is Venice, Florence, and Rome. In Rome you can revive the splendor of
the Roman Empire, in Venice and Florence you can admire the beauty of
But if you miss Bologna you'll miss the splendor of the late Italian
Middle Age, which gave rise to Italian Renaissance. Bologna is the most
beautiful open air Middle Age Museum one can imagine.
In fact Bologna is the largest middle age town in Europe preserved to
our days. You can stroll along its streets, protected from weather by
its over 20 miles of centuries old arcades, and just look around, to
discover that each building is a treasury for you to discover, be it a
palace, a church or a small dwelling home or an artisan shop of the old
Ghetto (the jewish district).
You may buy groceries in a middle age style shop, you may have a snack
and a glass of wine in an "Osteria",
age style pub, or you may sit in a café under
the arcades of the palace built to keep prisoner King Enzo, son of the
Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II.
Shopping in Bologna is an experience you can't miss. Being a rich town,
in a very wealthy area, his shops can provide any luxury item you can
dream of, but where else in the world you may enter a shop and get as
an extra bonus the view of a Roman Theatre, or of the columns and
fresco's of a Renaissance palace?
If you love art, just step into any church and watch at the paintings
and sculptures, or visit at least the Middle Age Museum, and the
National Art Gallery (the Pinacoteca),
masterworks of painters from middle age to baroque,
mainly collected by Pope Benedict XIV (he was from Bologna) who chose
to gather in an appropriate Gallery the most valuable paintings to
preserve them better than it could be done in a church.
If you love music, then you're in the music and Bel Canto
homeland. Not only you can admire the Baroque Opera House, and, in
season, enjoy an opera or a concert given in the same hall where
premières of Mozart or Rossini's operas were performed (not to
speak of Verdi or Wagner, of course), but you can plunge yourself in
the Bologna musical history.
You can see the very place where Mozart performed when he came to
graduate at the highest music school of the time: the Bologna Music
Academy, and look at the manuscripts of his exams, with the fatherly
corrections of the Academy Dean of the time.
Not only you can see Rossini's residence in town, or what's left of his
countryside villa where he lived with his wife Isabella Colbran (a
celebrated soprano of the time), you may have the chance to hear the
piano pieces by Rossini, performed on the same piano he used to compose
Or in one of the many Opera fan clubs in the surroundings, you may hear
the voices which will become the stars of tomorrow, under the teaching
of the opera stars of the recent past.
And, to add pleasure to pleasure, you may enjoy a Rossini's meal,
accompanied by Rossini's music. Not everyone knows that if Rossini
hadn't been the musical genius he was, he would have become world
famous nonetheless as a master of cuisine arts. His recipes are a must
for any high level restaurant.
Bologna is also: