Bologna (in Bolognese dialect; Bononia in Latin) is an Italian town of 394 843 inhabitants, the capital of the metropolitan city of the same name, in turn the capital of Emilia-Romagna, located in the center of a metropolitan area of ​​about one million inhabitants. Seat of the oldest university in the Western world, it hosts numerous students who animate its cultural and social life. Known for its towers, its long arcades, and a well-preserved historic center, one of the largest in Italy.

The city, whose first settlements date back to at least the first millennium BC, was an important urban center first under the Etruscans and Celts, then under the Romans and, in the Middle Ages, as a free municipality. Northern capital of the Papal State from the sixteenth century, it played a very important role during the Risorgimento and, during the Second World War, it was an important center of the Resistance. After World War II, like a large part of Emilia, it was governed almost continuously by left-wing administrations.

Bologna is an important road and railway communications hub in northern Italy, in an area where important mechanical, electronic and food industries reside. It is home to prestigious cultural, economic and political institutions, and one of the most advanced exhibition centers in Europe. In 2000 it was the "European capital of culture", while since 2006 it has been a UNESCO "city of music".


Old Town

The historic center area is easily recognizable: where the city walls once stood, there is now a ring road of avenues, interspersed with twelve gates which lead to some of the main roads.

Once you enter the centre, getting your bearings, on the contrary, isn't that simple. From the main streets branch off mazes of smaller streets among which it is easy to get lost, also due to the architectural homogeneity of the city. The use of a map is particularly recommended, but don't despair: the historic center area is not that extensive, and from any point you can quite easily reach 1 Piazza Maggiore.

With your back to the central station, take Via Indipendenza, one of the main streets in the centre. Going all the way you will arrive in the heart of Bologna: in front of you you will find Piazza Maggiore, with the unmistakable Fountain of Neptune, on the left via Rizzoli and on the right via Ugo Bassi (these two form, together with via Indipendenza, the so-called zone T).

Taking via Rizzoli you arrive in front of the two towers, one of the symbols of the city. From here the five main roads of the eastern area of the city branch off: via Zamboni (which leads to the university area), via San Vitale, Strada Maggiore, via Castiglione and, from the latter, via Santo Stefano.

From via Ugo Bassi we move towards the western area of the city. Going all the way along it you will arrive in Piazza Malpighi (do not be fooled by the fact that it does not look like a square!), from where via Marconi branches off (which will take you not too far from the station), via San Felice, via del Pratello (one of the to keep an eye out for nightlife), via Sant'Isaia and via Nosadella, which leads to the Zaragoza residential district.



Bologna is divided into 6 districts:
Borgo Panigale - Reno;
San Donato - San Vitale;
Saint Stephen;
Port - Zaragoza.



The arcades
Bologna is the city of arcades: over 38 km in the historic center alone. They can be found in almost all the streets in the center and their origin can in part be attributed to the strong expansion that Bologna experienced in the late Middle Ages. Hence the need to make the most of the spaces and increase the volume of the houses by expanding the upper floors, first with the creation of wooden projections supported by beams, and subsequently by porticoes supported by columns. As in other neighboring cities, the arcades allow you to walk most of the city streets sheltered from rain and snow. As an area where public and private space meet, they were also a means for the expansion of commercial and artisanal activities, as well as for socialising.

The arcades of Bologna are an Italian asset declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2021.


Religious architecture

In Piazza Maggiore is the Gothic and imposing basilica of San Petronio built at the behest of the Municipality between 1390 and 1659. It has a portal decorated with bas-reliefs by Jacopo della Quercia, while inside there are some remarkably decorated chapels. In the left aisle, on the floor, you can see the largest sundial in the world, designed by the mathematician Giovanni Domenico Cassini and built in 1655.

Of notable interest is the 13th century Basilica of San Francesco (although it underwent significant interventions in the 19th century and after World War II), the first example of French Gothic in Italy. The church of San Domenico is coeval, where there is the ark in which the remains of the saint are kept, made by Nicola Pisano and workshop, Niccolò dell'Arca and Michelangelo. Adjacent to both churches are the funerary monuments of the glossators.

In Piazza Santo Stefano, the complex of Santo Stefano stands out, also known as "the Seven Churches" due to its division into numerous churches and chapels connected by a courtyard and a cloister. The original nucleus was built in the 8th century on a 2nd century pagan temple dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Isis, of which remains an architrave with a dedication to the goddess, walled up on the outside, and some African granite columns. The main architectural layout is markedly Romanesque, despite some subsequent modifications.

The city cathedral dedicated to St. Peter, located in via Indipendenza, was built in the 17th century on the ruins of the ancient early Christian building. Other important churches in the city are San Giacomo Maggiore (1263), in Gothic style and with an elegant Renaissance portico; the Basilica of Santa Maria dei Servi (built between the 14th and 16th centuries), with a Maestà by Cimabue and a suggestive quadriportico; Santa Maria della Vita (the church of the first hospital in Bologna, founded in 1260), inside which there are the precious terracottas of the Marie Piangenti, known as Lamentation over the dead Christ and made by Niccolò dell'Arca between 1463 and 1490.

On Colle della Guardia, south-west of the historic centre, is the characteristic sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca (1765), which can be reached via a very long and suggestive 17th and 18th century porticoed street (the longest in the world, 3.796 km ).

Other buildings of worship
In via De' Gombruti n. 7 there is a synagogue from 1954 designed by Guido Muggia. There is also an Islamic Culture Center and a few small mosques.

Monumental cemeteries
Not far from the historic center is the monumental cemetery of the Certosa di Bologna, which was opened in 1801 transforming the previous Certosa di San Girolamo di Casara, built in 1350 and suppressed by Napoleon.

At the gates of Bologna, on the border with San Lazzaro di Savena, there is a military complex from the Second World War. The main cemetery is the Polish cemetery, the largest of the four military cemeteries of the Poles who fell in Italy during the Second World War.


Civil architectures

The noble towers of Bologna, of medieval origin, are one of the most characteristic features of the city. Of these, about a hundred originally, only seventeen survive today. Among the surviving towers we can mention the Azzoguidi Tower (61 meters high), the Prendeparte Tower (59.50 meters), and the well-known two towers: the Asinelli Tower and the Garisenda Tower.

The two towers are the symbolic monuments of the city: the Torre degli Asinelli (97.20 meters, the tallest leaning tower in Italy) and the Torre della Garisenda (originally 60 meters high, now 48) built at the behest of Ghibelline nobles in the twelfth century. The more leaning of the two, the Garisenda, was mentioned several times by Dante Alighieri, in the Divine Comedy (Inferno, XXXI, 136-140) and in his Rhymes, as proof of his stay in Bologna.

«What seems to concern Garisenda
'under the bend, when a cloud goes
above it so that it hangs towards it
such seemed Antaeus to me who was at bay
to see him stoop ..."
(Dante Alighieri - Hell, XXXI, 136-140)

Historic buildings and villas
Overlooking Piazza Maggiore are the Palazzo Comunale (or d'Accursio) (13th-15th century) and the Palazzo del Podestà (extensively remodeled in 1485), next to the thirteenth-century Palazzo Re Enzo (whose current appearance is due to the neo-Gothic restoration by Alfonso Rubbiani of 1905).

Most of the palaces in Bologna mainly date back to the time when the city was incorporated into the Papal State between the 16th and 18th centuries and belonged to the senatorial families that ruled Bologna at that time. Some were built others, already present, only modernized. The Bentivoglios were previously among the first families to build their own palace which, however, was destroyed and the ruins are located in the Giardini del Guasto dei Bentivoglio, behind the Teatro Comunale.

The Archiginnasio di Bologna is one of the most significant buildings in the city: it was the seat of the ancient University, from 1563 to 1803. The building was built in 1562 to a design by Antonio Morandi (known as il Terribilia), and is very rich in history and works of art. We mention the mural heraldic complex (which consists of more than 6,000 student coats of arms), and the anatomical theater (which dates back to 1637, a room dedicated to the study of anatomy in the shape of an amphitheater, built in fir wood, coffered ceiling , and decorated with statues of illustrious doctors of the past and anatomical models by the artist Lelli). Since 1838 it has been the seat of the Municipal Library.

As for the villas, in some cases they are ancient convents or places of worship which, in the Napoleonic era, were sold to private individuals and on occasion transformed into villas. These were and still are homes belonging to the city's wealthiest families. Some notable examples of these buildings can be found around the city, on the surrounding hills or towards San Lazzaro.

Carducci house
College of Spain
Palazzo d'Accursio (or Town Hall)
Archiginnasio Palace
Palazzo Baciocchi or of Justice
Palazzo Albergati
Bank of Italy building
Banks Palace
Palazzo Bargellini Panzacchi
Palazzo Bevilacqua
Palazzo Bocchi
Palazzo Caprara
Palazzo Davia Bargellini
Fantuzzi Palace
Palazzo Fava
Palazzo Fava from San Domenico
Palazzo Felicini-Buckle (Calzolari)
Palazzo Ghisilardi-Fava
Palazzo Grassi
Palazzo Hercolani
Isolani Palace
Legnani-Pizzardi Palace
Palazzo Magnani Salem
Palazzo Malvezzi Campeggi
Palazzo Malvezzi de'Medici
Marescotti Palace
Marsigli Palace
Palazzo della Mercanzia (or Loggia dei Mercanti)
Palace of Notaries
Pallavicini Palace
Palazzo Pepoli Campogrande
Palazzo Pepoli Vecchio
Palazzo del Podesta
Palazzo Poggi
King Enzo Palace
Savings Bank building
Palazzo Sanguinetti
Palazzo Sanuti Bevilacqua degli Ariosti
Viola building
Zambeccari Palace
Palazzo Zucchini Solimei
Villa Aldini
Villa Aldrovandi Mazzacorati
Villa Baruzziana
Villa Cassarini
Villa Guastavillani
Villa Hercolani
Villa Gandolfi (or Pallavicini)
Empire villa
Villa of Roses
Villa Spada
Lambertini villas

One of the best-known symbols of Bologna is the fountain of Neptune, located in the homonymous square, adjacent to Piazza Maggiore. Commissioned by the cardinal legate Carlo Borromeo, it was designed by Tommaso Laureti and is surmounted by a statue representing the god of the sea Neptune, the work of Giambologna.

The other city fountain worthy of note is the so-called Fontana Vecchia, leaning against the Palazzo Comunale (today Sala Borsa) in via Ugo Bassi, the work of Tommaso Laureti himself who designed the more famous fountain of Neptune in the 16th century.

Inside the Montagnola Park is the fountain built for the Emilian Exposition of 1888, with sculptures depicting animals, by Diego Sarti.


Military architectures

In historical times Bologna had at least three circles of walls: the oldest of which traces remain was built in blocks of selenite in the late ancient era. The second circle, called "dei Torresotti" or "del Mille" is traditionally attributed to the mid-twelfth century, even if historians have now taken into consideration a backdate of about a century.

The third and last largest circle of walls dates from the 13th and 14th centuries, and never had any defensive effectiveness. Of it, after the questionable demolition that took place at the beginning of the 20th century, ten of the twelve gates and some small wall sections remained.

Within the layout of these walls, the urban fabric of the city has remained largely intact: this makes it one of the largest historical centers in Italy.

