Over the course of this trimester abroad in Italy, we’ve been taking numerous day trips during the week to learn more about the culture and hospitality business in the region. These trips have brought us to wonderful places like the Amalfi Coast, the island of Ischia, and of course the city of Naples. However, we also had a grand five-day excursion planned for the group a bit later in the term. This brought us to the picturesque region of Emilia-Romagna, in the north of Italy. On our second full day into the excursion, we arrived in the city of Bologna.
As the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region and the seventh-largest city in Italy, it really is quite important. Within minutes of arriving into the city center, we were immediately off on a walking tour. Our guide was a native of the city, and was incredibly well-versed in the history and culture of the area. This day was in fact a holiday, and since no one typically works on this one, we were very lucky to have this guide. The city was incredibly busy though, so we used headphones and a microphone throughout this guided tour.
We started our tour at the San Petronio Basilica and City Hall, and from there, packed in just about every sight that the city had to offer. We visited the Due Torre, which are two towers that lean more than even the tower of Pisa! The guide explained to us that it was not anything to do with the foundation of the buildings, but rather the materials used to build them that made them lean like so. We also were able to see the main square (Piazza Maggiore) and the fountain of Neptune, along with a number of other churches before the tour was through.
After this, we had a quick lunch at a restaurant in the city center, and then were right back off to see the oldest university in the world- the University of Bologna. This university was originally founded in the year 1088, and even was able to play host to the famous Leonardo da Vinci. In fact, it was right here in Bologna where he was able to do some of the first human autopsies, and crate the diagram of the Vetruvian Man. Also because of the university, there is an enormous population of college age students in the area.