10 facts about Bologna that you still didn’t know

1. The oldest university in the world! 

Bologna. The capital of Emilia-Romana, in the north of Italy. Bologna is very well known around the world for its university. I thought that the oldest universities in the world were the Cambridge Univerisity or the Oxford University (the most prestigious ones nowadays). When you take a look of their faculties, everything looks very old and vintage. However, they are not the oldest university in the world! I had no idea about it, but in Bologna, there is the oldest university in the world. That’s why Bologna is also known as “la dotta” – the intellectual one.

The university was founded in 1088. That’s a lot of time ago! Before the University of Oxford and the University of Salamanca (the second and third oldest universities). Actually, most of the 20 oldest universities in the world are in Italy.

Universitá di Bologna

ATTENTION: Don’t think now that if a university is old and has very beautiful old buildings, it is a great university. No. Some universities stay back in time in manners, technology and administration. And I can tell you: the university of Bologna has a great reputation, the name and the history on its side, but I am pretty sure it could be much better organised.

2. “La dotta”

Apart from the university, Bologna is well known for its fine cuisine (that’s why it’s known as “la grassa” – the fat one): famous are tortellini or mortadella.


Bologna it is also famous for its sauce! Salsa a la Bolognesa – a meat-based pasta sauce. I would say it is the worldwide most famous sauce to use with pasta. Italians, though, call it “Salsa al Ragú”.

3. One of the biggest churches in the world

That’s the patron of the city. The biggest church of the town has his name. Actually, it is one of the 20 biggest churches in the world!

San Petronio Bologna.jpg

It is not very known. In fact, before coming to Bologna I had never heard about it, but once I came in this big church, I thought it was not big… it was huge! Oh, my! Very very big! From outside, the Church of San Petronio looks like a normal church… but damn! It is enormous! In fact, they needed 89 years to construct it (1390-1479).

4. Longest porticos in the world

When I first went to Bologna I was really impressed seeing so many porticos. They are all along main streets of the centre. They give Bologna a great architectural essence, as well as they protect you from the rain.

ATTENTION: If you don’t like porticoes, please, don’t come to Bologna.

Bologna Porticos.jpg

ATTENTION: Come to live in Bologna, if you love porticos.

In total, there are 38km of porticoes in the centre of the city. A little bit more in the city centre’s surroundings.

5. Basketball is more famous than football

Strange, right? How can an Italian city like more basketball than football? Here there is why.

First of all, the football team in Bologna is not very good. Nowadays, if I take a look of the classification of the Italian Serie A, Bologna football club is on the 15th place (and there are 20 football clubs). Nevertheless, they have won 6 national championships (the latest in 1964).

Bologna Basketball

If you are into basketball, I am pretty sure you have heard about Fortitudo Bologna or Virtus Bologna.These teams have won some Euroleague and national basketball championships (some years ago). Well, for this reason, Bologna is a great city to be if you like basketball. And I love basketball, so I am at the right place.

6.  Wealthiest city in Italy

In Italy, Bologna and Milan are the wealthiest cities in Italy. I can justify it.

In the centre of the city, I see only men with suits and women with dresses all very elegant and radiant. This means they have money. Damn!

Bologna Wealthiest City

In the centre, there are some suit-shops, where you need to pay about 800€ for a suit, or even more! Coming from Spain, everything is more expensive in Italy. Even Mc Donald is more expensive! BUT: The only thing that is cheaper here is PASTA (I won’t complain about this).

7. 5th largest city of Europe

In the 13th century, it was the 5th largest city in Europe. After Cordova, Paris, Venice and Florence, thanks to its 60,000 habitants. Moreover, it was the largest textile industrial area in Italy.

8. Lamborghini, Maserati, Ducati

All these companies are original from Bologna.

High-class cars and high-class motorbikes are normally around the city. After living in Germany, next to Stuttgart, and having seen the car industry of Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, I have to say that Maserati’s cars are amazing.

Lamborghini Bologna

They are not really known in the world as much as Lamborghini, but they look amazing.


On Saturdays and Sundays, the city centre is full of people. Do you know why? Because the main streets connecting the peripheric and the centre of the city are closed to cars, motorbikes and buses, and you can actually walk in the main streets of the city.

Bologna t-days

That’s very nice. Artists, musicians, performers and all type of show men and women perform in these beautiful streets. This gives the city a great atmosphere, an atmosphere of a very live city.

10. Le mure

Bologna was surrounded by walls all over, to be protected from the enemies.

Nowadays there are the remainings of these walls over the city. There is a main street that goes around the city like the walls did in the past. This makes it so easy if you need to go from one point of the city to the other. In this main street, that represents the ancient walls, there is a bike road. Take a look on Google Maps!

Mure Bologna
Old map of the city with the Wall surrounding the centre


*Bologna is not touristic

This is one of the things I like the most from Bologna. There is always people in the centre. But it is not like Florence or Rome, where there are always queues, tourists everywhere and massification of people.

Come to Bologna and discover every single fact I told you!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Kepens says:

    As we agree on that: there is too much to do for the Bologna University. Being the oldest uni in the world is not a sign to be a good university.


  2. julieta says:

    Hi! …you make me remember the time I spent in Bologna.
    I like your description and I would add something about biking, amazing medieval architecture, the central Library and spritz otherwise apperitivo seems to be original from Pavia. I studied at Bologna University and I had a very good experience with professors but not in terms of organization, I agree with you that is much to do…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s