I arrived in Bologna with a reservation I'd made at a youth hostel on the outskirts of the city. By the way, I really liked the service there. In the morning, I went to town to settle an outstanding debt of 6 euros I had with the Italian highways authority! The town is fortified, and I noticed that the entrance has a device to control vehicles who want to enter. I couldn't pay my fine as the offices were closed for a local holiday. The city had a great buzz about it: lots of people, a student atmosphere, buses everywhere, scooters and motorbikes ... a well-preserved, medieval old town with the wide Piazza Maggiore and two famous towers. I really liked the city, although I was only there for a short time.
In the heart of Bologna, in the Piazza Maggiore, is one of the most iconic symbols of the city - Neptune's Fountain. The Bolognese affectionately refer to him as "il Gigante" because of his size. The fountain was completed in 1565. Legend has it that before a big exam any student who wants to have luck on his side must spin twice clockwise around the fountain, just like John of Bologna did around the Neptune's projecting pedestal, thus initiating his fortune and his atonement for the "defeat Florentine".
This is one of the oldest architectural gems in the city. The Abbazia di Santo Stefano is a set of four preserved medieval churches, the remains of a total of seven. All are located under one roof. The Crucifix Church (XI century), San Sepolcro, Santi Vitale e Agricola (V century) and Santa Trinita are the names of the four churches that house important works of art from different centuries. On the inside there is a small shop with handmade products made by the monks of the order.
Seracchioli House is one of the oldest buildings in the city of Bologna, dating from the thirteenth century. It has been restored over time, but it retains the original door and arched windows. The ground floor of the facade is modern brick, but inspired by the style of medieval Bologna, especially the windows.
La Porta Galliera can be found in the north of the historic center of Bologna at the end of Independence Street. It is close to the railway station. First built in 1200, it protected the Papal fortress until the people of Bologna rebelled against church authorities and destroyed it. The door was also demolished and rebuilt several times. It was rebuilt with the characteristics seen today between 1660 and 1663 and restored in 2007.
It was an incredible and fascinating discovery to arrive at night, in the bitter cold to the Neptune square. Palaces everywhere and the impressive Church of San Petronio, lit by the icy mist, seating the nearby square, took my breath away. In the main square of Bologna is one of the most important Gothic churches in the world, it is the Basilica of San Petronio, whose central portal is adorned with Renaissance sculptures. Antonio di Vincezo began its construction in 1390. Bologna has a well-preserved old town, one of the largest in Italy, due to the successful restoration and conservation policy which began in the sixties, which I highly recommend visiting.