Lunettes and forts
An even more external defensive line to the last circle of walls was made up of military structures not connected to each other. It consisted of seventeen lunettes and nine forts, located peripherally in the flat portion of the city. The construction of this defensive line began in 1860 by the will of Gen. Manfredo Fanti, minister of war of the Kingdom of Sardinia to which Bologna, with all the legation of Romagna, had just been annexed. Few examples remain, sometimes only in the toponymy, such as the case of the area occupied by the public space used as a playground, now known as the garden of the Lunetta Gamberini.


Torre degli Asinelli (Piazza Ravegnana), ☎ +39 0516583111. full price €5, reduced price €3. From March 1st to November 5th: Every day 9.30am–7.30pm, last access at 6.30pm; from November 6th to February 28th: every day 9:30–17:45, last access at 17:00. From the top you can see Bologna and the city of Cento, but when the sky is clear also the Adriatic and the Venetian Pre-Alps. It was once about 100 meters high, later it was lowered by a few meters to 97.20 m. current.
Garisenda Tower (Piazza Ravegnana). It stands next to the Asinelli Tower; they are known as the "Two Towers" or "Leaning Towers" and are the most famous symbol of the city. The Garisenda is so leaning that Dante described it in hell, recounting that a corner of the foundations of the tower protruded from above. Precisely for this reason, the Garisenda was also lowered by about twenty metres.
Torre Siamo
Azzoguidi Tower (via Altabella 15).


Natural areas

Margaret Gardens
The main public park of Bologna was inaugurated in 1879, about 26 hectares large, contains an artificial lake and various fauna and flora species. Inside there is an Art Nouveau building, an equestrian statue of Vittorio Emanuele II, a reproduction of a Villanovan hut, an educational pond for children, a bar and a dance club, various tennis courts, basketball, volleyball, a go kart track, a coworking and multifunctional space born in place of the old greenhouses of the gardens. In the past there was a small zoo, of which the lion's cage remains, reused for other uses.

Garden of Montagnola
The most central park and one of the oldest, it is located near the central station and the bus station. It has two main entrances: one consisting of the Pincio stairway, opposite the bus station, and one on via Irnerio.

Garden of Fault
A small garden in the university area, built on the ruins of an important noble palace, Palazzo Bentivoglio, destroyed in 1507. The current garden, inaugurated in 1975 based on a project by the architect Gennaro Filippini, is raised above street level and extends over an area of about three thousand square meters, most of which covered with concrete.

Garden of Lunetta Gamberini
In the Santo Stefano district, it is a 14.5-hectare park inaugurated in the 1970s.

Botanical Garden
It is the botanical garden of the University of Bologna, founded in 1568 by Ulisse Aldrovandi and considered one of the oldest in Europe.

Carlo Urbani Park
The Savena river park located between Bologna and San Lazzaro di Savena is home to numerous animal species and a rich variety of flora.

Regional Park of Gessi Bolognesi and Calanchi dell'Abbadessa
It has an area of 3,123 hectares and develops on the first slopes of the Bologna hill and includes territories of the municipalities of Bologna, San Lazzaro di Savena, Ozzano dell'Emilia and Pianoro, at altitudes between 70 and 400 m a.s.l., around important outcrops gypsum that have given rise to a karst complex of considerable interest.



Municipal Art Collections (The Collections are inside Palazzo d'Accursio and can be accessed from the Sala Farnese on the second floor), Piazza Maggiore 6, ☎ +39 051 2193998. Full price €6; €3 reduced (September 2020).
Civic Archaeological Museum, Via dell'Archiginnasio, 2 (Set up inside Palazzo Galvani), ☎ +39 051 2757211, €3 (February 2018). Tue-Fri 9:00-18:30, Sat-Sun 10:00-18:30. The Civic Archaeological Museum of Bologna houses a rich collection of antiquities. Inaugurated in 1881 in the suggestive seat of Palazzo Galvani, the Museum was initially formed thanks to the contribution of eminent collectors (primarily the eminent Bolognese artist Pelagio Palagi, whose collection was acquired by the Municipality of Bologna in 1861), then through the collection and display, in successive moments, of the finds discovered during the excavations in the urban area, which from the second half of the 19th century have progressively brought to light the Villanovan, Etruscan, Celtic and Roman phases of the city and the territory of Bologna. The sections of the Museum are: the Egyptian section on the lower floor, the Roman lapidary on the ground floor and in the cloister, the pre-protohistoric, Villanovan, Etruscan, Greek, Celtic and Roman sections on the upper floor. Until spring 2019 the upper floor of the Museum is not accessible due to major renovation works on the roof.
Medieval Civic Museum, Via Alessandro Manzoni 4, ☎ +39 0512193930. Housed in Palazzo Ghisilardi Fava, one of the most illustrious examples of Renaissance palace in Bologna.
Civic Museum of Industrial Art and Davia Bargellini Picture Gallery, Strada Maggiore, 44. The museum is housed inside Palazzo Davia Bargellini
International Museum and Library of Music, Strada Maggiore, 34.
Civic Museum of the Risorgimento, Viale Carducci 5.
Museum of Modern Art of Bologna (MAMbo), Via Don Minzoni, 14 - 40100 Bologna, Italy. One of the main Italian museums of modern and contemporary art
Casa Morandi, Via Fondazza 36, ☎ +39 051 6496611. Apartment in Via Fondazza
National Art Gallery of Bologna, Via delle Belle Arti, 56. The National Art Gallery is housed in the former novitiate and Jesuit church of Sant'Ignazio. Inside there is a rich collection of works of art by Bolognese artists such as Vitale da Bologna, the Carraccis and Guido Reni and by Italian artists who have worked for religious buildings in the city. Of notable interest are the polyptych by Giotto and the Ecstasy of Santa Cecilia by Raphael.
Jewish Museum, Via Valdonica, 1/5.
Museum of the History of Bologna - Palazzo Pepoli, Via Castiglione, 8.
Palazzo Fava - Palazzo delle Esposizioni, via Manzoni 2 (Set up inside the noble Palazzo Fava Ghisilieri), ☎ +39 051 19936305.
Genus Bononiae - Museums in the City, Via Farini 15. Cultural itinerary.
University Museums - Museum of Comparative Anatomy, Via Selmi, 3, ☎ +39 051 2094243, +39 051 2094140. Mon-Fri 9am-5pm; Sat-Sun 10am-6pm.
Museums of Palazzo Poggi, via Zamboni 33. The building houses the headquarters of the University of Bologna. the interior is decorated with frescoes by Pellegrino Tibaldi. On the ground floor is the Sala dell'Ercole adorned with the statue of the hero sculpted by Angelo Piò in 1730. On the north side of the building is the monumental Aula Magna from 1756. Also inside Numerous University Museums have been set up inside Palazzo Poggi. The "Quadreria" with over 600 valuable portraits from an iconographic collection begun in 1754 is kept in the University Library of Bologna.
Museo della Specola, ia Zamboni 33. The museum is set up inside the astronomical tower erected at the beginning of the eighteenth century on Palazzo Poggi, the historic headquarters of the Department of Astronomy.
Botanical garden, Via Irnerio 42. Managed by the University of Bologna, it was founded in 1568 by Ulisse Aldrovandi and is among the oldest botanical gardens in Europe.


Getting here

By plane
Guglielmo Marconi Airport, Via Triumvirato 84, ☎ +39 051 6479615. Bologna airport offers connections to the major European and international locations. It is about 6 km from the city center and is directly connected to the Central Station thanks to the Aerobus BLQ shuttle at the price of €6 (as of January 2018). To reach the station it is also possible to take bus number 81/91 towards Stazione Centrale at the Birra stop, 950 meters from the airport, at the price of €1.30 (as of February 2018).

Bologna airport is also a convenient point of arrival for visiting Florence because the two cities are directly connected by a convenient shuttle service called the Appennino Shuttle, which has a competitive price (20€ one way in February 2018) compared to the classic railway connection (€25 for the train plus €6 for the bus; also in June 2013).

On the train
Bologna railway station, Piazza Medaglie d'Oro. Trains from Milan, Turin, Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples and Rimini stop in Bologna.

Bologna Central Station, an important connection node for the entire Italian railway system, is easily accessible as it offers direct connections with almost all the largest Italian cities. Located in the city center, it offers connections with numerous urban and extra-urban bus lines.

Bologna is served by the High Speed railway line. Trenitalia's Frecciarossa trains connect it with Florence, Milan, Naples, Rome and Turin. The Italo trains instead connect Bologna with Milan, Florence, Rome, and Naples.

By bus
Bologna bus station, Piazza XX Settembre 6. It offers numerous national and international bus connections, as well as being the terminus for many extra-urban and regional bus lines, as well as urban school lines.
The main departure points of the urban lines are Bologna Central Station, Via delle Lame, Via dei Mille and Piazza Cavour. Urban and suburban services are guaranteed by Tper.

By car
Bologna is a very important motorway junction for Italy, and can be reached very easily, as various roads and motorways depart and arrive there.

A1 Milan-Naples motorway. Also known as the Autostrada del Sole, it allows you to reach Florence, Rome, Naples by traveling south, or Modena, Piacenza, Milan by traveling in the opposite direction.
A13 Bologna-Padua motorway. From Bologna you can reach Padua passing through Ferrara and Rovigo, and then to the rest of the Veneto thanks to the A13.
A14 Bologna-Taranto motorway. Also called Autostrada Adriatica, it begins in Bologna and ends in Taranto: it allows you to cross all of Italy on the side of the Adriatic Sea.

Many of those who decide to reach Bologna by car opt for Carpooling Bologna. An innovative and ecological way of moving, saving time and money.

Parking lots
In Bologna the white stripes do not indicate free parking but are reserved for residents: parking is not recommended.

Apcoa car park, Piazza 8 Agosto 33 (downtown). Open all day. Unguarded multi-storey paid underground car park controlled by cameras.
Apcoa Riva Reno car park, Via Azzo Gardino 61b - Via del Rondone 2 (center). Unattended paid underground parking controlled by cameras.
Saba S. Orsola car park, Via Pietro Albertoni 8 (center). Paid multi-storey car park.
Staveco car park, Via Enrico Panzacchi 10 (center). Unattended paid parking.
Tanari parking, Via Luigi Tanari 17 (Near the railway station. Decentralized but connected to the center with the 29 B shuttles and with the station with the C shuttle). rate is €0.5/h (maximum daily rate €5). Unattended paid parking.


Getting around

The vast majority of interesting places are concentrated within the ring roads, which follow the path of the no longer existing medieval walls; although not a small area, an ideal visit takes place on foot, perhaps with the help of public transport.

From 12 May 2012 every weekend - from 8.00 on Saturday to 22.00 on Sunday - and on all public holidays - from 8.00 to 22.00 - the T zone (via Rizzoli, via Indipendenza and via Ugo Bassi) remains open exclusively to pedestrians and bicycles, therefore many urban bus lines are diverted and follow a different route from Monday to Friday. During T-Days, the historic center is accessed only via the two shuttles "T1" and "T2", which connect the main bus stops, arriving comfortably as far as the entrances to the pedestrian area.

