- Bologna is also a common type of processed sandwich meat. For the food product, see bologna sausage.
Bologna (from Latin Bononia, Bulaggna in the local dialect) is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna in northern Italy, between the Po River and the Apennines.
Bologna was founded by the Etruscans with the name Felsina.
Next the city was the Roman colony known as Bononia, which survived as a medieval city to become a centre of learning and then a major city of the Renaissance papal states.
Due to an efficient system of canals, Bologna was one of the trading centres in northern Italy. Part of taxes raised from traders was used to pay the wages of the University professors.
Over the centuries, Bologna has acquired many nicknames. "Bologna the learned" ("Bologna la dotta") is a reference to its famous university. "Bologna the fat" ("Bologna la grassa") refers to its cuisine.
Bologna is also called "Bologna the red" (Bologna rossa) due to its abundance of brick buildings. The historic town center is indeed striking, with its medieval street plan, leaning towers, and brightly colored buildings in shades of red and orange. The townscape is further enriched by elegant and extensive arcades. "Bologna the red" has also been said to refer to the city's left-leaning politics. Until the election of a centre-right mayor in 1999, the city was a historic bastion of socialism and communism. The centre-left gained power again in the 2004 mayoral elections, with the election of Sergio Cofferati. It was one of the first European settlements to experiment with the concept of "free" public transport.
Another nickname for Bologna is Basket City, referring to Bologna's obsession with basketball, unusual for football-dominated Italy. The local derby between the city's two principal basketball clubs, Fortitudo and Virtus (often called after the clubs' principal sponsors), is one of the most intense in the entire world of sports. Violence has been largely absent in the derby.
Football is still a hugely popular sport in Bologna; the main local club is the Serie A team Bologna F.C. 1909.
Bologna is home to Guglielmo Marconi International Airport. Its central location also makes it northern Italy's major train hub.
Bologna is renowned for its cuilinary tradition and it is often regarded as the food capital of Italy. Situated in the fertile Po River Valley, the rich local cuisine depends on meats and cheeses. As in all Emilia-Romagna, the production of cured pork meats such as prosciutto, mortadella and salame is an important part of the local food industry. Tagliatelle al ragł (pasta with meat sauce, from which the infamous spaghetti alla Bolognese derive), tortellini, and mortadella (the original Bologna sausage) are among the local specialites.
The University of Bologna, founded in 1088, is widely regarded as the oldest existing university in Europe, and was an important center of European intellectual life during the Middle Ages. Gratian and Irnerius, two of the formative influences on legal study both taught at the university in the 12th century, and its students included Dante, Petrarch, Thomas Becket, Erasmus, and Copernicus. Bologna is still very much a university town, and its population rises from 400,000 to nearly 500,000 whenever classes are in session.
Famous people from Bologna