Bologna is a world-famous city but many of its visitors do not know that the city holds some primacies.
In this article, our guide will tell you what primacies the city has achieved throughout its history and what makes it a unique destination to visit.
The primacies of Bologna
It is not just a matter of curiosity, these six primacies help us to understand what has made Bologna great in the past and because it is today in full economic and social development.
As early as the Middle Ages a cauldron of ideas and initiatives have grown up with the university and this same energy is leading Bologna to emerge on the international scene. Knowing the excellence of the city is a way to understand the interests of the population and live experiences that no other place on earth can offer.
1. The oldest university in Europe, Alma Mater Studiorum.
The foundation of the current Alma Mater Studiorum in Bologna dates back to 1088, at the beginning the university was born in the form of a intellectual association and in the years gathered around many wise men. Many were the illustrious names that attended the Bolognese university, including Giosuè Carducci. Today, the university has over 84,000 registered students and 210 class.
The influence of the university over a thousand years is really important, just think of the places that hosted the lessons, some of which now host museums and conference rooms. Seeing these points of interest is certainly one of the reasons to visit Bologna.
It is even said that the mixture of different cultures due to the university has influenced the food of Bologna.
If you want to learn more about the Alma Mater Studiorum I recommend the university site. It’s never too late to get degree!
2. The largest collection of coats of arms in the world
This second primacy is closely related to that of the university, in fact the heraldic coats of arms are at the Archiginnasio, an illustrious university site and nowadays library and museum. This extraordinary palace has over 6,000 student coats that decorate the halls and corridors so if of course one of the places to see in Bologna.
3. San Petronio, the seventh largest church in Christianity
It is 132 meters long, 60 meters wide and with a maximum height of about 45 meters.
Exactly, we talk about size! If cities today compete with skyscrapers, the challenge was once about the biggest church. Well Bologna wanted to be the first and in the original project the basilica of San Petronio should have even exceeded San Pietro in Rome!
But apparently the church on which Christianity is founded could not lose its primacy, and the project of St. Petronio was never completed. At the end of the Bolognese we had to settle for seventh place.
After all it’s not just a question of size, if you want know more read: the church of San Petronio
4. Via Saragozza and its portico
Walking around the center you will notice that the city is full of porches. This type of architecture characterizes the city as the red bricks used for many buildings. You can see porches of all styles and sizes. In this Bologna has finally triumphed because here you will find the longest portico in the world. Is the one of Via Saragozza, which from the city center leads to the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca.
The portico continues uninterrupted for almost four kilometres, overtaking even the road to the point called Arco del Meloncello.
The walk along the portico in via Zaragoza is one of the most popular activities of the Bolognese, if you want to try it read our article about: Walking tour to the Sanctuary of Madonna of San Luca.
5. Cineteca of Bologna, a priceless treasure
For cult movie enthusiasts, the Cineteca of Bologna is a unique and irresistible attraction. The Cineteca was born in 1962 and is today one of the most important film library in Europe with a heritage of more than 70,000 films kept in its archives. In addition, the Renzi library houses over 20,000 themed books, 2,500 photography books.
The restoration and diffusion activities that the Cineteca do is very wide, especially thanks to several annual events such as Human Rights Festival and Biografilm festival. Of particular importance is the festival of “Cinema Ritrovato”.
Since 1986 during this festival are projected rare and unreachable films. Attending the projection of a “film Ritrovato” in Piazza Maggiore is certainly an experience that you can only live here.
6. A climb to the sky, Bologna and its Towers
Visiting Bologna in the 14th century the panorama you would have admired would have been quite different from what you might expect. Once, the city was known as the “Turrita” and a jungle of towers rose all over the city, as though there had been an absurd race to reach the sky.
Indeed it was a competition, noble families used towers with military function and as a power emblems. The rivalry was so strong that in the most brilliant period the city had about one hundred towers.
Today there are only twenty-four left, counting the Garisenda and Asinelli’s towers. Those two towers stand in the middle of the old town, easily seen by the tourists, the other are hidden from more recent building. So you have to carefully looking for them because some keeps a pleasant surprise!