Arriving by car, considering that the center is partly pedestrianized or with limited traffic (with Sirio electronic control at the access gates), you can take advantage of the nearby car parks well connected to public transport. Some are free if you take the bus, taxi or bicycle.

By public transport
TPER, ☎ +39 051 290 290. €1.50 ordinary ticket (75 minutes), €5 day ticket (urban area). The Bolognese bus company offers a widespread service with frequent trips throughout the day. The ticket can also be purchased on the bus in the urban area for €2.00 and is valid for 75 minutes, through special vending machines that accept coins of 10, 20, 50 cents, €1 and €2 - the machine does not give change, take precautions of change. On more modern vehicles, a recorded voice signals the stops along the way. In any case, if you need clarification, the drivers are available.

By bike
Dynamo the Bologna velostation, Via Indipendenza, 71/Z, ☎ +39 051 1990 0462, Mon-Fri 06:00-22:00. It is possible to rent city bikes, mountain bikes and children's bikes a stone's throw from the bus station and the train station.

By taxi
C.A.T. Radiotaxi Bologna, ☎ +39 051 4590, +39 333 333 0749 (Mobile), You can book a taxi by making a call, by sending an SMS with the street and house number where you are, or online. Availability of minibuses equipped for disabled transport.
COTABO Taxi Bologna, ☎ +39 051 372727. You can book a taxi by making a call or online. Availability of minibuses equipped for disabled transport.

By car - Low cost car rental in Bologna.
Here you can see all the car rental offers in Bologna.


Physical geography


Bologna is located in the southern foothills of the Po valley, close to the first hills of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, between the mouths of the valleys of the Reno river and the Savena stream, which flow longitudinally, respectively to the west and east. The altitude of the municipal area ranges from 29 m a.s.l. from the Corticella district to 54 meters from the center of the capital, up to about 280 meters from Colle della Guardia which dominates the urban area, and about 390 meters from Monte Sabbiuno on the southern borders of the municipal area.



Bologna has a temperate humid climate, with very hot and humid summers and rather cold and humid winters.

The absolute minimum temperature, recorded at Guglielmo Marconi airport, is −18.8 °C recorded in 1966 while the absolute maximum was +40.1 °C recorded on August 4, 2017. Longer and hotter than normal summers they occurred in 2003, 2012, 2015 and 2017, in which there were also long periods of drought. Average rainfall in the city ranges from 600 to 900 mm depending on the year and is usually concentrated in spring and autumn.

In winter there can be snowfalls, sometimes even very abundant and frequent night frosts: the one of February 1929 and more recently that of February 2012 (when 119 cm of fresh snow fell in the city) has remained in the memory of many Bolognese.

The modest wind contributes to the formation of mists and mists and to the permanence of a high level of atmospheric pollution resulting from both local and transit traffic. Occasionally, however, there have been days with gusts of up to 120 km/h (for example on December 26, 1996) due to the effect of north winds; during the summer, strong gusts can be recorded, even exceeding 100 km/h during storms and other storm events of a local nature.



On Fridays and Saturdays, you can visit the largest market in Bologna, called by the Bolognese "Piazzola", which really offers any type of goods, and is located in Piazza VIII Agosto, and in the Montagnola park, near the station and on Independence Street.

La Piazzola, Montagnola Park and Piazza VIII Agosto, ☎ +39 335 496292. Fri and Sat from sunrise to sunset.
At the Piazzola market you can really find everything. Clothing items dominate (from shoes to accessories, from ethnic to made in Italy through vintage and low-cost fashion), but there are also household items, gift items and cosmetics.

City of Bologna Antiques Market, Square in front of the Basilica of Santo Stefano and in the adjacent streets. The second Saturday and the second Sunday of the month.
Collecting Market (formerly Celò Celò Mamanca), Piazza VIII Agosto. Thurs 8:30-17.00 in winter and 8.30-18.00 in summer. edit
Antique market. First March of the month (July-August excluded) and third March of the month (January-February and July-August excluded). 8:30-17.00 in winter and 8.30-18.00 in summer.
Vintage market, Piazza Puntoni. Tuesday from 9.00 to 16.00.
DecoMela Art, Via San Giuseppe. From 9.30 to 19.30, according to a calendar defined annually.
San Giuseppe Colors, Piazza San Giuseppe. From morning to sunset, according to a calendar defined annually.
Kurbis, Via Del Monte. From morning to sunset, according to a calendar defined annually.
Mercato di Mezzo, Via Drapperie, ☎ +39 051 2960801. Mon-Wed Fri-Sat 7:00-13:00 and 16:15-19:30; Thurs 7am-1pm (times are flexible).
Herb Market, via Ugo Bassi. Mon-Sat 7:00-13:15, Mon-Wed and Fri 17:30-19:30. Closed on Sundays and holidays.
Campagna Amica, via del Gomito, 30, ☎ +39 051 6388648. Wed 2.30pm-6.30pm in winter, 4.00pm-8.00pm in summer.
Piazza San Francesco Market, Piazza San Francesco. Tues 8:00-13:00.
Book Fair, Piazza XX Settembre. March-May and October-November 9:00-19:00.
Antiques Fair, Voltone del Podestà, Piazza Re Enzo side. 12-24 December 8:30-19:00.
Christmas fair, via Altabella. From the penultimate Thursday of November to January 7 (closing date may vary slightly) 9:30-20:00.
Fair of Santa Lucia, Strada Maggiore (monumental portico of the Chiesa dei Servi). Saturday before November 25th to January 1st (closing date may vary slightly) 9.30am-8pm. To visit to buy some Christmas gifts: you can find objects, handicrafts, accessories and the like, at generally reasonable prices. There are also several stalls selling sweets, candies and snacks of various kinds, to refresh yourself while shopping - you must try the fried pizza!

Signature food and wine shopping
Atti, Via Capraie, 7. A historical place in Italy, it is one of the best addresses for buying local specialities.
Italian Enoteca, Via Marsala, 2/B. Not only a wine bar but also a wine bar, where you can stop for lunch or an aperitif while enjoying the high quality cold cuts and cheeses.
Majani, Via de' Carbonesi, 5. A must for chocolate lovers.
Sfogline, Via Belvedere, 7/B. One of the most popular egg pasta craft shops.
Simoni, Via Drapperie, 5/2A. Delicatessen pillar of Bolognese cuisine.

Banks, shops, boutiques
Via Pescherie Vecchie. Every meter is a shop.
The Pavillion. We move at a slow pace in front of jewelry and clothing showcases.
Via d'Azeglio. The historic pedestrian street of Bologna.
Via San Felice. Central, but away from the great traffic flows. Clothing, accessories, and modern art.
Via Santo Stefano. An interesting shopping area, very crowded on weekends.



Ancient history

The Bologna area has been inhabited since the 3rd millennium BC, but it is above all from the 9th century BC. that there are significant settlements. In this period, and until the 6th century BC, the area where Bologna stands today was occupied by settlement nuclei from the Iron Age belonging to the Villanovan civilization. In the VII-VI century BC. we have evidence of an opening to the cultural and artistic models of Tyrrhenian Etruria, during which the city was called Felsina (in Etruscan Felzna or Felsna).

Subsequently (V-IV century BC), with the descent of the Gauls into the peninsula, the Etruscans lost control of the area. Gallic dominion over the area lasted until 196 BC, the year in which the Boi Gauls were subjugated by the Romans. In 189 BC. the latter founded a colony of Latin law on the site to which they gave the name of Bononia.


Medieval history

After the fall of the Empire, it was subject to Odoacer, to Theodoric the Great (493-526), to Byzantium and finally, in 727, to the Lombards, for whom it mainly constituted a military centre. In 774 the city capitulated to Charlemagne, who handed it over to Pope Adrian I.

Repopulated in the 10th century, Bologna began to nurture communal aspirations, which it managed to affirm on the death of Matilda of Canossa in 1115, obtaining a series of jurisdictional and economic concessions from the emperor Henry V the following year.

The founding of what is recognized as the first university in the western world (the Studium) is conventionally traced back to 1088. Among the first teachers were the jurists Pepone, Accursio and Irnerio, who made the Bolognese school of law famous throughout Europe.

The municipality participated in the fight against Barbarossa, which ended with the Peace of Constance in 1183, after which it experienced a strong expansion, including construction (period of the tower-houses): it was one of the main commercial exchange centers thanks to an advanced system of canals that allowed the transit of large quantities of goods and provided the energy needed to power numerous industrial mills. At the end of the 13th century it had 50,000, perhaps 60,000 inhabitants.

In the thirteenth century Bologna was involved in the struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines, with mixed success. In 1249 the Bolognese managed to capture King Enzo of Sardinia, son of Frederick II of Swabia, who was held prisoner until his death (1272) in the homonymous palace.

In 1257, for the first time in Italy and perhaps in the world, the podestà Bonaccorso da Soresina promulgated the Liber Paradisus which abolished slavery and redeemed the serfs, paying the former owners with public money and at market prices.

Between the end of the 13th and the beginning of the 14th century internal struggles weakened the municipal institutions and the city progressively subjected itself to papal authority. In 1327 the papal legate Bertrando del Poggetto took the city, only to be driven out by popular acclaim in 1334. In 1337 the lordship of the Pepoli began. Upon the death of Taddeo Pepoli, the government of the city passed to the Visconti of Milan, then again to the Church. After an ephemeral municipal period, in 1401 the lordship of the city passed to the Bentivoglios, who kept it (between ups and downs) until the expulsion by Pope Julius II in 1506.


Modern history

In 1507 Bologna passed to the Papal States and in 1530 the coronation of Emperor Charles V was celebrated in the Basilica of San Petronio by Pope Clement VII. The city remained in the Papal States until 1796, when French troops arrived in Bologna with Napoleon. However, after the Congress of Vienna (1815) the city returned to the Papal State. The Austrians settled there, to then be annexed, with the plebiscite of 11-12 March 1860, to the Kingdom of Sardinia which will become the Kingdom of Italy exactly twelve months later.


Second World War

The city of Bologna was exposed to numerous bombing actions during the Second World War. The air raids had devastating effects on the city, including the loss of over 3,000 lives, the destruction of monuments, the upheaval of neighborhoods in the historic center and extensive damage to the main railway station.

Bologna paid a heavy price in blood for its opposition to the Republic of Salò and the invading Nazi troops. The most famous episode of the Bolognese Resistance was the battle of Porta Lame, fought on November 7, 1944.

On April 9, 1945, the battle for the city began. On the morning of April 21, in a Bologna now abandoned by the Germans, the soldiers of the II Polish Corps of the British VIII Army, the advanced units of the 91st and 34th US divisions, the vanguards of the Italian Combat Groups entered the city to the jubilation of the population "Friuli" and "Legnano", and partisans of the "Maiella Brigade".


Recent history

From 1945 to 1999 the city continuously had leftist mayors, the most famous of which was Giuseppe Dozza. The great alternative movement expressed by Bologna in the seventies and eighties made the city the point of reference in Italy for various sectors of art.

During the administration of Renato Zangheri, on 2 August 1980 a bomb exploded at the central station of Bologna causing eighty-five deaths and over two hundred injuries: this event has gone down in history as the Bologna massacre. Subsequent trials ascertained the matrix of black terrorism.

