Bologna is world famous for food, study, and politics, as well as being the home of international designer names like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, and Ducati. Although the city does not have a single building that can be considered a work of art, the city as a whole is considered an artistic masterpiece. Piazza Maggiore is the heart of Bologna, and the Basilica di San Petronio stands in its center. This church was initially intended to be larger than St. Peter’s in Rome but money was diverted towards a new university and plans were modified. The gateway to Piazza Maggiore is Piazza del Nettuno, which is famous for Giambologna’s Neptune Fountain, depicting the sea god Neptune surrounded by mermaids. Close by is the former stock exchange in Sala Borsa which has been converted into a huge public library where you can view Roman remains under a glass floor. Bologna’s old university, the Archiginnasio, predates all of Europe’s universities and visitors can wander the beautiful courtyard, library, and even the anatomy amphitheater, where medical dissections used to take place. Via dell’Indipendenza is lined with shops and bars and is the main shopping street.
The Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna is Bologna’s answer to New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, and is housed in a brand new cultural complex featuring a theater, music and dance house, and arthouse cinema.
The city is known for its culinary tradition, and its restaurants are said to be the best in Italy. The bar and nightclub culture thrives thanks to the large student population. One of the most famous features of Bologna is its network of porticoes, or covered walkways, which line nearly 40 kilometers of the city. During the day they are packed with pedestrians, and at night they are lit up exquisitely.