Walking around Bologna
Like all medieval cities, Bologna is on a human scale: the whole ancient center can be covered on foot in less than an hour. A radial road structure, crossed by concentric circular streets, and in the center Piazza Maggiore
, a place of lively public life and intense economic activity, where the most important ancient buildings are located.Palazzo D'Accursio
, a set of buildings united to an older nucleus acquired by the municipality at the end of the 13th century, enriched in the 15th century by the clock on the tower. It includes a multimedia library in Art Nouveau style, Roman archaeological, a XVI cordoned staircase of Bramante for the ascent on horseback by the representatives of the city, and a number of halls-loggias and chapels: Sala d'Ercole, Sala of the Town Council, Sala Farnese, Cappella Farnese, Sala Rossa and Sala Urbana. Basilica of San Petronio
, the sixth largest church in Europe, dedicated to the patron saint of the city, local bishop in the V century. Construction began in 1390 and its main facade has remained unfinished. The 22 chapels into the side aisles preserve interesting works of art. The musical chapel is famous with the organ built around 1470, the oldest in the world still in use. Its sundial, 68 m long, is the longest in the world.Palazzo del Podestà
is the oldest palace in Bologna, built around 1200 as a seat for the government of the city (later moved to Palazzo D'Accursio) and remodeledin 1525 from Gotic to Renaissance style. Piazza Maggiore was designed around it in 1200 to make more important the center of the city. It’s a long building in front of San Petronio, with a large hall on the upper floor. The lower floor, the so-called Voltone del Podestà, is a double open arcade with two lanes of shops.Palazzo di Re Enzo
, was built between 1244 and 1246 as an extension of the Palazzo del Podestà and its Sala dei Trecento was the city archive. Owes its name to Enzo di Svevia, king of Sardinia, son of Frederick II and imperial legate, protagonist and leader in the clash between Empire, Municipalities and Pope. Captured by the Bolognese cavalry, was locked up here until his death. In the square of Re Enzo there is the well-known fountain with the statue of Neptune
The Due Torri
(2 towers), symbol of Bologna, are 200 meters from Piazza Maggiore, at the entrance to the ancient Via Emilia.They are the best known towers left from the Middle Ages, when Bologna had 300 towers. In addition to the military function (signaling and defense), they represented the social prestige of the family responsible for the construction.
The Torre degli Asinelli, 97 meters high, was built in the early 1100s. Its internal staircase of 498 steps leads to a spectacular view of the city from above. In the same period the Garisenda was built. It was later lowered to only 47 meters for fear of collapse due to the subsidence of the land, as can be seen from its steep slope.
is to the side of the cathedral and dates back to the 16th century, during the years of the Council of Trent. It is one of the most important buildings in the city, once the main building of the University. Externally a porch 140 meters long, inside a courtyard with two line of loggias and stairways leading to the upper floor study rooms of legisti (students of civil and canon law), and artisti (students of philosophy, literature, medicine, …).
The upper level houses the Anatomical theatre
built in 1636. the hall for anatomy lectures and displays. It is an amphitheatre made with numerous sculptures on the walls representing doctors from ancient and modern times.
In 1803 the seat of the University was moved to the XV century Palazzo Poggi, already seat of the Academy of Sciences since 1714.
The Basilica of Santo Stefano
(mostly known as the Seven Churches
) is a complex of different buildings melt together, 7 churches in different styles:Roman, early Christian, Byzantine, Lombard, Frank, Ottonian. San Petronio, bishop of the city in the 5th century, built the first church (Santo Sepolcro) with the aim of building a seven churches complex reproducing the places of Christ’s passion.
From the beautiful Piazza Santo Stefano there is an overview of the facades of the three churches of the Crucifix, the Sepulcher and the Saints Vitale and Agricola.
The Chiesa del Crocifisso
was built during the 7th century by the Lombards with a minimalist style. To see inside a crucifix from 1300, the statue of the Dead Christ, and the Cripta del Sepolcro under the presbytery.
The Church of the Santo Sepolcro
octagonal and entirely dominated by the large central pulpit, dates back to the 5th century and was build above an ancient temple of the goddess Isis. It was designed to reproduce the place where Christ’s remains were deposited after his death.
The romanic-lombard Vitale and Agricola
church, the oldest section of the complex, houses the remains of the first two martyrs and saints of Bologna at the time of Diocletian (305 A.D.).
The Chiesa della Trinità or Martirium was built by San Petronio‘ and was rebuilt several times by the Longobards, becoming a baptistery and later modified by the Benedictine monks. A must-see is the oldest nativity scene
with wooden human-size figures that dates back to the 12th century.
Inside the complex there is the romanic Courtyard of Pilato
and the beautiful medieval cloister.