Chiesa di San Donato
This small church in Via Zamboni 10, dedicated to San Donato, doesn't have any particular architectonical value but it is invaluable for the poor of Bologna. The Sunday Mass for the most poor and needy is celebrated in this church regularly. At the end of the celebration many of those who came stop for a breakfast and receive a small sum of money. The mass serve and help share the friars who succeeded Father Marella, a legendary Bolognese benefactor.
Legend has it considered the birth of the church of San Donato to the period of Lombard occupation, but far more likely it was founded in the 13th century. The church was rebuilt in 1454, when after being pulled down by Marchione Manzoli because obstructed the vision of his nearby family palace. The church was reconstructed and moved away of its original place in respect of the roadway. Finally it was amended in 1751 when Francesco Orlandi painted the entire front facade of the church.
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Chiesa dei Padri Filippini
The oratory of San Filippo Neri, in via Manzoni 5, was consecrated in 1733 by Cardinal Prospero Lambertini, archbishop of Bologna and future Pope Benedetto XIV. It was built thanks to the generous contributions of Count Niccolo Aldrovandi, next to the church of Santa Maria di Galliera, where Filippini order already resided.
The church was project of Alfonso Torreggiani, who gace it the shape of an splendid example of Baroque Bolognese. Then the interior was decorated by sculptures of Angelo Pio, from the altarpiece by Francesco Monti, and frescoes by Ludovico Carracci.
Oratory was suppressed in 1798 during Napoleon rule but returned in function from 1816 until 1866, when it was again suppressed by the newly unified government. Occupied by the military, it was reopened in 1907. Almost completely destroyed by bombing in 1944, after decades in a state of complete abandonment , was sold to private owners, to be purchased in 1997 by the city bank. The restoration of the property has been taken up and completed only in recent years, more than fifty years since bombing.
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The Sanctuary of Corpus Domini of Santa Caterina is guarded by the Clarisse nuns. The Sanctuary was founded in 1456 where Caterina de' Vigri, as Clarisse nun, practiced her spirit of prayer and penance. The abbess was canonized in 1712. Each year, from March 8 to 16, the city of Bologna pays solemn honors of Santa Caterina di Bologna, the patron saint of the monastery.
The church and the sanctuary of Corpus Domini was built between 1477 and 1480 by Nicolo Marchionne di Firenze and Francesco Fucci di Dozza and renovated by Giani Giacomo Monti in 1687. The facade of the church is from the 15th century and retains the bricked ornate portal of Sperandi di Mantova. The interior is Baroque: there is stil part of the decoration of Franceschini (17th c.), including his masterpiece "Il transito di San Giuseppe", and some valuable paintings by Carracci and Mazza. The Holy Chapel was built in 1680, to host the incorrupt body in a sitting position, of Santa Caterina di Bologna (1413-1463).
Corpus Domini is placed in the city centre, in via Tagliapietre 19, which is paralel to via D'Azeglio, and is open every day from 9 to 12 and from 15 to 19 hours.
Collegio di Spagna
Collegio di Spagna (Spanish College) or stronghold, was built in 1364 at the wish of cardinal Albornoz. It is beautifully ornate palace which used to be the residence of a noble Spanish students during their styding at Bologna. The entire college is surrounded by a crenellated wall abd it really look alike to a stronghold. Decorations on the front facade were made by Andrea da Formigine, as well as the very attractive doorway from 1.525.
Inside the walls there is a magnificent cloister with double columns onto which faces the Gothic church of St. Clement. In the interior of a church is polyptych by Marco Zoppo from the 15th century, and in the sacresty you can see frescoes by Lippo di Dalmasio and G.M Crespi. Some further frescoes can be seen under the loggia, attributed to Annibale Carracci.
I wanted to see the two beautiful courtyards and the chapel of San Clemente, situated inside the College, but unfortunatelly the whole palace was closed by the time of my visit.
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Chiesa di Santa Maria della Visitazione
The sanctuary of Santa Maria della Visitazione, also called Del Ponte della Lame was a church dedicated to Mary's visit to Elisabeth. The church was originally facing the water of chanel Reno which has been cluttered between the 19th and20th century.
During the plague of 1527 the population invoked an image of the Madonna painted in a tabernacle on the bridge of Lame. At the end of the epidemic, the local society expanded the width of the bridge to build the oratory where the miraculous image was then transferred. The oratory was entrusted to the brotherhood of Dei Poveri di San Rocco. In 1942 the church and the oratory was declared to be a Marian Shrine.
The Oratory is located in via Lame 50
SS. Vitale e Agricola
The tradition says that in this place arose Roman amphitheatre of Bononia, where they carried out the executions and gladiatorial games. The religious building built in the early Christian era was one of the first underground churches. The Archbishop of Milano, Sant'Ambrogio, was the first to celebrate the memory of the two martyrs, Vitale and Agricola, who were martyred around 305, during rule of Emperor Diocletianus.
