European City of Culture in 2000

By: Douglas Scott

Bologna is the capital of Emilia Romagna, a region of beautiful mountain scenery fertile plains. It is also known for the cultural and material affluence of its other historic cities. This historic city centre, is separated from the rest of the city by ancient walls, the Porte and a ring-road.

When Bologna was named European City of Culture in 2000, vast sums of money was spent on developments geared mainly at young people, including museum of Jewish culture new arts facilities, and an extensive new library in the former stock exchange building.

The city centre is full of pastry shops, pubs, ice cream parlours and small restaurants which serve up traditional dishes.

Bologna is a shopper's paradise for every thing from food and clothes to antiques and bric-a-brac. All of Italy's famous fashion designers and of course the local firms such as Furla and La Perla have typically stylish branches here, with prices still cheaper than outside Italy. La Piazzola is a historic flea market which has been in Bologna since 1219 and is famous throughout the Emilia Romagna region

There are a lot of discos night clubs and live music venues, with some remaining open until about 0400 hrs. The Irish pubs are among the most popular in the city, serving everything from the ubiquitous Guinness to camomile tea. Popular areas for night life are the student quarter, Old Town and in the streets around the main square. There are no casinos in Bologna

The Giant of the Fontana del Nettuno as the Bolognese people call him, dominates the square and stands proudly in front of both the Palazzo Comunale and the Palazzo Re Enzo. The fountain is the work of artist Jean de Bologne. The artist managed to create his Baroque master piece in Bologna in 1566. The muscular bronze Neptune is armed with a trident, while four mermaids straddling dolphins spurt water from their breasts

The Torre degli Asinelli standing in the centre of the Piazza di Porta Ravenna. It is the highest tower in Bologna, an emblematic symbol of the towered city. It stands 97 meters into the sky, undisputed queen of the Bolognese rooftop panorama. Legend says that this tower was built by the Asinelli family at the beginning of the twelfth century. It has a strong foundations and it is surrounded by a protective railing. The 498 steps take you to the very top, from where you can enjoy a really incredible view.

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