Between 1987 and 1994 the band of the white Uno raged in Emilia-Romagna, and in particular in the Bologna area. The gang's bloodiest action, known as the Pilastro massacre, took place on January 4, 1991, when three carabinieri were killed in an ambush.

In 1999, the tradition of left-wing mayors was interrupted with the electoral affirmation of Giorgio Guazzaloca, a centre-right civic candidate, who is still the only exponent of this coalition to have taken office in Palazzo d'Accursio. During his mandate, on 19 March 2002, the labor lawyer and labor consultant Marco Biagi was killed by the New Red Brigades. The experience of the centre-right ended in 2004 when the former trade unionist Sergio Cofferati was elected mayor. The next mayor, Flavio Delbono, elected in 2009 again from the centre-left, resigned in January 2010 following judicial investigations. In 2011 Virginio Merola of the Democratic Party was elected, reconfirmed in 2016 for a second term. In 2021, the exponent of the Democratic Party Matteo Lepore, former councilor of the Merola councils, was elected mayor.



The Coat of Arms of Bologna consists of an oval shield divided into four parts, two containing a red cross on a white background surmounted by a head of Anjou and the other two the gold-coloured inscription LIBERTAS on a blue background, all surmounted by a head of facing lion.

The city flag is a red cross on a white field, derived from the municipality's weapon, i.e. from the first and fourth quadrants of the city's coat of arms. The flag flies together with the European and Italian flags in all the institutional offices of the municipal administration.

The City and the inhabitants of Bologna are awarded the following honours:
the People of Bologna is "Meritorious of the Roman Republic and of Italy" by the Roman Constituent Assembly of the Roman Republic.
the tenth among the 27 cities decorated with a gold medal as "meritorious of the national Risorgimento" for the highly patriotic actions carried out by the city during the Risorgimento. Period, defined by the House of Savoy, between the insurrections of 1848 and the end of the First World War in 1918.
among the cities decorated for military valor for the war of liberation because it was awarded the Gold Medal for military valor on November 24, 1946 for the sacrifices of its populations and for its activity in the partisan struggle during the Second World War.

Gold Medal to Meritorious Cities of the National Risorgimento
«As a reward for the value demonstrated by the citizens in the military episode of 8 August 1848. In the summer of 1848, the Austrians invade the Emilian territory and enter Bologna on 4 August. Provoked by the soldiers, the Bolognese rise up four days later, conquer the Montagnola, overlooking the Piazza d'Armi, and force the enemy to leave the city. On May 7, 1849, the Austrians besieged Bologna again, bombarding it and depriving it of its water supply until it capitulated on the 15th of the same month»
— November 13, 1898

Gold Medal for Military Valor
«Partisan city, faithful to ancient traditions, did not want to submit to the arrogance of the German invader, and with the pure blood of thousands of its best sons, with its houses destroyed and in epic, diuturnous battles sustained with weapons snatched from the enemy, it was all vanguard in the unequal struggle and in the insurrection which, in the radiant dawn of April 1945, led the country to regain its freedom. September 1943 - April 1945»
— November 2, 1946

Gold Medal for Civil Valor
«Following the criminal terrorist attack that severely devastated the city, the entire population, although emotionally involved, gave exceptional proof of democratic firmness and civil courage. In a spontaneous contest of solidarity he actively collaborated with the State bodies, lavishing himself with exemplary enthusiasm in rescue operations. In this way, thanks to his timeliness and efficiency, he contributed to saving numerous human lives from death, arousing the applause and unconditional admiration of the whole nation".
— July 13, 1981



Demographic evolution

Bologna, also due to its geographical location, has always been a crossroads of migratory currents. In modern times, a population explosion occurred between the end of the 19th century and the early 1970s, going from around 100,000 to almost 500,000 inhabitants. The massive demographic increase was largely due to immigration, first from the surrounding rural and mountainous areas, and then - especially after the Second World War - from other areas of Italy, in particular from the South. The rapid increase in the immigrant population has enormously influenced the demographic transformations of the city, coming to greatly exceed the native population in number (already in the 1980s, 2 out of 3 residents were immigrants from other parts of Italy). The demographic explosion was also the main cause of the intense urbanization of the suburbs, which occurred in the first half of the 1900s and continued in the 60s and 70s.

After a decrease in residents in the 1980s - generally to the benefit of the municipalities of the so-called metropolitan area, some of which even doubled their population - the late 1990s saw a recovery in migratory flows, this time with the inclusion of flows from abroad. This, together with a recovery in births, meant that the demographic balance turned positive again in the early 2000s. Since 2008 we have witnessed a renewed and constant demographic impetus, driven by a positive migratory balance (against a negative natural balance) so as to bring the population steadily above 380,000 units. At the same time, the urban agglomeration, including by convention the first ring of neighboring municipalities, reaches 600,000 inhabitants, while the extended metropolitan area (also including other municipalities not bordering the municipality of Bologna such as Budrio and Castel San Pietro Terme) exceeds one million inhabitants.

In 2017 Bologna was the city in Italy to have received the highest number of internal immigrants (i.e. new residents transferred from other areas of Italy, mainly from the South). Today immigrants from other parts of Italy make up the majority of the resident population (55% in 2021), largely coming from the metropolitan city (22% but steadily decreasing) and from the south and the islands (15% and steadily increasing ), in particular from Puglia, Sicily and Campania. The resident population from birth is constantly decreasing (33%) while immigration from abroad, which is also on the rise, stands at 11%.

The average age, down slightly since 2008, stands at 46.8 years (2021).


Foreign ethnic groups and minorities

According to ISTAT data, as at 31 December 2020 there were 62,422 foreign citizens in Bologna (15.9% of all residents).

The top ten communities are those from:
Romania, 9 726
Bangladesh, 4 990
Philippines, 4 966
China, 4 547
Pakistan, 4 368
Ukraine, 3 815
Morocco, 3 439
Moldova, 3 381
Albania, 2 657
Sri Lanka, 1 297

One of the first Italian Chinatowns was born in Bologna, with the first settlements of Chinese citizens dating back to the 1930s, which expanded in the 1950s and 1980s. The area where the Chinese communities were concentrated from the outset includes the areas of Bolognina and Corticella (especially around Via Ferrarese). Bolognina and Pilastro are statistically the districts where the foreign population of Bologna is mostly concentrated.


Languages and dialects

Dante Alighieri in his De Vulgari Eloquentia, there were once differences in speech even among the inhabitants of the centre, i.e. between Borgo San Felice (corresponding to the Pratello area) and those of Strada Maggiore (area where the Lombards).

Starting from the 1960s and 1970s, with the stigmatization of the use of the dialect and the progressive outnumbering of the native population due to the increase in immigration from other Italian regions, the use of Bolognese gradually disappeared, surviving almost exclusively in its airy versions in the municipalities of the province. A renewed interest occurred in the eighties, with the organization, supported by the Municipality and by artists such as Andrea Mingardi, of the Bolognese song festival. Although this has not reversed the trend towards a marginalization of the Bolognese dialect, interest in it has increased - especially academic - with the publication of dictionaries, grammars, studies, and the establishment of Bolognese dialect courses by local associations. As regards the use of the Bolognese language in everyday life, although local associations work to promote it through the organization of theatrical performances, readings and concerts, the general disinterest of the institutions and of a large part of the population, mostly non-native, suggest the near extinction of the Bolognese, so as to be classified by UNESCO as "seriously endangered".

Institutions, organizations and associations
Bologna is among the Italian cities with the highest rate of active citizenship, with more than 570 associations registered in the municipality, a strong diffusion of non-profit institutions, equal to 58.3 per 10,000 inhabitants (second metropolitan city in Italy after Florence) and citizens engaged in voluntary work, equal to 11.4% (third after Florence and Genoa).


LGBT community

Bologna is the pioneering Italian city of the LGBT rights movement. The first gay movement, the "Circle of homosexual culture 28 June", was activated in the city as early as 1978 and in 1982 it obtained spaces for aggregation from the Municipality. Arcigay, the largest national association for the protection of LGBT rights in Italy, was established in Bologna in 1985 with headquarters at the Cassero di Porta Saragozza.

Also based in the city is MIT-Movimento Identità Trans, a non-profit organization founded in 1982, of which Marcella Di Folco was president until her death, the first association of this type in Italy.

In addition to Pride, which takes place every year in the city, there are events related to LGBT issues, such as: the Gender Bender, an international festival that offers contemporary art and culture events on gender identity and sexual orientation.



In popular culture Bologna is known as "la grassa" (for the cuisine), "la dotta" (for the university), "la rossa" (for the color of the bricks of the buildings in the historic centre, although often the adjective refers to the "red" political thought widespread among the population of the city) and "la turrita" (due to the high number of towers built in the medieval period, even if only twenty-four have survived to date).

In 2000 Bologna was the European Capital of Culture and actively participates in two "networks" proposed by UNESCO: the "Network of creative cities" and the "Network of European cities against racism and xenophobia". In 2008 the Zecchino d'Oro dell'Antoniano di Bologna became "UNESCO Heritage for a culture of peace", the first television broadcast in the world to receive recognition of this type.

In 1988 the Biennial of young artists from Europe and the Mediterranean was held in Bologna, considered the most important Mediterranean showcase of youthful creativity.

Many cultural institutions and universities are based in the Manifattura delle Arti, an area recovered in the spaces of the former Tobacco Factory and former slaughterhouse.



The University of Bologna is considered the oldest university in the western world. The date of its foundation was conventionally fixed in the year 1088 by a commission chaired by Giosuè Carducci. The life of the city and that of the university have been intimately connected since the Middle Ages, making Bologna deserve the appellation of the learned. In the 2019/20 academic year, it hosted more than 87,000 students. According to the world ranking of universities compiled by Quacquarelli Symonds, the University of Bologna is the second Italian university and the 160th in the world. The high number of students, coming from all over Italy and the world, has a significant impact on the life of the city. If on the one hand this influx contributes to significantly livening up the historic center (where the average age of the residents would otherwise be very high) and the cultural offer, on the other hand local administrations often have to deal with problems of public order and dirt related to the lively nightlife of the university area.

Bologna is one of the headquarters of the American university Johns Hopkins University - The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), which has more than 6,000 students of over one hundred different nationalities in the Emilian school centre. In the city there is also a seat of Dickinson College, with an active program since 1964, where about a thousand mainly American boys study.

There are also other branches of foreign universities or study programs, such as the Alliance Française, the Bologna Consortial Studies Program (BCSP) of Indiana University, Brown University, the Eastern College Consortium (E.C.CO.) of Vassar College, the German Cultural Institute and the University of California. The longest-lived example of a foreign academic institution is the Collegio di Spagna, the oldest college in the world open to foreign students, heir to the phenomenon of the nationes in the tradition of the medieval university, and it is also the only one of this type to have survived in the 'Continental Europe (other examples have only survived in the UK).



In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Bologna was the seat of numerous academies, such as the literary one of the Oziosi, the artistic one of the Incamminati founded by the Carracci in 1582, and the musical one of the Floridi.

The Bologna Academy of Fine Arts has its roots in the Clementine Academy founded in 1710. Important masters have taught at the Bolognese school, including: Donato Creti, Giuseppe Galli Bibiena, Gaetano Gandolfi, Francesco Rosaspina, Virgilio Guidi, Giorgio Morandi, Pompilio Mandelli, Paolo Manaresi, Umberto Mastroianni, Milton Glaser. It hosts about fifteen hundred students each year.

