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Travel:Bologna-The Red, Fat, Learned City, (Part 1) Italy, July 6- 2022

The segment travel to Italy started on June 23rd and until the 28th, is dedicated to the visit of 2022 Biennale Arte, (work in progress) and then to other Italian cities.

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Painting: " Ordinary Boy" by Matteo Nanmini



The Red, Fat, Learned City


This ancient charming city is recognized by these 3 characteristics:



+Red - La Rossa - for the terracotta and derivative colors of its structures/building materials, as well as the city's long-standing penchant for left-wing politics.


Red - bricks, roofs, plaster even the drapes covering the windows of historical buildings,

Dominant facade of beautiful towers, arches colonnaded medieval grid, and porticoes are in shades of red, yellow ocher and purple, which its origin can be traced in the surrounding hills and building material, rich with high quality clay and gesso, being naturally alluvial. While the existing stone, which can be extracted, is crumble sandstone. Therefore the the buildings of the area were built with bricks of the characteristic reddish color.

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+Fat - La Grassa it distinctive rich culinary legacy and mass of restaurants

(bolognese sauce)

Bologna is one of favorite culinary destinations, known for cured meats, salty cheeses, handmade pastas, hearty meat sauces, and of course, gelato - icecream







Via delle Pescherie Vecchie - in the Quadrilatero district - off of Piazza Maggiore lies what is one of the best streets for foodies




















Best Ice Cream Geleteria Giannin

Via San Vitale 2/A, +39 051 233008


ice cream corner of via San vitale and via zamboni


Tea store








Stregate Tea Shop

Via Porta Nova 7a

+39 051 222564

Info@stregate.it.

120+ kinds of best teas on sale






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+Learned - La Dotta- University of Bologna, is the oldest university in the world established in 1088 AD, in the city and since then it has attracted the "learned" students from all over the world. The city has a large student population that gives it a cosmopolitan character.



The university originated as a center for the study of medieval Roman law under major glossators, including Irnerius. (1050)

in the 1500 the Archiginnasio, - the main building of the university was constructed under

the Papal rule.

Also Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarch were among its students as were the Four Doctors of Bologna.

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Staying in the Medivial Center for 4 nights




Art Hotel Commercianti - Bologna

Via Pignattari 11 +39 051 745 75 11 commercianti@arthotels.it


The Art Hotel - we stayed at, is a boutique hotel located in the heart of the medieval center, inside an historical building that, once housed the 12 c Bologna Municipality.


Though it was recently refurbished, it has kept all the distinctive features of the original building: its vaulted ceilings, its wooden beams, and the balconies looking out over the Gothic stained glass-windows of the impressive Basilica di San Petronio, which is situated, in a busy pedestrian area, and just next to it, adjoining is Piazza Maggiore - the largest main old town's square.


This insuperable location is within walking distance to the main tourist attractions of the city: Archiginnasio, Palazzo del Podestà, Fontana del Neptuno, the Two Towers and also to the most renowned shopping streets of Bologna and the best restaurants.


These 2 plaques decorate the now hotel's structure

Compagnia dell'arte dei Brentatori and Casa Corte Sant'Ambrogio

The first references is to the medieval palace building, at the site, dates from 1116-1179

chosen by the citizens as the first offices of the city.

The ancient Roman structure located also where a medieval church of the Curia of Sancti Ambrosii, once stood. Together with this palace, it composed what, once became the town's assemblies.




In the mid 12th c, the city offices moved at first near the Archiginnasio and, later in the 13th century, they occupied the Palazzo Civico, built for this purpose in Piazza Maggiore


No longer seat of the Commune, the building was acquired by 2 of Bologna's most celebrated Glossatori or legal scholars of Bologna: Alberico di Porta Ravegnana, who made it the seat of his Society of the Arts, and Odofredo, who used the place for housing and teaching.

From about 1250, this building housed the Compagnia dell'Arte dei Brentatori, the medieval craft-guild of wine barrel merchants. The company was also employed as fire-fighters. They were recruited because of the “brenta”, the barrels that could be filled with water to extinguish fires.


Each room at the hotel has a story related to the city's tremendous past: The room we were assigned, and which was decorated with carpentry tools, is dedicated to Mr, Vanini .


The rich and famous (or infamous) fellow was a cabinet and luthier - a master carpenter of Bologna, who lived in the hotel for 25+ years from the mid 1950 to mid 1970 and after he forged an antic table he was given to restore, and which was later discovered, it became apparent that this master restorer and luthier was also a reproducer and counterfeiter.


The art of Lutherie,

All string instruments dating back to the Middle Ages have always been of Bologna's major crafts and passions related to musical vocation and culture, which made the city great capital of music in Europe.

Documents from the 13 c confirms that different stringed instruments were crafted locally and even today Lutherie has a major role in the Italian but also in the international; production market, From the workshops of musical instruments makers who lived and worked around Bologna and who some joined in the "Groupo Liutera Bolognese" guild,

a search for talented violin makers, has always been maintained till now a days, Those who can keep the skilled tradition and cultural heritage are in big demand.


