Bologna Things to Do
Medieval and Renaissance structures, contemporary architecture, leftist politics, higher education, world-class cuisine and café culture collide in Bologna. Revel in the red, the fat and the learned in the Emilia-Romagna region’s capital city.
Bologna is known as La Rossa, “The Red One,” because it was Italy’s anti-fascist capital during WWII and its left-leaning tradition that is still prevalent. Italy’s culinary capital is also affectionately known as La Grassa, “The Fat One,” due to its revered cuisine, including Bolognese sauce, mortadella, tortellini, and Parmigiano Reggiano. Furthermore, Bologna is home to the oldest university in the world, hence the moniker La Dotta, “The Learned One.” In addition to its aliases, Bologna is famous for its appealing piazzas and parade of porticoes, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some of the city’s must-see sights include Piazza Maggiore, the beating heart of Bologna and one of the oldest squares in Italy; and the Archaeological Civic Museum, which boasts exceptional ancient Egyptian and Etruscan sections.
What to see
The University of Bologna, founded in 1088, has the distinct honor of being the oldest university in continuous operation in the world. Some of its distinguished alumni include Nicolaus Copernicus, Dante Alighieri, Guglielmo Marconi, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Umberto Eco. Although not as famous as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Bologna’s Two Towers (Due Torri) are leaning landmarks of the city. Asinelli is the taller tower, while shorter Garisenda is mentioned in Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” Motorcycle enthusiasts will not want to miss the Ducati Museum, which contains a collection of Ducati motorcycles and is designed to narrate the history of the company.