Bologna, Province of Bologna, Emilia-Romagna

The capital city of Emilia-Romagna, Bologna lies in the fertile Po River Valley between the Po River and the Apennines.

Over the centuries, Bologna has acquired many nicknames. "Bologna the learned" ("la dotta") with reference to its famous university, "the fat" ("Bologna la grassa") because of its cuisine, "the red" (Bologna rossa) for its political leanings and the abundance of red brick and marble buildings. In soccer-dominated Italy Bologna, has two great basketball clubs, Fortitudo and Virtus. As regards economy and commerce, in latest decades the area of Bologna Fiera has acquired international prominence.


  • Altitude: 54 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 370,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 40100, but see also all street codes alphabetically
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 051
  • Patron Saint: St. Petronio, celebrated on 4 October

Administrative Division

The comune includes the following Frazioni and Localities: Frabazza, Monte Donato, Paderno, Rigosa, and the city is subdivided into 9 quarters: Borgo Panigale, San Donato, San Vitale, Savena, Navile, Porto, Saragozza, Santo Stefano, Reno.


Bologna was founded by the Etruscans with the name Felsina. Next the city was the Roman colony known as Bononia, which in medieval times became a centre of scholasticim and then a major city of the Renaissance papal states. Thanks to an efficient system of canals, Bologna was one of the trading centres in northern Italy.

Until the late nineteenth century Bologna remained one of the best preserved Medieval cities in Europe, though to this day it remains unique in its historic value. In spite of the considerable bombing damage in 1944, Bologna's historic centre, one of the largest in Europe, still preserves a wealth of Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque monuments.

The University of Bologna, founded in 1088, is widely regarded as the oldest existing university in Europe, and was an important center of European cultural life during the Middle Ages, attracting scholars from throughout Christendom. A unique heritage of medieval art is still preserved in the illuminated manuscripts and jurists' tombs from the 13th to the 15th century.

To this day, Bologna is still very much a university town, with 1 fifth of the population, about 100,000, made of students, including a great number of Erasmus, Socrates, and Overseas students. Several American Universities, such as Johns Hopkins and University of San Francisco, also sponsor exchange programs in the city.

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Surnames in the Provinces of Emilia-Romagna