Bologna, Italy, the capital of Emilia-Romagna region. The city lies in the Po River valley at the foot of the Apennines. Bologna is a commercial and industrial city on the main transportation routes between Rome and northern Italy and is also an educational center. Industries produce machinery, motorcycles, tools, plastics, textiles, and foods, notably sausage.
The heart of Bologna has a medieval appearance, with Gothic style buildings lining spacious squares and narrow, arcaded streets. Among the most notable structures are two 13th-century palaces and the unfinished Basilica of San Petronio (1390–1659). Cultural attractions include the Picture Gallery, devoted mainly to Bolognese painters, and an archeological museum. Bologna is especially famous for its university, which is the oldest in Europe, founded in 1088 and chartered in 1158.
Bologna dates back some 2,500 years. It was originally settled by the Etruscans and became a Roman colony about 190 B.C. After 500 A.D., the city was ruled first by barbarian tribes and then by the pope. Bologna's greatest period followed the founding of the university, when the city became an outstanding center of learning and culture. It was independent between 1183 and 1506, then reverted to papal control and remained within the Papal States until the unification of Italy in 1860. The Germans occupied Bologna during World War II. After the war it became the first major Italian city to elect a Communist government.
Population: 385, 136.