Bologna, traditions and flavours

Capital of the province and of the Emilia Romagna region, Bologna is situated between the mountains of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and the heart of the Po Valley. A meeting point between north and south, east and west, from Bologna you can easily reach the Adriatic Riviera as well as Venice, Florence, Milan and Rome.
Reasons to visit Bologna
Home to the oldest university in the western world, Bologna is a city with an intense cultural life and a very interesting historical heritage, boasts one of the largest and best preserved medieval historic center in Europe, teeming with bars, taverns, theaters and shops.
The journey to discover Bologna starts from the fountain of Neptune, one of the symbols of the city, the work of the Flemish sculptor called Giambologna. Before looking out over the splendid scenery of Piazza Maggiore, take a step back in the history of ancient Bononia, entering Salaborsa.
What in the nineteenth century was the center of economic life, today is one of the places of city culture: with its rich multimedia library, it has become one of the meeting points most frequented by the people of Bologna. At the center of the structure there is the covered square, where you will have your first meeting with the unexpected Bologna. Under your feet, a glass floor opens a view of the city of the origins. Here, you can sip a coffee at the turn of the millennia, admiring the art deco ceilings and closely observing the archaeological finds on which the city stands today. From Piazza Santo Stefano, through Corte Isolani, in a few minutes you are in Strada Maggiore. From here, what you were waiting to see opens to your eyes: the Asinelli Tower, which stands together with the Garisenda in the center of a radius from which depart the main city streets. Driving along Strada Maggiore, you arrive under the Two Towers, which are the highest of the 20 towers left in the ``turreted city`` that in medieval times counted more than one hundred of them. If you don’t believe it, climb the 498 steps that take you to the top of Asinelli and look at the city from above: you will discover it, even today, much more ``turreted`` than you think.
Along the ancient streets and endless arcades, a completely unexpected wonder are then the canals dating back to the twelfth century that can also be visited in the underground paths.
A rich patrimony of artistic works is enclosed in its numerous Museums and Galleries as well as in the many religious buildings among which the Complex of Santo Stefano excels; the one of San Domenico that guards the marble ark with the remains of the Saint, work of Nicolò dall'Arca with sculptures by Michelangelo, and finally Santa Maria della Vita, which boasts another masterpiece by Nicolò dall'Arca, the plastic group of the Pietà. Another must to visit, the National Art Gallery, which collects works by artists such as Giotto, Raffaello, Carracci, and the Archiginnasio of Bologna, home of the ancient University.
Da Piazza Santo Stefano, attraverso Corte Isolani, in pochi minuti siete in Strada Maggiore. Da qui, quello che stavate aspettando di vedere si apre ai vostri occhi: la Torre Asinelli, che svetta insieme alla Garisenda al centro di una raggiera da cui si dipartono le principali strade cittadine. Percorrendo Strada Maggiore, arrivate sotto le Due Torri, che sono solo le più alte delle venti rimaste nella “città turrita” che in epoca medievale ne contava più di cento. Se non ci credete, salite i 498 scalini che vi portano in cima all'Asinelli e guardate la città dall'alto: la scoprirete, ancora oggi, molto più “turrita” di quanto pensiate.
Lungo le antiche vie e gli infiniti portici, una meraviglia del tutto inattesa sono poi i canali risalenti al XII secolo e visitabili anche nei percorsi sotterranei.
Un ricco patrimonio di opere artistiche è racchiuso nei suoi numerosi Musei e Gallerie così come nei molteplici edifici religiosi tra i quali primeggiano il Complesso di Santo Stefano; quello di San Domenico che custodisce l’arca marmorea con le spoglie del Santo, opera di Nicolò dall'Arca con sculture di Michelangelo, e infine Santa Maria della Vita, che vanta un altro capolavoro di Nicolò dall'Arca, il gruppo plastico della Pietà. Da visitare, infine, la Pinacoteca Nazionale, che raccoglie opere di artisti del calibro di Giotto, Raffaello, Carracci, e l’Archiginnasio di Bologna, sede dell’antica Università.
The typical cuisine
Bologna is synonymous of food and wine. Mortadella, ``ragù alla Bolognese``, tortellini, lasagne, tagliatelle, bollito, certosino, are just some of the products that made it famous in the world along with the legendary sfogline, whose cooking courses are attended by visitors from every continent. Equally well known are the DOC wines of the Colli Bolognesi, among which the typical Pignoletto.
Where to have fun
The city pulsates with life day and night in the many taverns, theaters, galleries, bookshops, squares and shops. In the charming streets near Piazza Maggiore, where the lively and picturesque market of the Quadrilatero is, between shops of typical products, the most gourmands can not give up a stop in the oldest and renowned chocolate laboratory of the city and an aperitif in an ancient wine bar.

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