The church of San Vitale e Agricola was erected on a site of the ancient church of San Vitale "in arena", from which reminded only a crypt dating from the 11th century. Todayit is one of the most important and most hidden monuments of Bologna.
The church was reconstructed in the 15th century by the Benedictine monks and then again completely renewed extensively in the 18th century, as it is its today appearence. Besides exceptional ancient crypt, the interior contains many valuable artworks.
Basilica di San Paolo Maggiore
Basilica di San Paolo Maggiore was erased in 1606-1611, according to the will of the Regular Clergies of San Paolo Barnabites. The church was built on the design of the brother of order, who was architect, Ambrogio Mazzanta. In 1636 the construction was embellished with a graceful facade, made by Ercole Fichi.
During my last visit, when this picture was taken, the basilica was closed for the public visitors due to some restoration works, but I have seen its magnificent interiors in one of my previous visits. Belive me, San Paolo Maggiore has the most beautiful interiors of all churches in Bologna. As soon as one enters inside become hypnotized by the stunning ceilling of the church. This splendid pictorial decoration was made by Antonio and Giuseppe Rolli. Don't miss their frescoes at Casa Isolani! The altar shines of beauty, same as a ceilling, adorned by precious paintings by Giuseppe Crespi, called Lo Spagnolo, and Lodovico Carraci, probably the most prominent of all painters from the famous Bolognese school.
The front facade features four statues, scupled by various artists, while the spacious interior is a single nave.
The basilica San Paolo Maggiore is located in via Carbonesi18.
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Chiesa di San Proloco Martire
San Proloco was the first christian martyr of Bologna and this church is preserving his tomb. The church was built in the early 11th century on a site of previous sacral object from the 4th century. In between the 14th and the 15th century the church was reconstructed in a Gothic style which is visible only at its front facade. The interiors have been reconstructed in the 15th century by architects Antonio Morandi and Domenico Tibaldi.
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Urban Jungle (Giungla Metropolitana)
I came across this tour on the hotel website. I tried doing some research but can only find information in Italian. Based on the translated website and an email from the organization that runs the tour, it is a tour of the underground waterways in Bologna, which sounds quite fascinating. Images of the Phantom of the Opera came to mind.
The tour is offered (currently) from 2pm to 4pm on Sundays. I think the time changes from year to year. There are also other variations of this urban adventure. In a nutshell, there are 2 parts of the journey - first, you travel by raft through the underground waterway (you do go above ground for a bit) and second, you get a walking tour of part of the ancient waterways. Sounds pretty cool and you don't really have to do any rafting. The only catch (that we know of), the public tour (cost 10 euros) is only offered in Italian. (The staff at Vitruvio said that you can arrange to have a tour in a different language, but you'll need to pay for the translation and other costs involved.)
When we showed up at the meeting point (at the corner of Riva Reno and Via Polese), we saw what looked like a manhole with a ladder attached to the side. We quickly confirmed that we indeed have to climb down the manhole to board the raft. My friends and I looked at each other doubtfully but still paid our fee to participate in the activities. We were handed helmets (that had a pretty pungent smell...) and waited for the rest of the group to arrive. We weren't the only ones surprised by the turn of events. There was another group of English speaking tourists whose faces dropped when they saw the setup. A bunch of people showed up at the last minute so we ended up having to use 3 rafts.
Just past 3pm, 2 guides showed up in full gear and climbed down the manhole to grab the rafts. The adventure is about to begin! We decided to bravely let other people go first and got on the second raft. We climbed down the ladder into the raft and were told that we wouldn't get wet. The waterways (which felt more like sewers with dubiously clean water) were really dark and with really low ceilings (?). The guide didn't actually paddle but dragged our raft through the waters. We quickly learnt the Italian for "duck", since that's pretty much what we did the whole way. All of the sudden, the guide "parked" us next to some "catwalk" looking structure and made us get off the raft. We had to craw through this boardwalk onto a different raft to continue the journey. It was kind of disorienting, since you really don't know where and how far you've gone. Then suddenly, we emerged from darkness onto a canal. As we "raft" along, pedestrians on nearby bridges waved at us and we waved back. We passed through a couple of "bridges" (and thus had to duck again) before we entered yet another underground passageway that eventually leads to a flight of stairs. We got off the rafts, completely confused at this time but glad to not have to crouch anymore and went up a flight of stairs to, well, an alley somewhere.
Our guide greeted us and took our helmets. She then tell us we have to wait for the last raft to arrive and that we should get some gelato. Lucky for us, we had lots of hand sanitizer and wet naps, so we could enjoy the treat with clean hands (we did just came out of the sewer!) The gelato place was quite good, unfortunately, I can't remember where it was ... I think the street is Via Moline or something like that. That's the problem when you just traveled in a dark underground waterway!
