This installment of Three Things About Bologna is courtesy of Alice Brignani, Bologna Welcome
1. Question: What are some of the “things” or activities that the people of Bologna do for fun?
Bologna is a medium-size, very authentic Italian city and its inhabitants are famous for enjoying life and having fine-tuned the art of living well. People of Bologna go out a lot to eat in restaurants, especially to enjoy the local gastronomic tradition, and to drink good wine in one of the many old Osterias of the historical center. Go there and you’ll probably find big group of friends eating and drinking around a table!
On Sundays, many Bolognese take advantage of the presence of the longest portico in the world (almost 4 km), with more than 600 vaults, starting from the center and connecting the city to the Basilica of San Luca on the top of a hill. A good uphill walk (that can be done both with sun and with rain, because of the protection provided by the portico itself) to burn the calories after so many food feasts!
2. Question: What’s one thing the public probably does NOT know about Bologna ?
Very few, even among Italians, know that Bologna is a city of waters, built over a dense network of canals. Since the Middle Ages, the water has been the source of economic progress and prosperity, as the city was the main centre of textile production in Italy during the 13th century. So the water was representing the main source of energy for manufacturing and commercial activities, especially mills for the production of silk. Nowadays, canals are buried underground but still you can feel the presence of water and see canals in specific spots, like the small window in Via Piella or under the city door in front of the train station. It is not a coincidence that the statue on the Fountain in the main square – and symbol of Bologna – is the Neptune, the God of Water.
Also, Bologna has such a rich musical tradition that it was named Unesco creative city of music, both for its past excellence and music tradition and for the great variety of today’s proposals. Two great museums are dedicated to music and there is an itinerary tourists and visitors can follow to discover more about the connection between music and Bologna.
3. Question: Share some aspect of what Bologna has contributed to the world.
Bologna is home to the oldest University in the western world, whose origins are dated back to the year 1088. During the 14th Century many scholars of Medicine, Philosophy, Arithmetic, Astronomy, Logic, Rhetoric, and Grammar studied here and some famous students were Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarca, Luigi Galvani, Guglielmo Marconi. Their discoveries are famous worldwide, like the animal electricity studied by Galvani or wireless communication developed by Marconi, which is the base to WiFi technology.
And, of course, the food: Bologna and its area created one of the most interesting gastronomies in the world. This is the city where tortellini, lasagna and tortelloni were invented, together with the world famous meat sauce “ragù” and mortadella, the local cold cut. The gastronomic tradition of the city is also due to the great mix of cultures that has been characterizing Bologna since the middle age, with students coming from all over the world, bringing here their own tastes are ways of cooking.