The Giovanni Battista Martini Conservatory of Bologna is one of the oldest Italian state conservatories. The foundation of the conservatory (Bologna Liceo Musicale, which inherited the legacy of the Bologna Philharmonic Academy) dates back to 1804 and is considered the first public music school in Italy. Among his notable students, Gioachino Rossini is numbered.

The Academy of Sciences of the Institute of Bologna was founded in 1714. The institution continued the previous "Accademia degli inquieti" which had been founded around 1690 by Eustachio Manfredi. It is therefore considered one of the oldest Italian scientific academies still in existence.


Higher education institutions

There are several high schools and colleges, both public and private. The high schools are:
Francesco Arcangeli art school
Luigi Galvani state high school
Marco Minghetti state high school
Laura Bassi humanistic linguistic high school
Augusto Righi state scientific high school
Marcello Malpighi scientific high school
Enrico Fermi scientific high school
Niccolò Copernico scientific high school
Albert Bruce Sabin Scientific High School

The high schools are:
Crescenzi-Pacinotti-Sirani Institute of Higher Education
Rosa Luxemburg State Technical Commercial Institute
Odone Belluzzi Industrial Technical Institute
Aristotile Fioravanti professional institute for industry and handicrafts
Aldini Valeriani Industrial Technical Institute
Aldrovandi - Rubbiani State Professional Institute for Crafts and Services
State professional institute for the Marcello Malpighi handicraft industry (dental technician section)
Arrigo Serpieri Agricultural Technical Institute
IPC Manfredi Higher Education Institute - ITC Tanari
Istituto Comprensivo Collegio San Luigi, the oldest school in the city.



In Bologna there are more than one hundred libraries, including 4 municipal, 11 neighborhood and more than 70 university libraries, located in different areas of the city. Among the best known and most popular are the Municipal Library of the Archiginnasio (former seat of the University) and the Sala Borsa Library (inaugurated in 2001). The most well-stocked, with over 1,300,000 volumes, is the University Library of Bologna. Of considerable interest, and of capital importance at national and European level, is also the Cineteca di Bologna, a municipal institution dedicated to cinema and filmography. There are also several thematic libraries such as the one on the history of the twentieth century of the Parri Emilia-Romagna historical institute, that of the Gramsci institute, the Italian Women's Library, the library of the International Museum of Music, the MAMbo newspaper library and numerous others.

In July 2020 Bologna obtained the recognition of "City that reads" 2020-2021.



Bologna has over forty museums in which temporary exhibitions are organized alongside the permanent collections. The most important civic museums are: the Municipal Art Collections, the Archaeological Civic Museum, the Medieval Civic Museum, the Morandi Museum, the Davia Bargellini Civic Museum of Industrial Art, the Industrial Heritage Museum of Bologna, the MAMbo of modern art in Bologna) and the International Museum and Library of Music. The Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, born in 1802 within the Academy of Fine Arts, is a state museum with management autonomy.

To these are added the religious museums and those of private foundations such as the Museum of the History of Bologna and the MAST. Manufacturing of Arts, Experimentation and Technology.

The University also has its own museums, often linked to individual departments, all gathered in the University Museum System. The main university museum is the Palazzo Poggi Museum which includes numerous collections of natural history, anatomy and obstetrics, physics and chemistry, military architecture, geography and nautical science, oriental art.



A lively school of painting flourished in Bologna in the fourteenth century, headed by Vitale da Bologna, Dalmasio Scannabecchi and Simone dei Crocifissi, together with the pupils Jacopo di Paolo, Cristoforo da Bologna, Andrea de' Bartoli, "Jacobus", the so-called Pseudo Jacopino by Francesco, Lippo di Dalmasio and others. The Tuscans Cimabue and Giotto have also left few but important testimonies in the city.

During the Renaissance, especially under the rule of the Bentivoglios, Bologna was the homeland of the painters Amico Aspertini and Francesco Francia, while the Ferrarese Francesco del Cossa and Lorenzo Costa also worked there. But it is between the second half of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth century (i.e. from Mannerism to Baroque) that the Bolognese school of painting reached its peak with artists of the caliber of Domenichino, the Carraccis (founders of the Accademia degli Incamminati), Domenico Tibaldi, Guercino, Guido Reni, Elisabetta Sirani, Prospero Fontana, Lavinia Fontana and many others, while Parmigianino and Donato Creti also worked there. The works of these artists can be admired in the city's churches and palaces, as well as in the Pinacoteca Nazionale of Bologna.

In modern and contemporary times, Bologna has given birth to Luigi Serra, Giorgio Morandi (to whom the homonymous museum is dedicated), Mario Bonazzi, Ilario Rossi, Aldo Borgonzoni, Carlo Gajani, Sergio Romiti, Vasco Bendini, Pirro Cuniberti, Sergio Vacchi, Vittorio Mascalchi, Valerio Adami, Pier Paolo Calzolari and Piero Manai, while artists such as Giovanni Romagnoli, Germano Sartelli, Concetto Pozzati, Luciano De Vita and many others worked and still work there.

In the sculptural field, artists such as Arnolfo di Cambio, Nicola Pisano, Pierpaolo dalle Masegne, Niccolò dell'Arca, Jacopo della Quercia, Michelangelo, Giambologna, Alfonso Lombardi, Properzia de' Rossi and, more recently, Umberto Mastroianni, Quinto Ghermandi worked in Bologna , Roberto Tirelli, Mario Ceroli, Nicola Zamboni and Luigi Mainolfi.

Since 1974, Arte Fiera, a modern and contemporary art fair, has been held annually in the month of January at the Bologna Fair. From 1977 to 1982 the International Week of Performance curated by Renato Barilli, Francesca Alinovi and Roberto Daolio was held annually, an event of high cultural value, involving the public space of the city. Since 1986, to commemorate the tragic death of Francesca Alinovi, the Prize named after her has been established, to which the dedication to the art critic Roberto Daolio, who also died prematurely, has been added since 2013. Every year the Alinovi Daolio Prize is awarded to a contemporary artist.

Bologna is the birthplace, native or adopted, of many great Italian writers and poets, such as Guido Guinizelli, Giosuè Carducci (the first Italian to win the Nobel Prize for literature at the beginning of the 20th century), Giovanni Pascoli and Pier Paolo Pasolini. It is also the cradle of some of the best Italian crime writers, including Loriano Macchiavelli, considered the dean of crime writers in Bologna; other exponents of the genre are Grazia Verasani, Danila Comastri Montanari, Giampiero Rigosi, Marcello Fois etc. Italian and foreign literary works are also set in Bologna, such as The Broker by John Grisham, Jack Frusciante left Enrico Brizzi's group, Almost Blue by Carlo Lucarelli, The Mysterious Hunchback by Antonio Faeti and Scipio's Army by Giuseppe D'Agata .

There are numerous other writers and poets linked to Bologna, both from the past such as Ludovico de Varthema and Giulio Cesare Croce, and from the contemporary such as Umberto Eco, Valerio Evangelisti, Pino Cacucci, Stefano Benni, Ermanno Cavazzoni, Simona Vinci and the Wu Ming.


Comic book

Bologna has a long and deep-rooted tradition in comics. Since the post-war period, comics have taken hold in the city, also thanks to the numerous designers, screenwriters and publishers who have worked there and have established themselves as some of the most important exponents of Italian comics, such as Magnus, Bonvi, Silver and Vittorio Giardino, considered the pioneers of Bolognese cartoonists.

Among the Bolognese publishing houses dealing with comics are Coconino Press and Kappa Edizioni.

The Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna opened the experimental school of comics and illustration in 2004, the first in Italy, which has some of the best illustrators on the Italian scene among its teachers. The BilBolbul comic festival has been held since 2007, featuring Italian and foreign artists with exhibitions, meetings, debates and workshops.

In 2006 Bologna obtained the UNESCO recognition of "creative city for music"


Classic music

In Bologna there are the International Museum and Library of Music, the Giovanni Battista Martini Conservatory, the Philharmonic Academy of Bologna and the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, home of the authoritative Orchestra of the Fondazione Teatro Comunale di Bologna, active since the post-war period. The Bongiovanni music house has been active since 1905, one of the most important in the field of publishing and classical music discography. The "2 August" international composition competition has been organized in Bologna since 1995: one of the most important musical composition competitions in the world. Every year on the evening of August 2, the winning operas and others commissioned ad hoc are played in Piazza Maggiore in a large free concert.

Among the numerous examples of musical formations, the Coro Euridice, a polyphonic choir founded in 1880 and which remained continuously active, and the Orchestra Mozart, founded in 2004 by Carlo Maria Badini and conducted by Claudio Abbado until his death, are mentioned.

Bologna is the birthplace of well-known musicians, such as the contralto Antonio Maria Bernacchi, the tenors Luigi Antinori, Matteo Babini and Gianni Raimondi, the baritone Ruggero Raimondi, the composers Giovanni Paolo Colonna, Giacomo Antonio Perti and Ottorino Respighi. The famous Farinelli lived and died in Bologna, and the very young and already brilliant Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart stayed here (on two occasions, from March to October 1770). As a guest of Count Gian Luca Pallavicini, Mozart had the opportunity to meet musicians and scholars (from the aforementioned Farinelli to the composers Vincenzo Manfredini and Josef Mysliveček, up to the English music historian Charles Burney and Father Giovanni Battista Martini). Mozart took counterpoint lessons from Father Martini, at the time regarded as Europe's greatest music theorist and greatest expert in Baroque counterpoint. The fourteen-year-old Amadeus was aggregated to the Philharmonic Academy of Bologna in 1770: the difficult and rigid exam test on "a cantus antiphon" by the still young Mozart was not particularly brilliant. There are two versions of the exam, both preserved in the International Museum and Library of Music in Bologna, one of which is incorrect. Given that both are autographed by Mozart, this is the evidence that Father Martini passed his reworking of the exam text to Amadeus, to encourage its promotion. Mozart was always grateful for Father Martini's teachings, to the point of writing:

“I devoutly revere all Sgri. Philharmonic: I recommend you always be in your good graces and I do not cease to afflict myself at seeing myself far from the person in the world whom I most love, venerate and esteem, and of whom I inviolably protest Your Paternity very Reverend most humble and most devoted servant"
(W.A. Mozart, Letters (1776))


Light music

"Bologna is an old lady with slightly flabby hips,
with the breast on the Po plain and the ass on the hills.
(Francesco Guccini, Bologna)

The city has a great tradition in contemporary light music, with many successful musicians and songwriters and a myriad of emerging artists, enough to define a Bolognese music scene. Among the Bolognese singers, by birth or by adoption, there are Raffaella Carrà, Lucio Dalla, Francesco Guccini, Gianni Morandi, Luca Carboni, Samuele Bersani, Andrea Mingardi, Cesare Cremonini, Dodi Battaglia, Paolo Mengoli, Dino Sarti, Cristina D'Avena , Claudio Lolli, Beppe Maniglia, Fio Zanotti, Silvia Mezzanotte, Neffa. Also in Bologna, groups such as the Pooh, the Stadio, the Skiantos, the Gaznevada, the Lùnapop, the Massimo Volume, the Avvoltoi, the Marta sui Tubi, the Gem Boy, the Mariposa, the Canzoniere delle Lame, the Datura, the Garden House and the Social State. Vasco Rossi, originally from Zocca, has his residence in Bologna.



