city and commune in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Bologna (Emilian: Bulåggna; Latin: Bononia) is the capital and largest city of the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy. It is the seventh most populous city in Italy, with about 400,000 inhabitants and 150 different nationalities. Its metropolitan area is home to more than 1,000,000 people. It is known as the Fat City for its rich cuisine, and the Red City for its red tiled rooftops and, more recently, its leftist politics. It is also called the Learned City because it is home to the University of Bologna, the oldest university in the world.

View from the top of the Basilica di San Petronio
Towers of Bologna

Quotes edit

  • As seems the Carisenda, to behold
      Beneath the leaning side, when goes a cloud
      Above it so that opposite it hangs;
    Such did Antaeus seem to me, who stood
      Watching to see him stoop, and then it was
      I could have wished to go some other way.
  • Towards evening I got out of this ancient, venerable, and learned city, and extricated myself from its crowds, who, protected from the sun and weather by the arched bowers which are to be seen in almost every street, walk about, gape about, or buy, and sell, and transact whatever business they may have.
  • Bologna non è conosciuta quanto essa merita: le sue bellezze severe, l'aspetto tetro delle vie e delle case, le fughe di portici interminati, i giochi di ombre e di luci delle sue vie tortuose e delle sue piazze luminose, gli atrii solenni e i fastosi scaloni, le minuzie decorative delle sue terrecotte, la pacatezza degli ornati seicenteschi non consentono al viaggiatore frettoloso immediati godimenti e non strappano gridi di ammirazione. La città, che ebbe prima fra tutte una civiltà antichissima, che tanta luce irradiò a mezzo dello Studio alleato al fiorire del Comune altamente democratico e umanitario, che produsse pittori a sostenere con magnifico pennello l'arte barocca, va amata pazientemente, va scoperta tratto a tratto, angolo per angolo, atto per atto, intenzione per intenzione.
  • Bologna is not as well known as it deserves: its severe beauties, the gloomy appearance of its streets and houses, its endless arcades, the play of shadows and lights of its winding streets and its bright squares, its solemn atriums and sumptuous staircases, the decorative details of its terracottas, the calmness of the seventeenth-century decorations do not allow the hasty traveler immediate enjoyment and do not elicit cries of admiration. The city, which first of all had an ancient civilisation, which radiated so much light through the Studio allied to the flourishing of the highly democratic and humanitarian Municipality, which produced painters to support Baroque art with a magnificent brush, must be loved patiently, it must be discovered step by step, corner by corner, act by act, intention by intention.

Poems of Places edit

Henry W. Longfellow, ed., Poems of Places, Italy, Vol. 1 (Boston: James R. Osgood & Co., 1877), pp. 202–203
  • ’Twas night; the noise and bustle of the day
    Were o’er. The mountebank no longer wrought
    Miraculous cures,—he and his stage were gone;
    And he who, when the crisis of his tale
    Came, and all stood breathless with hope and fear,
    Sent round his cap; and he who thrummed his wire
    And sang, with pleading look and plaintive strain
    Melting the passenger. Thy thousand cries,
    So well portrayed, and by a son of thine,
    Whose voice had swelled the hubbub in his youth,
    Were hushed, Bologna,—silence in the streets,
    The squares, when, hark, the clattering of fleet hoofs;
    And soon a courier, posting as from far,
    Housing and holster, boot and belted coat
    And doublet, stained with many a various soil,
    Stopt and alighted. ’Twas where hangs aloft
    That ancient sign, the pilgrim, welcoming
    All who arrive there, all perhaps save those
    Clad like himself, with staff and scallop-shell,
    Those on a pilgrimage. And now approached
    Wheels, through the lofty porticos resounding,
    Arch beyond arch, a shelter or a shade
    As the sky changes. To the gate they came;
    And, ere the man had half his story done,
    Mine host received the Master,—one long used
    To sojourn among strangers, everywhere
    (Go where he would, along the wildest track)
    Flinging a charm that shall not soon be lost,
    And leaving footsteps to be traced by those
    Who love the haunts of genius; one who saw,
    Observed, nor shunned the busy scenes of life,
    But mingled not, and mid the din, the stir,
    Lived as a separate spirit.
    Much had passed
    Since last we parted; and those five short years,—
    Much had they told! His clustering locks were turned
    Grey; nor did aught recall the youth that swam
    From Sestos to Abydos. Yet his voice,
    Still it was sweet; still from his eye the thought
    Flashed lightning-like, nor lingered on the way,
    Waiting for words. Far, far into the night
    We sat, conversing,—no unwelcome hour
    The hour we met; and, when Aurora rose,
    Rising, we climbed the rugged Apennine.

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