Anyway, as we finished our gelato, we followed the guide towards the entrance of another set of ancient waterways. This part is a bit more high-tech - they pressed a button to raise the "manhole" to review a pretty wide flight of stairs. These tunnels were much wider and better lit (since Vitruvio runs a show in this part of the passageway on Friday nights), so we could see the construction better. As we walked along the passage, the guide told us some history about this part of the waterways (in Italian). A nice guy on the tour translated some of that in English for us, so the gist is that this part was actually built on top of some Roman aqueducts. This second part of the tour wasn't too long and soon we exited onto a square near Piazza Maggiore. Our guide had to help us identify our location on the map so we could get out of there!
Afterthoughts - Once I got over the fact that I was in fact visiting the sewers (albeit clean-ish sewers) and purposely not think about the possibility of rats (there weren't any), I was definitely quite excited (not sure about my friends) about this tour. After all, it is a side of Bologna that not a lot of people get to see. Just remember to bring lots of hand sanitizers and wet naps - your hands do get a bit dirty from climbing the ladder and your feet might get a bit wet if you sit in front of the raft!
International Soupe Festival (about 25th April)
For the fifth time in Bologna, in the Corticella quarter, via Stoppato near Villa Torchi, the Great International Festival of the soupe is organized. The clappers of the great competition of the better Zuppa of the world are opened; a prestigious international giury will choose the better Zuppa, to which it will come attributed the "Mestolo of gold".( gold soupe spoon) The winner will have the honor to participate to the International Festival of the Zuppa in Lille (France)!
The International Festival of the Zuppa is born more than 10years ago in Lille , and in the time it touched Barcelona, Madrid, Cracovia, Berlin and... Bologna. In the soupe we find that common and popular plate that it joins all the people!
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Bologna is a university town and there is no escaping that. In fact, this is part of the town's appeal. The university area around Via Zamboni is the best place to go to soak in the city's "academic" atmosphere. Foodies would rejoice on the abundance of value-for-money trattorias catering to student budgets while nightowls would find comfort in the pubs and clubs around this area. Vespa lovers will drool over the variety of vespas on display.
During the day, head to Piazza Verdi to witness Bologna's students cram for exams, and flirt (more like making out, actually) in between classes. Come nighttime, strut your stuff on the numerous bars and clubs around Via Mascarella as you party with them. Bologna definitely lives up to its reputation as Italy's party capital.
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The produce market
Just off Piazza Maggiore is the city's produce market - a warren of colorful shops selling pasta, meats, hams, fruits, vegetables, etc... It's such a delight to explore the maze of alleys lined with goodies in various shapes, colors and sizes. The pasta and the pastry will make your mouth water, and the huge slabs of Parma ham hanging on salumerie (delis) are sure to awaken our carnivorous instincts. There are plenty of cafes and enoteca around where you can enjoy a cup of cappucino while watching the beauiful people of Bologna shop.Related to:
- Historical Travel
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Chiesa di Ss Vitale e Agricola
This is the oldest church in the four-church (originally seven) complex of Basilica di Santo Stefano. Most of the structure, which makes use of recycled Roman masonry and carvings, were constructed in the 11th century. The church houses the tombs of Saints Vitalis and Agricola (hence, the name), Christian martyrs in the 4th century.Related to:
- Religious Travel
- Historical Travel
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Oratorio di Santa Cecilia
Close to San Giacomo Maggiore is one of Bologna's overlooked attractions. There are no soaring gothic structures here, nor flashy baroque motifs, only vivid, colorful frescoes depicting the life of St Cecilia and her husband Valeriano. The frescoes are a collaboration between Lorenzo Costa and Francesco Francia, the same duo behind the frescoes in the Capella Bentivoglio within San Giacomo Maggiore.
One of the scenes that stood out was the beheading of Valeriano (picture 2).Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
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Located in Sant'Agata Bolognese, around 33km northwest of Bologna, is the Lamborghini Factory & Museum. We headed there one afternoon to have a drool over the delicious cars.
We were told we had to make an appointment in advance to visit the museum, so I rang a couple of weeks prior to our visit to book a time. However, when we arrived we were able to just wander around and no one questioned us or asked for our name.
The museum is basically filled with Lamborghinis. It is set over two levels, and there is a fabulous range of old and new cars, along with several formula 1 cars. I really loved the old red 350GT with a square rear-end, and the bright green Countach.
From the 2nd level of the museum you could peek into the adjoining factory. It was really interesting actually being able to see the Lamborghini assembly line, albeit from a distance.
Museum Hours: Mon-Fri 9am - 12noon & 2pm - 5pm
Entrance is free of charge.
Located just outside the town of Sant'Agata Bolognese, 33km northwest of Bologna.
Via Modena 12, 40019 Sant'Agata BologneseRelated to:
- Road Trip
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