Home to Europe’s oldest university and rich, flavorful cuisine, Bologna (pop.500,000) has been known since ancient times as the grassa (fat) and dotta (learned) city. Today, academic liberalism drives political activism minority groups, student alliances, and the national gay organization all find a voice (and listening ears) in Bologna. All eyes, however, are on Bologna’s art. Priceless works inhabit museums and churches, whose 700-year-old porticoes line the streets.


Bologna is a rail hub for all major Italian cities and the Adriatic coast. Trains leave the northern tip of the walled city for: Florence (lMshr. every 2hr. ‚5-‚7); Milan (3hr. 2 per hr. ‚10); Rome (4hr. every hr. ‚22); and Venice (2hr. every hr. ‚ 10). Buses #25 and 30 run between the train station and the historic center at Piazza Maggiore (‚1). The tourist office, P. Maggiore 1, is next to the Palazzo Comunale. (a 051 648 76 07; www.comune.bologna.itbolognaturismo. Open M-Sa 10am-2pm and 3-7pm, Su 10am-2pm.) Check email at Bar College, Largo Respighi 6d (s05122 96 24) next to the Teatro Communale. ( 051 22 96 24. ‚4.50 per hr. Open M-F 8am- 3am, Sa 10am-3am, Su 10am-2am.) Postal Code: 40100.


Bologna’s hotels are rather pricey; reservations are recommended. Most are located around V. dell’Independenza and V. Marconi.

Albergo Panorama, V. Livraghi 1, 4th fl. (051 22 18 02; Take V. Ugo Bassi from P. del Nettuno, then take the third left. Sparklingly clean hotel in a prime location. Enormous, sunny rooms with high ceilings, hardwood floors, and TVs. Three bathrooms serve all 12 rooms. Curfew 3am. Reception from 7am-3am. Singles ‚50; doubles ‚65; triples ‚80; quads ‚90; quints ‚100. AmExMCV. Q

Ostello due Torre San Sisto (HI), V. Viadagola 5 (fax 051 22 49 13), off V. San Donato, in Localita di San Sisto, 6km northeast of the center of town. Tourist office has map with directions. Take bus #93 from Marconi St. (available M-Sa, every 30min.) Ask the driver for the San Sisto stop. Exit bus and cross street; hostel is the yellow building on right with yellow-and-green metal fence. Large building in a tranquil setting. Reception 7:30-9am and 3:30-11:30pm. Lockout 10am-3:30pm. Curfew 11:30pm. Dorms ‚14; doubles ‚30. Nonmembers add ‚2.60. AmExDCMCV. O

Garisenda, Galleria Leone 1, 3rd fl. (051 22 43 69; fax 22 10 07). Down V. Rizzoli and turn right into the gallery mall. Comfortable, homey oasis right in the center of town. Most rooms offer a great view. Singles ‚45; doubles ‚65; triples ‚90. AmExMCV. O

Pensione Marconi, V. Marconi 22 (051 26 28 32). Turn right from station and then left onto V. Amendola, which becomes V. Marconi. Clean, modern rooms, all with bath. Singles ‚45; doubles ‚70; triples ‚93.

Don’t leave without sampling Bologna’s signature spaghetti alia bolognese. Scout Via Augusto Righl, Via Plella, and Via Saragozza for traditional trattorie. Locals chat over plates of pasta at EJTrattoria Da Maro , V. Broccaindosso 71b, between Strada Maggiore and V.S. Vitale. (051 22 73 04. Primi ‚5-6. Secondi ‚5-7. Open Tu-Sa noon-2:30pm and 8-1 lpm.) Nuova Pizzeria Gianna , V.S. Stefano 76A, known to locals simply as Mamma’s, has delicious pizzas crafted by Gianna herself. ( 051 22 25 16. Open M-F 7am-midnight, Sa 7am-10pm. Closed Aug.) Ristorante Clorofilla

0, Strada Maggiore 64C, is a hip, primarily vegetarian spot. ( 051 23 53 43. Salads and hot dishes ‚5-8. Open M-Sa 12:15-2:45pm and 7:30-llpm.) A PAM supermarket, V. Marconi 26, is by the intersection with V. Riva di Reno. (Open M-Sa 7:45am-8pm.)


Forty kilometers of porticoed buildings line the streets of Bologna in a mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles. The tranquil EPiazza Maggiore flaunts both Bologna’s historical and modem wealth. The cavernous Gothic interior of the city’s duomo, Basilica di San Petronio, was meant to be larger than Rome’s St. Peter’s, but the jealous Church leadership ordered that the funds be used instead to build the nearby Palazzo Archiginnasio. It hosted both the Council of Trent (when it wasn’t meeting in Trent) and the 1530 ceremony in which Pope Clement VII gave Italy to the German King Charles V. The pomp and pageantry of the exercises at the church allegedly inspired a disgusted Martin Luther to reform religion in Germany. (Open M-Sa 7:15am-lpm and 2-6pm, Su 7:30am-lpm and 2-6:30pm.) The Palazzo Archiginnasio, behind S. Petronio, was once a university building; the upstairs theater was built in 1637 to teach anatomy to students. (05127 68 11. Open daily 9am-lpm. Closed 2 weeks in Aug.) On the northern side of P. Maggiore is the Palazzo de Podesta, remodeled by Fioravanti’s son Aristotle, who later designed Moscow’s Kremlin. Next to P. Maggiore, Piazza del Nettuno contains Giambologna’s famous 16th-century fountain, Neptune and Attendants. From P. Nettuno, go down V. Rizzoli to Piazza Porta Rave- gana, where seven streets converge to form Bologna’s medieval quarter. Two towers that constitute the city’s emblem rise magnificently from the piazza; you can climb the 498 steps of the Torre degli Asinelli for a breathtaking view of the city. (Open daily 9am-6pm. ‚3.) From V. Rizzoli, follow V.S. Stefano to P.S. Stefano, where four of the original seven churches of the Romanesque Piazza Santo Stefano Church Complex remain. Bologna’s patron saint, San Petronio, lies buried under the pulpit of the Chiesa di San Sepolcro. (Open daily 9am-noon and 3:30-6pm.) Take Strada Maggiore to P. Aldrovandi to reach the remarkably intact Chiesa di Santa Mari del Seru, whose columns support an unusual combination of arches and ribbed vaulting. (Open daily 7am-lpm and 3:30-8pm.) The Pinacoteca Nazionale, V. delle Belle Arti, 56, off V. Zamboni, traces the history of Bolognese artists. (051 420 94 11. Open Su and Tu-Sa 9am-6:30pm. ‚6. Students ‚3, seniors and under-18 free.)


Bologna’s hip student population ensures raucous nighttime fun and accounts for the ample number of bars and clubs in the city. Cluricaune, V. Zamboni 18b, is an Irish bar full of students who flock to its pool table and dart boards. (051 26 34

19. Pints ‚4.20. Happy Hour 7-10:30pm features ‚2.50 pints. Open Su-F llpm-3am, Sa 4pm-3am.) Cassero, in the Porta Saragozza, is a lively gay bar packed with men and women. ( 051 649 44 16. Drinks ‚3-6. Open daily 10pm-2am.)

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