Bologna is the main city of the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy. It is famous for having the oldest existing university in Europe, the largest number of porticoes in the world, its rich cinema tradition, and excellent cuisine, especially Bolognese sauce. Bologna is an ancient city. It was founded by the Etruscans in the VIth century BC, when it was called Felsina, though previous settlements on this site date back even to the Xth century BC. After the Etruscan era, Celts arrived here, followed by the Romans in 189BC, who established their city, Bononia. Thanks to the Romans, Bologna became one of the most important and richest cities in Italy. It is very sad, but none of the Roman monuments in the city have survived to our day, and Bologna now has more of a medieval look than a Roman one.The Italians call Bologna “la dotta, la grassa, la rossa” meaning “educated, fat, red”. ‘Educated’ refers to the university, of course, while ‘fat’ refers to the rich, nutritious local cuisine, while ‘red’ points to the colour of the medieval buildings and tiled roofs of the city. The University of Bologna was founded in 1088 and is considered the oldest university in continuous operation in the world. Among its most illustrious alumni are Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, Albrecht Dürer, Carlo Goldoni, Umberto Eco, Pier Paolo Pasolini and many others. Today, it has more than 80,000 students.Bologna has the largest number of porticoes (“portici” in Italian) – about 40 km of porches, or roofed arcades, that cover the entire city centre, and the longest road leads to the Basilica of San Luca. “Thanks to their great diffusion and permanence, the Porticoes of Bologna are considered as outstanding universal value”, UNESCO stated when, in 2006, the porticoes were included on the World Heritage List.The local cuisine is considered the richest in Italy, and tje meat-based Bolognese sauce (called by Italians “ragù alla bolognese”) was invented here. It is usually served with tagliatelle, a local type of pasta. Another kind of pasta you should try while in Bologna is tortellini, egg-based pasta containing meat. The famous sausage, Mortadella, was also from Bologna originally, and do not forget Parmesan cheese from Parma – the real star of the Emilia-Romagna region.Bologna has always been one of the main cultural centres in Italy, with theatres, concert halls, the Conservatory, the Philharmonic and Fine Arts Academies, the National Art Gallery, Cineteca, etc. Bologna is the second largest city in Italy in terms of cinema seats and, every year, the city hosts about 10 different film festivals.Bologna is the birthplace of the inventor of radio, Guglielmo Marconi, the film director Pier Paolo Pasolini, composer and singer Lucio Dalla and other great Italians. Giotto, Raphael and Michelangelo worked in Bologna and left a magnificent heritage in the city that you are invited to enjoy!It is better to start your trip from the main street, Via Indipendenza, which is situated very close to the train station called Bologna Centrale. If you arrived in Bologna by plane, a 20 minute bus ride will bring you to the Central Railway Station. From the station square, turn left, then right into the first large street containing porticoes and lots of traffic - this is Via Indipendenza, that leads directly to the main city square.
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