Bologna lies at the southermost
end of the Padana Plain.
It is an important industrial, agricultural and trade center and
a key road and rail intersection.
Bologna is a beautiful city, rich in history and culture.
For instance, its university is the oldest in the western world.
But the past here mingles with the present, thanks to the entrepreneurial
spirit of its people.
It is lovely to stroll under the porticoes
that wind for about 40 km around the city center!
In the norther part of the city there is a new international
exhibition center planned by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange.
Bologna was an Etruscan town originally called
Felsina. In 189 BC it became a Roman colony with the name of
Bononia and started to grow in importance until it became an
It was damaged by fire under Claudius, then rebuilt and enlarged
under Nero, with the addition of some new public buildings.
After a period of decadence it acquired new glory under bishop
Petronio, who then became patron saint of the city.
From the 11th century Bologna experienced heavy economic and
urban growth. It was part of the Lega Lombarda under Federico
It is believed the university was built here in 1088, the first
Dante Alighieri, Petrarca and Boccaccio all were students here.
In the 13th century Bologna was at its height thanks to its
academic prestige. Later it was ruled by the Viscontis and the
From 1506 till the end of the 18th century it was under papal
rule. Between the 16th and 18th century Bologna acquired its
.During the Napoleonic period the city
became the capital of the Repubblica Cispadana and flourished
in the cultural, political and economic fields.
For the next 45 years, while papal power was being restored, it
played a leading role in the Risorgimento, the Italian movement
for independence and unification. Finally, in 1859 the city voted
to be annexed to Piedmont and be part of united Italy