Bologna is the capital city of the Emilia-Romagna region and is home to the oldest university in Europe, and in fact, the world (it dates from 1088!). It also has the longest system of arcades in the world (25 mi worth), an impressive number of museums, and, of course, the headquarters of the biggest Italian car and motorbike manufacturers.
In the Middle Ages, thanks to its strategic position, it was already one of the richest cities in Italy. All sorts of goods, such as marble, were transported on its ancient canals (which have since disappeared).
There are only 12 gates remaining from the ancient 19th century fortified walls that surrounded the city. However, the city has preserved its system of arcades, which stems from the overcrowded conditions in the city. Indeed, to build new lodgings, it was decided to construct porticoes propped up by pillars, which would make room for traffic while at the same time protecting pedestrians from the rain and the heat.
It has been nicknamed the red city because of the ochre shades of its buildings, but also for its long-standing allegiance to left wing politics.
Nestled in the heart of the car-producing region of Italy, it is home to the Lamborghini museum and the Ducati factory. These sites will enthral both diehard fans and visitors that are simply curious.
Both small and friendly, but also a little mysterious is how John Grisham, the famous novelist, describes Bologna, which he used as the setting for one of his books. There are actually numerous crime stories that have also been set in the capital of Emilia-Romagna.
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