Bologna is a city that has it all. For art lovers, there are plenty of museums to explore. Like most of Italy’s cities – it is full of history. For food lovers – it is one of the best destinations in Europe! If night life is your thing, then you are in luck – for Bologna is a city that comes alive after dark. But, more about all of that later.
This was my second visit to this lovely city. For this trip, I booked myself a beautiful one-bedroom apartment on Booking.com – Apartment Alma Music.The bed was on the second floor, on the balcony, overlooking the living room. I loved everything about this apartment!The apartment was on a small street, in the University District. Even so, it was very quiet at night, and I had no problems with noise, or any other kind of inconvenience while I was there. Of course, once I had gotten myself settled, I headed out to explore the area, and the city itself.One of the fascinating things about the city of Bologna is that it has approximately 40 kilometers of porticoes covering its sidewalks. It is practically possible to walk from one side of the city to the other during a rainstorm, only getting wet when it is necessary to cross a street. The Torresotto di San Vitale is part of the second circuit of city walls, which were built to protect the citizens of Bologna.One of the chief landmarks of the city are the Two Towers – the Asinelli Tower, and the Garisenda Tower. Back in the 12th century, there were more than 100 towers in the city, creating a dramatic skyline and enforcing the fact that Bologna was a city to be reckoned with. Now, only twenty of those towers still stand. These two are the most famous. The Asinelli is the tallest, and is the only one open to visits. It is possible to climb to the top – but be warned – there are 498 steps! The Garisenda Tower is not open to the public. In the Piazza named after him, there is the monument to Luigi Galvani – one of the earliest pioneers in the field of Bioelectromagnetics.Nearby is Palazzo dell Archiginnasio, built in 1562, which today houses the Teatro Anatomico and the Archiginnasio Municipal Library. I highly recommend paying this place a visit!On the walk up to the Teatro Anatomico, you get to admire the building itself, and the many monuments that line the walls of the central courtyard, and stairways.Once you are inside of the Teatro itself, it is easy to imagine medical students of years long gone by, sitting and watching as their professors dissected and explained the human body to them. The room is strikingly beautiful, in its wooden simplicity. The Teatro was built in 1636, by Antonio Levanti. While it was partially destroyed during WWII, it was rebuilt, using pieces salvaged from the rubble of the bombing.The Archiginnasio Municipal Library was closed at the time of my visit, but a nice guard allowed me to peek inside. This is the largest library in all of Emilia Romagna, with over 850,000 volumes inside. I will have to return on my next visit to Bologna, to go inside and really explore it.Just a few steps away, you find yourself in Piazza Maggiore. Dominating the piazza is the Basilica di San Petronio.This is the main church of the city. It is the 10th largest church in the world, and the largest Gothic style church built of bricks. It is dedicated to St. Petronius. Outside of the Basilica, in Piazza Maggiore, people pass through, as they do in all large Piazzas in Italia. Palazzo d’Accusio houses the Biblioteca Salaborsa, in a space that used to function as the city’s stock exchange. Now, it is an up-to-date, functioning library, always full of students.
Next up: more from my first day in Bologna!
Note: this blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations which may appear.