Bologna was among the first Italian cities to spread the culture of jazz, also thanks to highly popular festivals such as the Bologna Jazz Festival and the more recent Alma Jazz, and to musicians of international caliber who were born here or have settled or trained there , such as Paolo Fresu, Jimmy Villotti, the Doctor Dixie Jazz Band, Moris Fabbri, the Bassesfere collective etc. The great trumpeter Chet Baker often played in the city, as evidenced by his 1985 recording entitled Chet Baker in Bologna, and many other great international names such as Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Mingus, Gato Barbieri etc. Numerous establishments continue to successfully offer this genre, including some specialized ones. On 17 September 2011 the Strada del jazz was inaugurated in Bologna, consisting of via Caprarie and via degli Orefici, with a public event that hosted numerous concerts. The first star of the jazz myths is dedicated to Chet Baker and is placed on the sidewalk in front of the door where Alberto Alberti's Musiclub once stood.


Punk and New Wave

At the end of the seventies, and in particular in the context of the Movement of '77 and the first experiences of free radio stations such as Radio Alice, Bologna became a key place for punk rock and new wave in Italy. The rock scene in Bologna, which included groups such as Skiantos, Gaznevada, The Stupid Set, Confusional Quartet, Hi-fi Bros, Luti Chroma, Central Unit, Windopen, Rusk und Brusk and many others, marked the "rebirth" of Italian rock in a punk and new wave key, but often characterized by ironic and irreverent tones: this is how demented rock was born, a term coined by Freak Antoni, lead singer of Skiantos. The key event of this "rebirth" was the bizarre concert Bologna Rock: Dalle cantine all'asphalt, held at the Bologna sports hall on April 2, 1979. Labels such as Harpo's Bazar and Italian Records (both founded by Oderso Rubini) were among the first in Italy to propose this new approach to music.

In the early eighties Bologna was also one of the nerve centers of hardcore punk, thanks to bands such as RAF Punk, Nabat, Irha, Stalag 17, Anna Falkss, Bacteria, Sottocultura and Rip Off and to labels such as Jumpy's Attack Punk Records Poison. Famous was the protest organized by the Bolognese punks during the Clash concert in Piazza Maggiore in 1980, an event identified by many as the birth certificate of the entire hardcore movement in Italy.


Hip hop and electronic music

Since the end of the eighties, Bologna has been one of the most important cities for hip hop culture, hosting artists and groups such as Neffa, Sangue Misto, Joe Cassano, Deda, Inoki and thanks to places where this culture was supported and widespread since the early nineties, such as the Isola social center in the Kantiere. In the 2000s hip hop in Bologna saw active groups such as the Porzione Massiccia Crew, one of the first multi-ethnic hip hop crews in Italy founded by rapper Inoki, and Fuoco negli occhi.

During the nineties, a meeting point dedicated to electronic music emerged in Bologna, the Link, within which Distorsonie, the first electronic dance music festival organized in Italy, and Netmage, one of the major Italian live media festivals, now merged into the Live Arts Week.



Theater has been a widespread form of entertainment in Bologna since the sixteenth century. The first public theater was the Teatro della Sala, active from 1547 in the Palazzo del Podestà.

A very important figure of the Bolognese and Italian theater was Alfredo Testoni, the playwright author of Il cardinale Lambertini, a great theatrical success since 1905, then revived on the screen by the Bolognese actor Gino Cervi.

In 1998 the Municipality of Bologna gave life to the "Bologna dei Teatri" project, an association that brings together the main theater structures of the city. It is a circuit of theaters with a varied cultural offer, which ranges from Bolognese dialect comedy to contemporary dance, but with a unitary communication and promotion strategy. Specifically, the shows on the bill in the various theaters participating in the project are advertised weekly through a single poster.

The main theaters in Bologna are the Arena del Sole and the Teatro Comunale.



The prestigious Cineteca is located in Bologna, formerly presided over by the director Giuseppe Bertolucci, and subsequently by Carlo Mazzacurati and then by Marco Bellocchio. Thanks to the contribution provided by the DAMS students, several independent film productions are active in the city.

In Italy, Bologna is the second city with the highest number of seats in cinemas per inhabitants (surpassed only by Campobasso, which however has a much smaller population), and the nineteenth in Europe.

There are numerous festivals dedicated to cinema held in the city, including: Future Film Festival, Biografilm Festival, Il cinema ritrovato, Immaginaria. Every summer an open-air cinema is set up in Piazza Maggiore, with one of the largest cinema screens in Europe, where every evening some of the best restorations from the Cineteca and other films among the novelties of the season are shown, in a program of over fifty appointments called Sotto le stelle del cinema.

Films shot in Bologna
The children of Italy are all balilla - 1916, Alfredo Testoni
How love ends - 1917, Alfredo Masi
Black and White - 1918, Alfredo Masi
Marinella - 1918, Raimondo Scotti
Rebus - 1918, Alfredo Masi
The Mysterious Trial - 1922, Franco Primitivi
Bertoldo, Bertoldino and Cacasenno - 1936, Giorgio Simonelli
Totò at the tour of Italy - 1948, Mario Mattoli
Beauties on bicycles - 1951, Carlo Campogalliani
They stole a tram - 1953, Aldo Fabrizi
Bertoldo, Bertoldino and Cacasenno - 1954, Mario Amendola
Cardinal Lambertini - 1954, Giorgio Pàstina
The Casaroli gang - 1962, Florestano Vancini
The outlaws of marriage - 1963, Valentino Orsini
A nice grit - 1964, Giuliano Montaldo
Love rallies - 1964, Pier Paolo Pasolini
Oedipus the King - 1967, Pier Paolo Pasolini
The subversives - 1967, Paolo Taviani
Balsamus, the man of Satan - 1968, Pupi Avati
Plagiarism - 1968, Sergio Capogna
Facts of good people - 1974, Mauro Bolognini
Salò or the 120 days of Sodom - 1975, Pier Paolo Pasolini
The Landlord - 1976, Mariano Laurenti
Pleased to see you again - 1976, Marco Leto
Decadence - 1976, Antonio Maria Magro
Scipio's army - 1977, Giuliana Berlinguer
The last three days - 1977, Gianfranco Mingozzi
The police are defeated - 1977, Domenico Paolella
Jazz Band - 1978, Pupi Avati
Dishonor the father - 1978, Sandro Bolchi
Sarti Antonio Brigadier - 1978, Pino Passalacqua
Cinema!!! - 1979, Pupi Avati
Thunderstorm Rosy - 1979, Mario Monicelli
Save whoever wants - 1980, Roberto Faenza
Zeder - 1982, Pupi Avati
The eyes, the mouth - 1982, Marco Bellocchio
Rock bewilderment - 1982, Luciano Manuzzi
A school trip - 1983, Pupi Avati
Acapulco, first beach... on the left - 1983, Sergio Martino
L'orchester noir - 1984, Stéphane Lejeune
Employees - 1985, Pupi Avati
One Sunday yes - 1986, Cesare Bastelli
History of boys and girls - 1989, Pupi Avati
Music for old animals - 1989, Umberto Angelucci
Everyone is fine - 1989, Giuseppe Tornatore
The tenth illegal immigrant - 1989, Lina Wertmüller
The move - 1991, Renato De Maria
Face of a hare - 1991, Liliana Gianneschi
Rossini! Rossini! - 1991, Mario Monicelli
Dreaming of California - 1992, Carlo Vanzina
Declarations of love - 1994, Pupi Avati
Strange stories. Stories from the end of the century - 1994, Sandro Baldoni
Wood's lamp - 1994, Lavinia Capogna
Inspector Sarti 2 - 1994, GiulioQuesti
If there is a remedy why are you worried? - 1995, Carlo Sarti
Jack Frusciante left the group - 1996, Enza Negroni
Purchase advice - 1997, Sandro Baldoni
Weddings - 1998, Cristina Comencini
Blue Jolly - 1998, Stefano Salvati
Forbidden Encounters - 1998, Alberto Sordi
The power of love - 1998, Vincenzo Verdecchi
The war of the Antò - 1999, Riccardo Milani
And then mambo! - 1999, Lucio Pellegrini
pauper! - 1999, Francesco Merini
See you tomorrow - 1999, Gianni Zanasi
Face of Picasso - 2000, Massimo Ceccherini
Almost Blue - 2000, Alex Infascelli
Tandem - 2000, Lucio Pellegrini
Bastiani Fortress - 2002, Michele Mellara and Alessandro Rossi
Peace! - 2002, Renato De Maria
Paris, Dabar - 2003, Paolo Angelini
The heart elsewhere - 2003, Pupi Avati
Distinguishing marks - Notes for a film on Emilia-Romagna - 2003, Giuseppe Bertolucci
Cavedagne - 2003, Francesco Merini
The secret of success - 2003, Massimo Martelli
The revenge of Christmas - 2004, Pupi Avati
Working slowly - 2004, Guido Chiesa
The wind, in the evening - 2004, Andrea Adriatico
But when do the girls arrive? - 2005, Pupi Avati
The second wedding night - 2003, Pupi Avati
Love me - 2005, Renato De Maria
Out of vein - 2005, Tekla Taidelli
Quo vadis, baby? - 2005, Gabriele Salvatores
One Hundred Nails - 2007, Ermanno Olmi
Commissioner De Luca - 2007, Antonio Frazzi
Giovanna's father - 2008, Pupi Avati
Fairy tales come home - 2013, Max Mazzotta
After the war - 2017, Annarita Zambrano
Luigi - 2017, Stefano Usardi
The return of Captain Kluz - 2018, Stefano Folletti
The boys of the Zecchino d'Oro - 2019, Ambrogio Lo Giudice
Diabolik - 2020, Manetti Bros.
The incredible story of the Isola delle Rose - 2020, Sydney Sibilia



The international fame of Bolognese cuisine dates back to the Middle Ages, when the powerful noble families employed the most celebrated cooks of the time at their courts, while the city's taverns were already numerous in the fourteenth century. The gastronomic tradition of Bologna is closely linked to the University: the mixing of numerous students and professors of different nationalities enriched the gastronomic culture, and made a good organization of the food supply necessary.

Bolognese cuisine, as well as that of all of Emilia, is distinguished by the abundance of meat, especially pork, and egg pasta, so much so that the city deserves the nickname of Bologna la fat. The use of dairy products also abounds, such as butter, soft cheese and Parmigiano Reggiano. The numerous recipes of Bolognese origin, spread throughout the world as excellences of Italian cuisine, and the proliferation of food-related commercial activities in the city, have often led the Italian and foreign press to attribute the nickname of Food City to Bologna ( city of food).

Among the typical products of the Bolognese cuisine we find:
Bolognese sauce
Green Lasagna Bolognese
The Imperial Soup
The friggione
Bologna mortadella
Chicken galantine (or capon)
Bolognese cutlet
The crescents
The growing Bolognese
The Carthusian of Bologna
The Bolognese pliers
English soup
The mascarpone cream

On the Bolognese hills there are numerous wineries that produce various types of typical wine, including the Pignoletto DOCG.



from all over the world. In 1988, the Biennial of Young Artists of Europe and the Mediterranean was held.

