"Bologna: Iconic Images" Bologna by von.otter

Bologna Travel Guide: 1,230 reviews and 3,806 photos

“At Bologna I found a festa, or rather two festas, a civil and a religious, going on in mutual mistrust and disparagement.”
— from “Italian Hours” 1909 by Henry James (1843-1916)

Bologna is always a party, una festa. One of its nicknames is la grassa, the fat, because of its great food; and a party is not complete without great food. Because Bologna is a college town, boasting Europe’s oldest university, the spirit of youth touches everything, including partying!

My introduction to this grand Medieval city includes three photos which are symbolic of what makes Bologna such a special place.

The first iconic image of Bologna is Nettuno il giante, Neptune the Giant. Topping a fountain next to City Hall, Nettuno is a bulging mass of bronze muscle. He gives the plaza where the fountain stands its name, Piazza Nettuno. This square borders the city’s main square, Piazza Maggiore, as well its historic city hall, Palazza Comunale.

The second iconic image is Torre degli Asenelli, the 330-foot tall tower which can be climbed for a six euro tariff. I would encourage all visitors to Bologna to make this exhilarating trip up to the top of this tower; the views are outstanding. You can also work off the calories you will taking from the great food the city has to offer. It will also be possible to see why the city has another nickname, la rossa, the Red. A sea of red-tiled roofs will stretch out before you as you look down on the city. Some might argue that this nickname refers to the city’s liberal, even socialist, political views.

The third iconic image of Bologna is its porticos. Bologna is very famous for its porticos. They shelter residents and visitors from the hot sun and the rain. We were grateful for these ubiquitous features when we took shelter under some of them as we found ourselves in a sudden downpour. Porticos have been a part of the city’s life since the 13th century, when a law was passed requiring new construction to include them in their plans.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:A charming town with great food and great art
  • Last visit to Bologna: May 2010
  • Intro Updated Jan 19, 2012
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Reviews (65)

Comments (3)

  • DSwede's Profile Photo
    Apr 25, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    Thanks again for your input regarding my Easter layover! We had a very smooth and pleasant ~3.5hrs in the center. The sites were great, but unfortunately the restaurants you noted were closed for holidays. Nonetheless good time!

  • MM212's Profile Photo
    Oct 15, 2010 at 12:38 PM

    Great page on one of my favourite cities in Italy. I long to return! Ciao!!

  • alza's Profile Photo
    Oct 7, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    Charming Hotel Corona d'Oro! Oberdan rings a bell... will check. I love la Rossa, la Grassa! The sign is very attractive. Tks!


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