Five Things You Didn’t Know About Bologna

Bologna is a region in Italy that should be immediately recognizable. After all, it would be difficult to find an Italian restaurant that doesn’t serve some form of Bolognese in today’s day and age. That being said, the cuisine is only one piece of Bologna that has brought it the reputation it still exudes today. Beyond the food is the art. Bologna is home to some of the most lovely pieces of art that remain intact, while also serving as the birthplace to many world renowned artists. 

However, there is a lot more to Bologna than food and art in and of itself. The region is full of hidden gems, historical pieces, and secret corners that are sure to impress and inspire. There’s a lot to see and do in Bologna, so if you’re only there for a short time, it doesn’t make sense to waste energy dragging luggage with you. Save yourself the hassle and free up your hands by booking luggage storage in Bologna

Neptune’s Gems

Speaking of hidden gems, Neptune’s ‘royal jewels’ were a bit too large for the church to approve. At least in the eyes of Flemish sculptor, Giambologna. With the church having as much power as they did in the days of Giambologna, the sculptor and artist really had no choice when it came to falling in line. As such, the artist created his Neptune sculpture adhering to the censorship of the church. Not entirely, though. 

Rather than following his original design which included sizable male features, the sculptor brilliantly made use of an optical illusion effect to side-step the censorship being pressed upon him. The result is the ‘stone of shame’ as it’s been nicknamed. 

Standing on a black stone in the pavement of the square the viewing-angle is such that Neptune’s thumb looks more like an erect male member.

Did you know that Maserati started in Bologna? If that comes as a surprise, the source of the luxury car manufacturer’s logo may be even more captivating. Maserati’s trident logo is a derivative of the Neptune statue that stands in the Piazza Maggiore in Bologna. This trident represents a myriad of aspects and is a proud symbol of Bologna itself. 

Furthermore, the trident represents power, success, and this is emphasized by the chosen colors of red and blue. These colors are also the colors of Bologna, and reminds the world of the power and royalty represented in Bologna.

The Design of the Porticoes

The beloved porticoes of Bologna were actually designed as a way to increase living-accommodations, rather than offering protected walkways. In fact, the second level expansion of these buildings was due to an influx in the student population attending university. In order to create additional housing, buildings took it upon themselves to expand the first level but not the ground floor. 

As such, the walkways remained wide enough for pedestrians while also offering protection from wind, rain, and other elements. The porticoes that create these hidden walkways give Bologna a sense of wonder that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. 

Repurposed Air-Raid Shelters

Perhaps one of the most interesting takes on repurposed architecture is the WWII air-raid-shelter turned bicycle garage in Bologna. Velostazione Dynamo is a piece of a project designed to defend cycling while supporting mobility. This modern day bike-garage was once the hero of the city as it protected the citizens from a shower of bombs during the second world war. 

Now, this space once again helps define the culture of Bologna by promoting the use of bicycles over gas-powered alternatives. 

The Home of Free Radio

Perhaps one of the most compelling little secrets to come from the whispers of Bologna is that it’s actually the Italian home of free-radio. While the first ever private, but free, radio broadcast only lasted for two days and 14 hours, the impact it had was monumental. This was during the time that radio technology was fairly new, and before this, there was no such thing as a private radio broadcast. 

This led to positive rulings a few years later that enabled the broadcast of private radio all across Italy. 

Exploring Bologna

Bologna is a rich cultural hub as the capital of the entire Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy. It is imbued with rich history and renowned worldwide for its cuisine. Not only that, it serves as home to over 1,000,000 people. It truly is a rich city more than worthy of extensive exploration. Take a day examining the sculpture of Neptune that stands proudly in the Piazza Maggiore in Bologna, take a bike through the tunnels of the air-raid shelter from WWII, or simply enjoy a plate of some of the best Italian cuisine there is.

With a new secret of the city to be found at just about every turn, there’s always something that will bring you back to Bologna.