Bologna is the main city in Emilia-Romagna and lives up to its heritage better than most. The city can be traced back to the Etruscans who governed the Italian peninsula between approximately 800 BC to 200 BC. Later the city came under Roman rule and many remains from this period are still intact.
In the Middle Ages Bologna became an independent city-state and the time that followed saw the city’s noblemen fighting for control. These internal power struggles did not subside until the beginning of the 17th century when the city-state was incorporated into the papal state. However, Bologna retained a degree of independence by keeping its old judicial system and, most importantly in this context, its senate and by having an ambassador to Rome. Bologna’s many churches and palaces are filled with art and show the cultural importance of Bologna throughout the ages. It should also be mentioned that the world’s first and therefore oldest university is located in this cultural centre. In the year 2000, Bologna was Europe’s City of Culture. The city also has an ultramodern business area with one of Italy’s largest exhibition centres plus plenty of shopping facilities. Bologna as a resort: Bologna has a beautiful and evocative centre with plenty of shops, cafes, restaurants and is a wonderful place for taking strolls. The size of the city makes it an ideal place for a nice city break that's not too big and overwhelming, but big enough to keep you interested. If you like markets and are staying in town on a Friday or Saturday, you should stop by 'Piazza 8 Agosto' where almost everything (except food and furniture) can be purchased from early morning until 19.00 hours in the evening - all year round. At Piazza Maggiore, the city's main square, you can drink a cappuccino at a reasonable price, while enjoying a bit of people watching. Here you can sense the history and take in the beautiful surroundings such as the medieval Palazzo Comunale where the art museum Museo Morandi is housed on the second floor.