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Do you know why Bologna is called 'la dotta, la rossa e la grassa'? “La dotta” means “the sapient”: the first University in the world rose there, in the 11th century. Even today, the city presents itself as a place full of artistic and cultural ferment, a typical university town, filled with students from all over Italy and Europe.
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Bologna is also called “la rossa”,”the red”, because of the terracotta hues of its buildings. The medieval layout of Bologna's historical center is still quite visible, with its main roads, currently corresponding to Via Ugo Bassi and Via Rizzoli, heading towards the outskirts according to the ancient Roman decuman structure. The city offers a lot of evidence of its past, such as the ring of walls that surrounds the central area, dating back to 1300, with 12 access gates of which nine are perfectly preserved. Bologna's symbols are certainly the two towers, the Asinelli and the Garisenda, a monumental complex which dates back to the first municipal age, around 1100. Also very important is the ecclesiastic architecture in gothic style: the main churches from the 1200's and 1300's are linked to the expansion of religious orders, among these San Domenico, San Francesco, San Giacomo and San Martino. In the same period the monumental complex of Piazza Maggiore started taking shape, including the palaces of the Podestà and of King Enzo, the Palazzo Comunale and the Basilica di San Petronio, which was begun in 1390. There are also examples of remarkable baroque art, also to be linked to religious architecture, such as the churches of San Paolo and San Salvatore and the cathedral of San Pietro, although the latter has Romanic origins.
Last but not least, Bologna is called “la grassa”, 'the fat', in reference to the delicious food, such as fresh egg pasta like lasagne, tagliatelle and tortellini, and fried dough with regional salumi. Taste also Lambrusco, a typical wine of the region.
Culture, history and good food: what do you want more?