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Bologna (about 380,000 inhabitants) known as “the fat and the learned”, is the administrative capital city of the homonymous province, as well as the Emilia-Romagna region. It is a very old university city (officially since 1088), which hosts many students who bring wealth and life to the cultural and social aspects of the city. It is also known for its towers and its long arcades (over 38 km in the old city centre alone), further to its very well preserved old city centre (one of the largest in Italy).
Another characteristic of the city are its noble towers of medieval origins, in fact the two towers are the monumental symbols of the city: the "torre degli asinelli" (97 meters high) and the Garisenda tower (which used to be 60 metres high, nowadays 48 meters high); they were built upon request of the Ghibelline nobilities in the XII century; the tower which leans the most, the Garisenda, was mentioned many times by Dante Alighieri, in the Divine Comedy (Hell, XXXI, 136-140) and in the Rhyme, as evidence of his stay in the city of Bologna. The heart of the city is the Piazza Maggiore, where you can find the impressive and Gothic Basilica of St. Petronius (the 5th largest church in the world), built, between 1390 and 1659, upon request by the local council (in fact all the houses built on the land in this area were purchased with public money). In the same area you can also find the Neptune fountain, built by Giambologna; the Council Palace (XIII and XV century) and the Governor’s Palace (Palazzo del Podestà) which was rebuilt in 1845 next to the thirteenth-century King Enzo Palace.
Another sight not to be missed is the splendid St. Stephen’s Square, where you will find St. Stephen’s church which consists of several distinct sanctuaries, known as “the Seven Churches”, all linked to each other by a courtyard and a cloister.
In 2000, Bologna became the European cultural capital, whilst in 2006, the city received the Musical Creative City loyalty gift by UNESCO, the first city in Italy and the second in Europe after Seville.
Bolognese Cooking (like all the cooking in Emilia Romagna) is well known for its variety and for its richness: the typical dishes are based on meat (usually pork) and egg pasta. Products like “mortadella”, “tortellini”, “lasagne”, and ”ragù” (used as a sauce for pasta “tagliatelle”) are particularly famous.
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