You may walk the streets of Bologna for years and never notice some of its more interesting strange facts. Keep in mind the list of these interesting details while you find yourself around town and the city will reveal all of its secrets.
No other city in the world has as many arcades as Bologna, in fact they are more than 38 km long counting only those in the center of town. They are culturally important for the city and are a candidate for World Heritage Site for UNESCO. They also hold a very practical advantage: you never need an umbrella in Bologna, because walking under them will assure that you will never get wet.
The sculptor Gianbologna, who had been commissioned the famous statue of the Neptune of Piazza Maggiore, decided to play a little trick on his work. Since the cardinal who ordered the statue asked him to sculpt small genitals, he obeyed, but if you stand on the white rectangle drawn on the ground next to the statue, it will seem as if it had an erect penis!
Beautiful buildings as Palazzo Re Enzo surround Piazza Maggiore. You can actually walk under the buildings across a vault, and if you stand facing the wall you can talk to your friends standing all the way across the other side of the vault thanks to the echo created.
The osteria is a typical Italian pub where you will eat the best food you can find. Bologna has some very strange osterias: Osteria del Sole is an example, where clients can bring their own meals and only order drinks. The place is always full and people love to socialize. Another well known one is Osteria Broccaindosso, famous for its dessert tastings.
The Three Arrows
If you walk down Strada Maggiore and reach the entrance of Corte Isolani, a passage that connects Strada Maggiore to Piazza Santo Stefano, you can look up and see three medieval arrows still hanging from the portico. A legend tells that they were shot upwards because a young naked girl who was looking down from a window of the building had distracted three passing bandits.
Bologna’s center during the weekends becomes a pedestrian center, in fact the three major streets are closed to traffic from Friday at midnight to the same time on Sunday. Students always enjoy the T-days because they can walk freely down the streets ignoring traffic, as students of Bologna never use cars to move around town.
Many don’t know that Bologna is full of small canals. They were created to allow merchants to easily transport their goods across the city. Those canals are still there, and you can see them from a small window in Piella street, very famous because it reminds many tourists of Venice!
The Asinelli Tower
Bologna is famous for two towers that stand next to each other to this very day: the tower of Asinelli and the tower of Garisenda, names of the families who built them. However, you may not know the legend that explains the story of the taller one: many say that the son of a poor man fell in love with the daughter of the square’s governor. Her father agreed to their wedding on the condition that he built the tallest tower of Bologna.
The Broken Vase
Basilica di Santo Stefano
This church, also known as Basilica of the seven churches, is a very interesting attraction, because it is one of the only churches made in seven different architectonic styles! After all, Italian architecture is known to be one of the most interesting ones in the world.