Porta Maggiore, city gate

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Porta Maggiore
AnetaMalinowska, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Porta Maggiore
AnetaMalinowska, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bologna is an ancient city rich in historical monuments such as Porta Maggiore, also called Porta Mazzini.

The structure belonged to the third circle of walls which once had twelve gates.

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Porta Maggiore in a nutshell

This gate is located to the east of the historical centre, at the point where Strada Maggiore becomes via Mazzini. Like all other structures of this type, it was built in brick in the 13th century, and is one of the most visited as it stands in a strategic as well as central position: from here it is easy to visit all the most beautiful places in Bologna.

The history of the gate

Si narra che Porta Maggiore sia stata per molto tempo l’entrata principale della città e quindi da qui sono transitati personaggi molto importanti come papi e sovrani.

Questa porta infatti aveva il compito di presidiare la continuazione della via Emilia oltre il suo tratto urbano verso la Romagna, ed era uno snodo fondamentale per entrare o uscire da Bologna.

Negli anni ha subito varie opere di restauro che ne hanno fortemente modificato aspetto e struttura e nel 1770 fu totalmente ridisegnata dall’ Arch. Dotti e ridotta nelle forme attuali.

Nel 2007 come tutte le porte urbane della città ha subito un restauro importante che l’ha riportata al suo stato originale.

Piccola curiosità, questa porta rischiava di non esistere più in quanto nel 1903 fu ordinato di demolirla. Fortunatamente a demolizione iniziata alcuni cittadini e storici d’arte si opposero e quindi si riuscirono a conservare e restaurare, sotto la guida di Alfonso Rubbiani, almeno i resti più antichi della costruzione.

It is said that Porta Maggiore was for a long time the main entrance to the city and therefore very important personalities such as popes and sovereigns passed through here.

In fact, this gate had the task of guarding the continuation of the Via Emilia beyond its urban section towards Romagna, and was a fundamental junction for entering or leaving Bologna.

Over the years it has undergone various restoration works which have greatly modified its appearance and structure and in 1770 it was totally redesigned by the architect Dotti and reduced to its present form.

In 2007, like all the urban gates of the city, it underwent a major restoration which brought it back to its original state.

Small curiosity, this historic place risked being eliminated as it was as in 1903 it was ordered to be demolished. Fortunately, once the demolition had begun, some citizens and art historians opposed it and therefore it was possible to preserve and restore, under the guidance of Alfonso Rubbiani, at least the oldest remains of the building.

Places of interest nearby

Nearby there are some places of historical and cultural interest.

The door, in fact, is just a few steps away from the beautiful Palazzo Hercolani, a neoclassical building which currently houses the School of Political Sciences of the University of Bologna.

Also a short distance from the door you can also find Casa Morandi, the home of the artist Giorgio Morandi and his family, and Casa Carducci, the residence of Giosuè Carducci.

How to reach Porta Maggiore

Given its location, the gate is easily accessible by public transport, by car or on foot.

If you arrive by train from Bologna Central Station, you can take one of the many buses that take you near the door

Alternatively, it can be reached on foot in 30 minutes by crossing the magnificent capital of Emilia, taking advantage of the walk you can enjoy some magnificent views of the historic center.

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This article was written by:
Ivan Agolino
I am a curious traveler and I passionately dedicate myself to the search for new tastes and emotions. I have made Bologna my home and every day I venture into its alleys to discover some new secret that I transcribe in these articles. I hope I can convey all the love I feel for this splendid city!
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