My Italian travels continue and on this week’s menu we have the famous city of Bologna. Many people associate the term Bologna with cured pork or a savory spaghetti sauce. The name, however, refers to one of the most vibrant and visually appealing cities in the world. Its history dates as far back as 1000 B.C., and despite numerous uprisings and two world wars, the city prevailed and is now a fusion of history and modernity that rivals that of Paris or Rome.
Bologna’s architecture, history and religion are well intertwined. Its Basilica Di San Petroneo was built in the 12th century to honour the city’s patron saint Petronius. Although its never been finished, it’s unorthodox beauty still stands today in defiance of more modern and sophisticated skyscrapers piercing the Bologna skyline.
As a crossroad for the road and rail system in Northern Italy, Bologna is considered to be one of the biggest transportation and technology hubs in the country. Not only is Bologna one of the most affluent cities in the region, but according to Italians the city is believed to have a high quality of life that is difficult to find elsewhere.
Think that Pisa is the only city with a leaning tower? Think again! Bologna’s two leaning towers, Asinelli and Garisenda are famous landmarks in their own right. The shorter of the two, Grisenda, gained popularity after it was referenced in Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy,” but unlike it’s counterpart, it is not open to the public due to its perilous tilt.
The diversity of architecture can be seen in the images above as just a few minutes out of the bustling city center I found this brutalist piece that mimics the two leaning towers almost identically.
Given that it is essentially a college town, Bologna has a vivacious night life. The Teatro Comunale offers theater lovers memorable opera and classical music, and the Chet Baker Jazz Club doles soothing live jazz music for more cosmopolitan crowds. The city also has a bevy of trendy nightclubs such as Kinki and Link, which are guaranteed to keep you dancing.
During my wanders I came across a little market place and stumbled into an acoustic guitar player by the name of Palko Gonda. His music completed the scene and weeks after this trip I find myself revisiting his videos. Make sure to check out his YouTube and Facebook pages as this dude definitely deserves more recognition:
Bologna hosts many cultural and musical festivals such as the Biografilm Festival, Gender Bender, Bologna Festival and the Bologna Jazz Festival. Furthermore, the presence of porticoes along the streets of Bologna allows visitors to see the city’s attractions while shielded from rain or extreme sunshine.
BOLOGNA, VIEWS FROM ABOVE
Back to the two leaning towers and although Garisenda is closed to the public, the Asinelli tower was open for visitors and seeing this this and it’s orange glow is an experience to behold. You do have to traverse an ungodly amount of narrow, windy stairs but the view of the watchtowers that litter the city and the maze of streets below make it all worthwhile.
Bologna is famous for its culinary delights served in the many trattoria’s and restaurants around town, thus earning the endearing nickname of “La Grassa,” which translates to the “Fat One.”
If you ever visit make sure you take a culinary tour of the city and follow it up with a trip to the Bologna countryside for some wine tasting; doing so will provide the ultimate gastronomical experience.
I hope you enjoyed taking this little trip with me. Make sure to read the previous posts about VENICE and FERRARA and keep an eye out for another entry into my travel journal in which I visit the famous city of Padua.