Music festivals
Alma Jazz Festival (held in autumn): it is the first Italian festival dedicated to university jazz orchestras from all over Europe.
AngelicA - international music festival (held in May/June): it has been held for over twenty years and aims to represent every form of musical research that moves in unconventional fields and that freely uses the many materials offered by the different musical traditions.
Bologna Jazz Festival - The Autumn Jazz Event (held in November): the oldest Italian jazz festival, since 1958 a stage for the greatest world musicians of the genre.
RoBOt Festival - Digital Paths into Music and Art (held in September/October): review of electronic music and digital art.
Zecchino d'Oro (held in November): historic international song festival of music for children, which takes place at the Antoniano.

Film Festivals
Biografilm Festival - International Celebration of Lives (held in June): it is the only worldwide event dedicated to biographies and life stories.
Future Film Festival - International Festival of Cinema, Animation and New Technologies (held in April): the first and most important Italian festival dedicated to animation cinema and new technologies.
Human Rights Nights International Film Festival (held in October): festival on cinematic expressions on the subject of human rights.
The rediscovered cinema (held in June/July): film festival dedicated to the rediscovery of resurfaced silent and sound films and restored classics; it is directed by Peter von Bagh and also hosts the Film Publishing Fair.
Some Prefer Cake (held in September): Lesbian film festival.
Visioni Italiane (held in February): festival of independent Italian short film productions screened at the Cinema Lumière.
YoungAbout International Film Festival (held in March): international youth and cinema festival

Visual Arts Festival
Art City Bologna - It is a set of cultural initiatives, exhibitions and events that propose a contamination between contemporary art and the places and artistic heritage present in the area
BilBOlBul - International Comics Festival (held in March): review dedicated to comics, presents works by great artists and young people on the national and international scene, with a look at the most innovative production, also relating comics to other languages of contemporary culture.
Cheap Festival - Street Poster Art festival that takes place annually in May
Frontier (runs June-July) - street art festival.

Performing arts festival
Danza Urbana - International dance festival in urban landscapes (held in September): the first Italian festival of dance in urban landscapes, it offers shows and dance workshops in the city squares.
Live Arts Week - Multidisciplinary appointment dedicated to the crossroads between electronic, visual, musical and performing arts, born in 2012 from the merger of Netmage and F.I.S.Co..
PerAspera - contemporary performing arts festival.

Culinary festivals
MortadellaBO' (held in October) - festival dedicated to Mortadella Bologna PGI.
Cioccoshow - The magic of chocolate (held in November): chocolate fair.

More events
Descent of the Madonna di San Luca (takes place in May): every year the ancient tradition of the "descent of the Madonna di San Luca" is celebrated, which takes place on May 12 through a procession from the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca to the center of the city.
Smell - Festival dell'Olfatto (held in May): meetings, events, laboratories, presentations, workshops entirely dedicated to the world of perfumes.
International History Festival, takes place in the third week of October, with events from September to December
Bonfire of the old man, traditional New Year's celebration consisting of the burning of a large puppet representing the old year.

Participation in the 2010 Shanghai Expo
The city of Bologna, together with 45 other cities in the world, participated, after selection and invitation, in the 2010 Shanghai Universal Exposition entitled Better city, better life, held from 1 May to 31 October 2010 in the Chinese metropolis. The international jury of the Expo included the city of Bologna in the Liveable city area, judging it as an example of excellence in the categories: Culture and creativity; Technological innovation; Social inclusion; Urban planning and infrastructural transformations. The other two Italian cities invited to this edition of the Universal Exposition were Venice (Protection and Utilization of Historical Heritages area) and Milan (Sustainable Urbanization area).


Anthropogenic geography

Metropolitan area
The metropolitan area of Bologna is one of the top ten Italian metropolitan areas and has a population of over 1 million inhabitants, with a significant economic and cultural influence on neighboring cities and regions.

According to the classification known as FURs (perimeter based on commuter flows) the urban nucleus of the city of Bologna has a population of 991,385 inhabitants (as of January 2013).

The city and its metropolitan area, also measured on an economic, cultural, commercial, industrial, congress, exhibition, financial and social scale, therefore have an importance, at national and European level, much higher than that expressed by the simple demographic parameter ( let alone that of the population officially residing in the restricted municipal area). Confirmation of this comes from a study conducted in 1989 by the Reclus group of Montpellier and commissioned by DATAR (Délégation à l'Amenagement du Territoire et à l'Action Régionale), which formulates a classification by degree of importance of cities with more than two hundred thousand inhabitants of fourteen Western and Mediterranean European states: Bologna, with Florence and Venice, was situated in a more advanced position than more populous cities, such as Dublin, Leeds, Liverpool, Lille, Nuremberg, Essen, Dortmund, Bremen, Hanover , Zaragoza, Malaga, Bilbao, Thessaloniki, Palermo, etc.

Despite the small municipal population, Bologna was also included, by the GaWC study group, among the hundred global cities (or World Cities), by virtue of its cultural and economic importance (actually in category D, i.e. global cities in the making, with low evidence).

Administrative subdivisions
The municipality is administratively divided into six decentralized districts, to which the statute gives the name of "districts": Borgo Panigale-Reno, San Donato-San Vitale, Savena, Navile, Porto-Saragozza, Santo Stefano.

Urban planning
The historic center of Bologna is one of the oldest and largest in Europe. By virtue of a careful restoration and conservation policy started at the end of the sixties of the last century, it has preserved a large part of the medieval city, despite the serious damage caused by the urban demolitions of the end of the nineteenth century, including that of the central Mercato di Mezzo, and from the war destruction of the Second World War. In some houses the foundations of the Roman city dating back to the 2nd century BC are still found, and in other houses it even seems that there are traces dating back to the Iron Age. The structure of the historic center made up of the superimposition of two planimetric models, the Roman orthogonal one and the medieval one with a radial pattern, with Piazza Maggiore placed in the middle and the "rays", starting from the two central streets of the Via Emilia - via Rizzoli and via Ugo Bassi - which develop up to the various doors that open along the remains of the walls.

The main feature of the houses, inherited from the architecture of the past and also re-proposed in a modern key in almost the entire city, is that of having porticoes on the outside. In fact, the city has the highest concentration of arcades in the world, approximately 42 km.

The demographic expansion due to the strong immigration from the province and from the regions of southern Italy led, especially in the sixties and seventies of the twentieth century, to an intense urbanization of the once rural areas outside the city walls. Populous suburban districts such as Barca (1962), Pilastro (1966) or Fossolo (1968) were thus created, and large public housing projects were carried out, such as the San Vitale skyscraper (1958-60), the settlement "Levante Emilia" in via Napoli (1961), the Treno (1957-62) and the Steccone (1968) at the Barca, the Virgolone (1976) at the Pilastro.

In an area destined for the development of the city, between via Stalingrado and the San Donato district, in 1967 the municipal administration commissioned the well-known Japanese architect Kenzō Tange to design the business center in the fair area, the construction of which began in 1975. Thus was born the Fiera District, destined to become the headquarters of the Emilia-Romagna Region, the Palazzo degli Affari, the Fiera di Bologna and other important economic institutions. At the center of the Fiera District, a pedestrian zone was designed, Constitution Square, the construction of which was entrusted to Isamu Noguchi.

Among the latest examples of contemporary architecture and urban interventions (often the subject of heated discussions) we find the Porta Europa by the architect Ettore Masi in via Stalingrado, the complex of the new town hall in the Bolognina area (Palazzo Bonaccorso and piazza Liber Paradisus) and the Torre Unipol, a 127-metre-high skyscraper located on the eastern outskirts of the city.



Bologna hosts an important network of mechanical, electronic and food industries and a large number of handicraft enterprises. The metropolitan city hosts, in proportion, the largest number of businesses per inhabitant in Italy. At the beginning of 2007, the CNA (National Confederation of Crafts and Small and Medium Enterprises) recorded a number of 16,500 member enterprises, a number lower only than those of Milan and Rome.

With a per capita GDP at purchasing power parity of 36,941 euros (2013), Bologna is the 44th richest city in Europe and the second richest in Italy after Milan. According to data from the European Regional Economic Growth Index (E-REGI) of 2016, Bologna is the third Italian city in terms of economic growth index (after Milan and Rome) and the 53rd in Europe.



The mechanical industry flourished in Bologna as early as the fifteenth century, mainly the silk industry, thanks to the numerous mechanical silk mills powered by the city's canals, which represented a highly advanced technology for the time. The number of silk machines reached 100 at its peak, centuries before the industrial revolution.

Today Bologna is located at the center of a very important mechanical and electromechanical (and more recently mechatronic) industrial district, which has established itself in particular in the automotive and packaging fields. In the field of engines, companies such as Ducati, Industria Italiana Autobus and the Italian headquarters of Volvo are based there. Furthermore, in the metropolitan area there are Lamborghini (in Sant'Agata Bolognese) and the Italian headquarters of Saab (in Casalecchio di Reno). Maserati, Malaguti and Moto Morini were founded in Bologna.

In the packaging sector, which developed starting from the 1920s, the Coesia group stands out (G.D - A.C.M.A. Volpak - Cima - Sasib), and, in the metropolitan area, IMA (in Ozzano) and the Marchesini Group (in Pianoro).

In the engineering sector there is Cesab, while in the metropolitan area there are Malossi and Minarelli (both in Calderara di Reno), Marzocchi and Viro (in Zola Predosa), Paioli (in Sant'Agata Bolognese). In the broader sector of industrial production there is the Maccaferri Industrial Group. In the sector of electronic machinery and automatic machines, Saeco, Datalogic, Beghelli and FAAC.

Among the agro-food industries of great importance, in Bologna we find: in the food sector, Granarolo, Fabbri, Valsoia and Eridania. There are many companies scattered throughout the metropolitan area: in San Lazzaro di Savena the Conserve Italia group (which owns Cirio, Valfrutta, Derby Blue, Yoga and Jolly Colombani); in Pianoro Segafredo Zanetti; in Zola Predosa Montenegro, Alcisa; in Crespellano the Majani; Carpigiani in Anzola dell'Emilia; in Cereglio the Cerelia Mineral Water. Lastly, there are the national offices of the Conad and Sigma food cooperatives, while the Coop and Despar are located in the adjacent municipality of Casalecchio, and SISA is located in Funo di Argelato.



The Bologna area is a commercial hub of primary importance (with Centergross in the metropolitan area, which for a long time was the largest wholesale commercial citadel in Europe since its foundation in 1977, and the Interporto).

It is an important exhibition center which, together with the Bologna Fair, hosts numerous international fairs (Arte Fiera, Saie, EIMA, Cersaie, Cosmoprof, Sana, Children's Book Fair, Music Italy Show, etc.). In Italy, BolognaFiere is the second largest trade fair after Milan in terms of turnover.

Thanks to the great culinary tradition, food shops are very widespread in Bologna. Separated from Piazza Maggiore by the Palazzo dei Banchi, is what remains of the ancient Mercato di Mezzo, where the streets still bear the names of the craftsmen who had set up their shops here in the Middle Ages: via degli Orefici, via Drapperie (tailors ), via Pescherie Vecchie, via Clavature (blacksmiths), via Caprarie (butchers). Another historic city market is the Mercato delle Erbe.

