Surrounded by hills, Bologna's city center is still much as it was during the Renaissance with handsome red-colored buildings, medieval palaces, porticoed streets with covered walkways and marbled floors, and the enchanting leaning towers of Asinelli and Garisenda.
Bologna provides the best of several worlds. It has beautiful piazzas, churches, and museums; it's an important commercial center; a thriving university town filled with cafes, bars, and nightlife; and a gastronomic heaven, famous for its pasta, sausage, cheese, and wine.
Bologna is also the capital of the province of the same name and of the Emilia-Romagna region. Situated in the Pedemontana Apennine zone, where the valley of the Po' opens out to the Emilia plain, Bologna is a crossroad between major directions of national traffic.
The University of Bologna, the oldest of Europe, was founded in 1088 as a law school by a group of scholars trying to settle the disputes between the Holy Roman Empire and the Papacy. Today, it is an international center for academic conferences and publishing. The students give the city its reputation for radicalism. Sometimes Bologna is called "Red" Bologna, not for its ragu', but for the color of its politics. Bologna was the first city in Italy to elect a Communist town council.
Today, Bologna is often seen as one of Europe's cultural capital; its prestigious University is worldwide famous. An ancient city with a widely respected artistic heritage (the Caracca and Reni Schools originated here), Bologna has promoted various cultural initiatives on an international scale. It is a city that is known for its strong identity, its inter-cultural exchange programs, its towers, its gateways, its magnificent palaces, and its joie de vivre.
What more can you say about a city that has cathedrals, palaces, a world famous University, and the best tortellini?