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Basilica di San Domenico Neptune's Fountain
Basilica di San Petronio Palazzo Communale
Museo Civico Archeologico Towers of the Asinelli and Garisenda
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Bologna is a beautiful city. It is very friendly to pedestrians and is conducive to sightseeing. Even rain can’t stop people from going around. The people of Bologna have very thoughtfully created porticos that create a dry walkway in front of every building.

The heart of the city is created by the two main squares: the Piazza Maggiore and the Piazza del Nettuno. If you only have one day to go around Bologna, this is the area to be in. The best part is everything here is in easy walking distance, with porticos to shade you from the harsh sun and the rain, should any fall. It is also fun just to find a seat here and people watch. Almost everyone in Bologna goes here at some point during the day.

The two towers (Le Due Torre) are easily visible against the Bologna skyline, as they lean toward each other. Created by the wealthy families of the city as signs of prestige as well as for defence, there used to be hundreds of towers in the city. Most have fallen or been demolished. There are only a few left. The Torre degli Asinelli and Torre degli Garisenda are the best known of the few that remain. Only the Asinelli tower (the taller of the two structures) is open to the public and is worth the long climb.

Standing in the Piazza del Nettuno, you can’t miss the “Giant” as they call the statue that depicts the God of the sea, at the top of the Fontana di Nettuno (Neptune Fountain). It is a magnificent, well-muscled statue of Neptune with cherubs, dolphins and mermaids adding a playful feel to the scene. It is a masterpiece that was quite controversial in its time.

The Basilica di San Petronio is the fifth largest church in the world. It is dedicated to the city’s patron saint and is a treasure trove of art. Its unfinished façade makes it unique, as does the fact that it contains within its walls the longest meridian line (sundial) created at 66.8m. There are 22 chapels within its walls, each containing artwork from many great Italian masters.

For those who wish to see more of history from the Egyptian, Roman, Greek and Etruscan period, the Archeological Museum (Museo Civico Archeologico) is the place to go. The museum contains the collection of Filippo Pelagio Palagi as well as some mummies and sarcophagi. All the archeological findings from digs in and around Bologna can be found here.

The Palazzo Comunale, aside from being the seat of government in the city, also houses two museums. The Municipal Arts Collection in the Sala Urbana contains the works of the great artists from Bologna. The Museum of Giorgio Morandi (Museo di Giorgio Morandi) on the other hand, contains the paintings of this great painter. They have even recreated his atelier or studio for people to see. The Palazzo Communale can be viewed by request only so it is best to inquire before visiting.

If you wish to go outside of the squares, visitors may want to drop by the Basilica di San Domenico. Dedicated to St Dominic, patron saint of astronomers, scientists and the falsely accused, he is also the founder of the Dominican Order of Preaching Friars. The church where his tomb lies is a magnificent collaboration of skills, including the work of a young Michaelangelo, visible in the angel candleholder on the right side of the saint’s tomb.

There is so much to see in Bologna. Art is everywhere and life, vibrant life fills the city. It is worth exploring.


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