
Ducati Motor Holding (motorcycles)
IMA S.p.A (packaging)
OMAS (writing instruments)
Segafredo Zanetti – (coffee)
Unipol – (bank and insurance)
YOOX Group Spa – (Fashion / Online Apparel Retailer)
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See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Italy
Bologna is twinned with:
Asmara, Eritrea, since 1974
Coventry, United Kingdom, since 1984
Japan since 2013
Kharkiv, Ukraine, since 1966
La Plata, Argentina, since 1988
Leipzig, Germany, since 1962
Portland, United States, since 2003
Saint-Louis, Senegal, since 1991
St. Louis, United States, since 1987
San Carlos, Nicaragua, since 1988
Thessaloniki, Greece, since 1981
Toulouse, France, since 1981
Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, since 1994
Valencia, Spain, since 1976
Zagreb, Croatia, since 1961
Bologna metropolitan area
Bolognese bell ringing art
List of tallest buildings in Bologna
Opera Pia Dei Poveri Mendicanti
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^ data from http://www.bolognawelcome.com, Basilica di San Petronio
plus calculations as follows:
San Petronio de Bologna: The footplan of the building is a simple
Area = length of the building x width of the building = 132 m x 60 m
The volume, without the roofs, can be calculated as a sum of five
cuboids, one single (the central nave) and two pairs (the aisles and
the files of chapels). The sum each of the pairs can be calculated as
one cuboid of double width. Knowing the height of the central nave and
the width of the building, the measures of the sections can be
calculated by measuring an orthograde photo of the facade.
Volume = (traverse section of the central nave [width = 22 m, height =
44.27 m] + sum of the traverse sections of the two aisles [width = 20
m, height = 29.06 m] + sum of the traverse sections of the two files
of chapels [width = 18 m, height = 22.38 m]) x length of the building
(973.94 + 581.2 + 402.84) x 132 = 1,957.98 x 132 = 258,453.36
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See also: Bibliography of the history of Bologna
Mancini, Giorgia, and Nicholas Penny, eds. The Sixteenth Century
Italian Paintings: Volume III:
Bologna (National Gallery
Rashdall, Hastings. The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages:
Volume 1, Salerno, Bologna,
Robertson, Anne Walters. Tyranny under the Mantle of St Peter: Pope
Paul II and
Grieco, Romy. Bologna: a city to discover(1976)
Insight Guides. Pocket
Noyes, Mary Tolaro.
Bologna Reflections (2009).
Italy (2nd ed.), Coblenz: Karl Baedeker, 1870 **
"Bologna", Hand-book for Travellers in Northern
Italy (16th ed.),
London: John Murray, 1897, OCLC 2231483
T. Francis Bumpus (1900), "
Ferrara and Bologna", The Cathedrals and
Churches of Northern Italy, London: Laurie
Italy (14th ed.), Leipzig: Karl Baedeker,
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