Art, history and architecture
Bologna is proud of an extraordinary artistic and cultural heritage: the testimonies of its prestigious history, the elegant and glorious past of the city are scattered in every street, at every corner, which today blends with the modern and cosmopolitan social context.
Piazza Maggiore and the Neptune
The beating heart of the city is Piazza Maggiore, overlooked by stunning buildings, such as the Palazzo d’Accursio, the Palazzo del Podestà, the Basilica of San Petronio, the Palazzo dei Notai and the Palazzo dei Banchi. Behind this square there is another open space, “Piazza del Nettuno” which takes its name from the sixteenth-century fountain placed in its center, the work of Giambologna, also known as the “Giant’s Fountain”.
Bologna is the city of arcades. Extending for about 38 kilometers, unmatched in any other city in the world, they form the warp of the historic center. Due to its uniqueness, the network of Bolognese arcades is been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Characteristic of the city are also its towers, which offer tourists the opportunity to admire a wonderful panorama from above. The most important are the Towers of the Garisenda and of the Asinelli, symbol of that “towered” Bologna which in the fourteenth century boasted 150 towers, an integral part of the urban context, capable of representing the power of the most illustrious Bolognese families.
Bologna has an extraordinary number of churches and basilicas: in Piazza Maggiore there is the Gothic, superb and unfinished Basilica of San Petronio, the most important church in Bologna and the sixth most impressive in Europe.
In Piazza Santo Stefano, there is the complex of the Seven Churches, a sanctuary which in the original intentions was to reproduce the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem to be the destination of all pilgrims who could not go to the Holy Land.
At the top of Colle della Guardia stands the Sanctuary of San Luca, connected to the city by a long portico of 4 km and 666 arches: symbolically the Virgin, to whom the Sanctuary is dedicated, crushes the snake under her feet (symbol of the sin) represented by the portico, which just like a reptile winds along the side of the hill.
There are more than fifty museums in Bologna that preserve a rich heritage, unique both for the quality of the masterpieces and for the great thematic and temporal diversity. Valuable masterpieces are housed in the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna (National Art Gallery), the Museo Civico Archeologico (Civic Archaeological Museum), MAMbo – Museum of Modern Art of Bologna (Modern Art Gallery), the Museo Internazionale e Biblioteca della Musica (International Museum and Library of Music) and in many other exhibitions.