There are also many clothing, jewellery, handicrafts, bistros, as well as numerous high fashion boutiques, concentrated especially between Galleria Cavour, via Farini, the Pavaglione and via D'Azeglio. To these is added Corte Isolani, a medieval gallery that connects Piazza Santo Stefano to Strada Maggiore, home to small boutiques, cafes, restaurants and a puppet workshop. Other streets dedicated to shopping, but of a more mainstream nature, are the three streets that form the so-called "T": via dell'Indipendenza, via Rizzoli and via Ugo Bassi.

The second-hand trade is growing considerably. The metropolitan city of Bologna is the province in Italy that records the greatest increase in shops of this type, up by 8.3% compared to 2009.



Some of the great fashion and leather goods houses are also based in the Bologna area: Borbonese, La Perla, Les Copains, Bruno Magli, Furla, WP Lavori in Corso (Baracuta brand), A.Testoni, Elisabetta Franchi, Mandarina Duck, the Italian branches of Nike and Ralph Lauren etc.

In addition to the clothing and furnishing activities, Bologna is also renowned for the production of ceramics, mosaics, art furniture, copper processing and for the workshops of carvers and furniture restorers, goldsmiths, weaving of silk flowers, crocheted lace, luthiers.



In the environmental services sector, the leading company in the area is Hera. In the real estate sector, IGD with its operational headquarters; in the graphics and printing sector, Poligrafici Editoriale; in e-commerce the Yoox Net-A-Porter Group.

Important national and regional financial institutions have their headquarters in the Emilian capital, including Unipol, UnipolSai, Carisbo, Banca di Bologna, EmilBanca - Credito Cooperativo.

In recent years, numerous start-ups in the field of information and communication technologies have been born in the capital of Emilia. Here he opened Working Capital in 2013, one of Telecom Italia's business accelerators. This proliferation of activities related to the IT sector has led some media to define Bologna as the Italian Silicon Valley.



Tourism in Bologna has seen a strong surge since 2015, reaching a record 2.4 million arrivals in 2019, with a growth of 118% compared to 2014. In 2019 foreign tourists, mainly Europeans, represented the 47% of the arrivals, while the remaining 53% were Italian tourists.

Such an increase in tourist attendance occurred following the signing of commercial agreements with the low-cost airline Ryanair, the establishment in 2014 on the initiative of the Chamber of Commerce of the tourism promotion company "Bologna Welcome srl", to which numerous marketing campaigns focusing on "food, music and motors" followed.

However, the rapid and massive increase in tourist presences has also brought with it the typical negative effects of mass tourism, such as the congestion of the centre, the proliferation of tourist restaurants of dubious quality and mini-markets (even to the detriment of historic shops), the establishment of entrance fees for several monuments, as well as a marked increase in real estate costs.



In Bologna and in the metropolitan area there are several spas. The first plants in the area date back to the times of the ancient Romans.


Infrastructure and transport

The city and its metropolitan area are placed at the center of the traffic of productive Italy. In general it can be said that this function of crossroads is made possible by the particular geographical position which, although placing it on the southern edge of the Po Valley, places it, almost as an obligatory point of passage, at the center of the communication routes that connect the North of the Italy with the South, both through the "Adriatic" route from Turin, Milan, the Veneto region to Puglia, much more relevant for traffic than the "Tyrrhenian" route from Genoa to Rome, and through the so-called "Apennine ridge" to Florence and Rome (which exploits, at least in the first section, the historic and important Apennine penetration route represented by the valley of the river Reno): in fact, these two routes meet in Bologna.

The main motorway junction in Italy, the following flow into the Bologna junction: the A1 "Autostrada del Sole" Milan-Florence-Rome-Naples; the Adriatic axis A14 Bologna-Ancona-Taranto; the A13 Bologna-Padua. The motorway junction that surrounds the city to the west, north and east is flanked for about 22 km by the ring road. The traffic density is one of the highest in Italy and also the environment and air quality are strongly affected by it: to the pollution typical of the traffic of an urban area of one million inhabitants is added that of a traffic " of transit" that has no equal in Italy, especially in relation to the size of the agglomeration. In order to relieve traffic congestion and enhance the motorway and ring road junction, a dynamic third lane was created on the A14 and the traffic lights at the junctions of the ring road with urban roads replaced with roundabouts. Furthermore, the construction of the so-called Passante Nord is being studied which, detaching itself from the A14 in the area of Castel San Pietro Terme, should connect to the A1 before Castelfranco Emilia, passing north of the city, in order to distance the transit traffic only.

Other important roads that touch the city are the Via Emilia state road 9, which connects it with numerous capitals of Emilia-Romagna, as well as with Lodi and Milan; the former state road 253 San Vitale which connects it with Ravenna; the former Futa state road 65 which connects it with Florence and the Porrettana state road 64 which comes from Pistoia and continues to Ferrara.

Bologna is a railway hub of national importance, through which it is estimated that more than 85% of national traffic transits between North and South, excluding traffic via La Spezia (for Milan and France) and traffic via Ravenna - Ferrara and via Ferrara - Suzzara - Parma. The railways offer, in addition to the regional, national and international connection service, also services at the metropolitan level.

The railway lines of national importance that serve Bologna Centrale are:
the Bologna-Milan line (which connects the capital cities of Emilia, with the exception of Ferrara, as well as Genoa and Turin), which, since December 2008, has been joined by the corresponding high-speed line;
the Bologna-Ancona-Bari (which heading towards Romagna touches all the capitals with the exception of Ravenna, and then follows the entire length of the Adriatic coast southwards as far as Puglia);
the Bologna-Florence-Rome (called "Direttissima"), joined since December 2009 by the new high-speed line between Bologna and Florence, which continues to Naples and Calabria;
the Bologna-Verona, which also connects it to Trentino-Alto Adige and Northern Europe;
the Bologna-Venice, which also connects it to Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Eastern Europe;

The other lines of regional importance connected to Bologna Centrale are:
the Bologna-Porretta Terme-Pistoia line (called "Porrettana"), built in 1864. Up until the construction of the "Direttissima" in 1934, it was the main connection line between Northern and Southern Italy;
the Bologna-Casalecchio-Vignola, which shares the infrastructure of the Bologna-Porretta from Bologna to Casalecchio.

The city also has a beltline railway.
The main railway station is Bologna Centrale station, one of the largest Italian stations in terms of passenger traffic (about 58 million a year) and the number of trains in transit per day.

Metropolitan railway service
The Bologna metropolitan railway service is a high-frequency suburban railway service, which uses railway lines converging in the city of Bologna. It is identified by the acronym SFM or even just with the letter "S". This service offers several stops within the urban center of Bologna and the metropolitan city, and is therefore also useful for travel within the city.

In 2019, Guglielmo Marconi Airport in Bologna was the eighth Italian airport by number of passengers. The importance of the airport (whose catchment area is estimated at at least ten million people) is mainly due to its position in the "production centre" of Italy. In addition to its function at the service of the entire production area of Emilia and the Marches, the increase in routes by low cost airlines and the construction of the high-speed line to Florence have led to a massive increase in tourist users. The airport is connected to Bologna Central Station via the Marconi Express, an elevated people mover.

Urban mobility
Urban public transport is managed by TPER, which offers a bus and trolleybus service, with urban, suburban and intercity lines. Some lines have been contracted out by Tper to some companies including Autoguidovie, SACA, COSEPURI and other minor companies.

In Bologna there are car sharing services (Io Guido and Enjoy, with petrol cars, and Corrente, with electric cars) and two bike sharing services (managed respectively by Mobike and TPER). Since spring 2010, a free bike taxi service, called Bi-Bo, has been operating in the centre.

Cycle paths
Bologna has a dense network of cycle paths. As of June 2022, the urban cycle network measures approximately 200 km, of which 120 km in a protected area, 50 km of cycle paths on the roadway and 30 km of green paths (in green or river areas). By 2024, the construction of an additional 50 km of cycle paths is already planned and financed.

The cycle path network is identified by the routes of the Bicipolitana, the cycle path network of the metropolitan city of Bologna. Of the 32 routes identified by the Bicipolitana, 10 are radial routes starting from the center of Bologna and the other 2 are tangential routes that surround the city of Bologna, including the Bicycle Ring Road, inaugurated in 2015, which follows the route of the ring roads around to the historical centre.

Line 2 of the Bicipolitana includes the Bologna section of the Ciclovia del Sole, part of the EuroVelo 7 European cycle corridor, which runs through Europe from north to south.

The Urban Plan for Sustainable Mobility sets as a goal, for 2030, that 18% of journeys within the municipality of Bologna take place by bicycle.



Throughout its democratic history, the city administration has been distinguished by its left-leaning political orientation. In 1914 the Socialist Party won the first administrative elections by universal male suffrage with a large majority with the electoral motto "Bread and the alphabet", leading to the first socialist junta of Francesco Zanardi. The advent of the fascist regime led to the abolition of the municipal democratic bodies, re-established only after the Liberation with the introduction of universal suffrage. The first post-war mayor was Giuseppe Dozza, appointed in 1945 by the Emilia and Romagna regional national liberation committee and confirmed in the first local elections by universal suffrage in 1946. Since then, with only the parenthesis of 1999-2004 (which saw him as head of the centre-right council Giorgio Guazzaloca), the citizens elected left-wing or centre-left administrations, so much so that the appellation "Bologna the red" assumed a political meaning.

Bologna has been characterized by a high political participation of citizens, which can be seen in the high electoral turnout, historically oscillating between 80% and 70%. A strong setback occurred in the municipal elections of 2016, in which there was a turnout of less than 60%, which dropped further in the next electoral round in 2021, stopping at the historic low of 51%. Bologna ranks well above the national average also for the participation of women in the administration, with 60% of women elected to the City Council in 2016.



The Bologna Football Club 1909, seven times Italian champion, twice winner of the Italian Cup and three times of the Central European Cup, is based in the city. His palmarès also includes an Intertoto Cup, an Italian-English League Cup and an International Tournament at the 1937 Paris Universal Expo. He plays in Serie A.

In Bologna basketball is a very rooted sport. In the nineties the city earned the nickname of Basket City ("the city of basketball") thanks to the simultaneous militancy at the top of Europe of the two Bolognese teams: Virtus, winner of 16 Scudetti and 2 Euroleague-Cup Champions, and Fortitudo, which won the Italian championship twice.

Women's basketball is represented at high levels by the women's selection of Virtus militant in the top flight and by Libertas Basket Bologna, in Serie A2 since 1993.

The main bodies that organize the Italian basketball championships and the All-Star Game are based in the capital of Emilia: the Basketball League and the National Basketball League.

Zinella Volley won the Italian championship in 1984/85, the Italian Cup in 1983/84, the Cup Winners' Cup in 1986/87 and a League Cup in 1985/86. It was later acquired by the Pallavolo San Lazzaro company, which in turn, at the beginning of 2019, merged into the new Geetit Pallavolo Bologna together with 6 other companies in the area. In the 2021-2022 championship it plays in Serie A3.