Bologna

Bologna rooftops

Studying Italian in Bologna - food for thought and food for all

Bologna is the oldest university in the world - so it’s used to students and makes your life easy. In fact, one in four people living in Bologna is a student so there’s no shortage of things to do and people to meet. The university campus is in the city centre and the whole city is designed for students to get around. Bicycles are common - most students cycle or travel by bus for longer journeys so you get to see all the beautiful architecture of the city.

Bologna is passionate about learning and food!

One of the nicest reasons to learn Italian in Bologna is the food. Local people say ‘Bologna - la dotta, la grassa, e la rossa’ which roughly translates as “Bologna, home of the educated (dotta) the red landscape (the red rooftops of the city) and the rich food (la grassa)”. It’s true that in Bologna you will find that people are as fascinated by ideas as by their dinners, and give a lot of thought to both. Just a few of the foods for which Bologna is famous are mortadella (sliced sausage that is often called Bologna in other parts of the world), tortellini (hand-rolled pasta filled with meat or cheese) and tagliatelle (long flat pasta often served with a delicious meat sauce called ragu).

Tips for student life in Bologna

  • Finding your way around Bologna is easy, because the city centre is approximately circular. It was originally surrounded by a wall, which has been removed, but the twelve portas (gates) remain. This makes it very simple to navigate - everything is either right or left of the nearest porta and you never have to travel far to find one of these landmarks.
  • Bologna is the stronghold of the Italian socialist movement and there are many Centri Sociale, which hold social events on the weekends and community activities such as inexpensive yoga and dance classes during the week. 
  • Visit the Quadrilatero - this medieval market sells everything from Parmesan cheese to hand-made pasta, local wines like Lambrusco to locally ground coffee. 
  • Watch the sun set at the Piazza Maggiore. This square, with its many outdoor cafes, is a romantic place to see the sun go down. The statue of Neptune in the Palazzo Communal makes a very rude shadow on the nearby wall, so watch out for that! 
  • Walk the longest portico in the world. San Luca is 3.8 km in length, with 666 stone arcades to walk through. At the top you can explore the Basilica of San Luca, a beautiful building in serene grounds. 
  • If all that walking is too much for you, visit the Archiginniasio, the first university building ever to be built. Constructed in 1562, it has a wonderful library with more than 500,000 texts and over 1000 unbound manuscripts. The Teatro Anatomico is the world’s earliest forensic laboratory, where corpses were dissected in the very first studies of the human body.

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