In 2000 the city was declared European capital of culture[ and in 2006, a UNESCO "City of Music" and became part of the Creative Cities Network.



Bologna - Capital of Emilia- Romagna regions.



The capital and largest city of the historical Emilia-Romagna region which is also one of the wealthiest and most developed regions in Europe,

is situated on the edge of the Po Plain at the foot of the Apennine Mountains, at the meeting of the Reno and Savena river valleys.


Bologna is the 7th most populous city in Italy, with about 400,000 inhabitants and 150 different nationalities. It has one of Italy's wealthiest city of highest quality of life indices, and of advanced social services.

It is also a ,an important economic, center and agricultural, industrial, financial and transport hub, where many large mechanical, electronic and food companies have their headquarter , as well as a tourist, cultural, and learning centers,


History in Short

Known for for its medieval towers, renaissance, and baroque artistic monuments, churches and elegant extensive porticoes, (2021 UNESCO recognized) Bologna has a well-preserved fascinating historical center,


In total, there are some 38 kilometres of porticoes in the city's historical center

(over 45 km (28 mi) in the city proper), which make it possible to walk for long distances sheltered from the elements.




The Portico di San Luca is possibly the world's longest. - a windy 666 vault roofed arcades, almost 4km, connects Porta Saragozza (one of the twelve gates of the ancient walls built in the Middle Ages, which circled a 7.5 km (4.7 mi) part of the city), with the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca, a church begun in 1723 on the site of an 11th-c edifice which had already been enlarged in the 14th c, prominently located on a landmark hill (289 metres overlooking the town.

It effectively links San Luca, as the church is commonly called, to the city center




The porticos provide shelter for the traditional procession which every year since 1433 has carried a Byzantine icon of the Madonna with Child attributed to Luke the Evangelist down to the Bologna Cathedral during the Feast of the Ascension.




Petronius, - (died in 450AD) is the revered patron saint of Bologna . He was a bishop of Bologna during the 5th c and , according to ancient chronicles, rebuilt the ruined town and founded the basilica of Saint Stephen.

The Bolognese honor Petronius as their patron saint and dedicated the city's main church to him. rising high over the city's Piazza Maggiore. Oct 4th is the feast of St patronius









Originally Etruscan (traces of human habitation in the area go back to the 3rd millennium BCE) the city has been one of the most important urban centers for centuries, first under the Etruscans ( 6th & 7th c with significant settlements alraedy from about the 9th c BCE (Villanovan culture) when the city was called who called it Felsina.

By the 4th century BCE, the site was occupied by the GaulishBoii,

Then under the Celts as Bona, later under the Romans as Bonōnia, in 196 BCE, a Byzantines, frontier outpost, sacked by the Goths and then in 727–28 AD by the Germanic Lombards under King Liutprand

Then again in the Middle Ages, as a free municipality and signoria. when the town

began to expand rapidly and became one of the main commercial trade centers of northern Italy, By 1200, Bologna was a thriving commercial and artisanal center of about ]thanks to a system of canals that allowed barges and ships to navigate through. Some of these canal still run throughput the city and are an attraction for tourists.


The free town was severely weakened by decades of infighting,due to the Pope's imposing the rule of Cardinal Bertrand du Pouget ( 1327.) who was eventually ousted by a popular rebellion ( 1334) and due to the Black Death in 1348, which reduced the about 50,000 inhabitants, to just 20,000 to 25,000 after the plague.[

In 1350, Bologna was conquered by archbishop Giovanni Visconti, the new lord of Milan, then in 1363 was recuperated to the papacy., revolted again against Papal rule, and changing hand between few Milanese and Florentine consecutive oligarchs.

Then again a period of Papal rule (1506–1796) is evaluated as one of severe decline

helped also by Italian Plague of 1629–31 when Bologna lost up to a third of its population.



Napoleon entered Bologna in 1796. Napoleon and briefly reinstated the ancient mode of government, giving power to the Senate, which was short lived and returned to papal.

rule. which finally ended in the aftermath of Second War of Italian Independence, when the French and Piedmontese troops expelled the Austrians from Italian lands,in 1860.

Rising Fascist movement of Benito Mussolin and the world wars added to the upheavals but also presented the city with the opportunity to developed into an important manufacturing center for food processing, agricultural machinery and metalworking strategically important as an industrial and railway hub connecting northern and central.


The II WW massive aerial bombardment of 1943, destroyed a significant part of the historic city center and killed many. The main railway station and adjoining areas were severely hit, and 44% of the buildings in the center were listed as having been destroyed or severely damaged. By the end of the war, 43% of all buildings in Bologna had been destroyed or damaged . One would not know , as the old City Center, about which I write in my next post, was completely reconstructed,, maintaining the old beautiful medieval facade .




To be Continued...


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