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International Exhibition of Ceramic
Tile and Bathroom Furnishings

26 - 30 SEPTEMBER 2016

Bologna

The city of Bologna

With its lively city centre streets lined with magnificent buildings and its maze of mediaeval lanes weaving through the centuries-old porticoes, Bologna is a city of a thousand faces just waiting to be discovered. The city’s enormous historical and cultural heritage can be seen in its delightful squares, its beautiful Churches infused with spirituality, its fascinating museums and its magnificent old buildings.

With its lively city centre streets lined with magnificent buildings and its maze of mediaeval lanes weaving through the centuries-old porticoes, Bologna is a city of a thousand faces just waiting to be discovered. The city’s enormous historical and cultural heritage can be seen in its delightful squares, its beautiful Churches infused with spirituality, its fascinating museums and its magnificent old buildings.

www.italia.it/it/idee-di-viaggio/citta-darte/bologna.html

Brief history

Bologna is one of the most hospitable and widely visited cities in Italy and owes its rich cultural and artistic heritage to its 2,500 years of history. The city was founded by the Etruscans in the 6th century BC. Two centuries later, it was occupied by the Gallic Boi, who gave it the name Bononia (meaning “good land”), from which the name Bologna derives. Following the Roman conquest in 189 BC, it became the main settlement in the province with an extensive network of communications. In particular, the Via Aemilia – the main road that still passes through Bologna today – facilitated links with other important municipalities in the area.

Following the fall of the Roman Empire, Bologna came under the dominion of the Lombards. This marked the beginning of the city’s period of greatest splendour, during which its famous University, the oldest in Europe, was founded in 1088. The “Studio”, as the University was known, attracted students, intellectuals and scholars from all over Europe, further increasing the city’s importance and artistic reputation. Due to the esteem and standing of the intellectuals and artists who have taught there, the University has maintained its prestige right up to the present day.

It was during this first communal period that the Two Towers Asinelli and Garisenda were built, later to become the symbol of the city. The monumental complex of Piazza Maggiore, a fascinating group of historic buildings consisting of Palazzo del Podestà and Palazzo Re Enzo, the Basilica di San Petronio and the Palazzo Comunale, dates from the same period. In the late mediaeval period, Bologna firmly established itself as an important artistic centre. Its reputation across Europe was underscored by the importance of the University and by the continuous growth of its urban architecture.

The city subsequently passed under the control of first the Pepoli and then the Bentivoglio dynasties, wealthy families that gave the city further artistic impetus. They ordered the building of palaces and summoned from Florence, Venice and Ferrara great masters whose works can still be admired in the splendid Pinacoteca. During the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the city’s artistic reputation spread amongst the courts of Europe due to the fame of Bolognese painters such as Guido Reni, the Carraccis and Guercino. During the same period, a strong school of music flourished and this art form still enjoys a prominent position in the city. In 1506 Bologna was annexed by the Papal States and there followed a period of inactivity in building construction. In spite of the decline in its political role, the city continued to enjoy prominence as a seat of learning.

Over the next two centuries, Bologna grew considerably, the city walls were enlarged and the famous San Luca portico was built, connecting the city with the summit of the Colle della Guardia on which stands the Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine di San Luca, highly revered by the Bolognese. Occupied by the French in 1797, Bologna passed under Napoleonic rule and was once again annexed by the Papacy before gaining independence and becoming the capital of the Government of the United Provinces. Annexed by the House of Savoy, in the late 19th century the city began a period of transformation through the building of enormous suburbs and the restoration of numerous monuments and areas of the historic centre.

The 20th century was a highly turbulent period for the city and brought many changes, Bologna being one of the most politically active cities both during and after the World Wars. With its unique historic centre, Bologna can boast one of the best preserved artistic heritages in Italy. It is an open-air museum that testifies to the various historic periods the city has passed through without ever losing its identity or prestige.

Museums

The entire city is an open-air museum. Walking through the streets of the centre or taking a trip into the surrounding hills, the visitor can admire splendid examples of architecture and enjoy breathtaking views. For lovers of history, art, science and items of curiosity, the city offers a range of splendid museums.

For information: www.museibologna.it