When Americans are making their list of cities to visit when they are planning their vacations to Italy they talk about Venice, Rome, and Florence, but not often Bologna. The area around Bologna is the historical setting and also the filming location for “L’uomo Che Verrà. Watching the movie I was confused a little, not knowing anything about Italy in World War II. The beautiful countryside, the farms, and the snow. The dialect was thick and hard for me to understand. – it didn’t seem much like southern Italian and yet most of the movies about poor Italian farmers are made in the south
I haven’t spent enough time in Bologna. I had a day trip there to meet a friend for lunch and got to see the beautiful portici – arched porches leading to the entrance of buildings and extended as a colonnade, with a roof structure over a walkway supported by columns. Bologna has more portici than any other city and the longest portico in the world.
They say (and when I say “they” I mean even Italians) that Bologna has the best food in the world and it’s home of the famous Bolognese sauce, a meat based pasta sauce called ragù alla bolognese in Italy but in the city itself just plain ragù. The cuisine depends heavily on meats and cheeses, as in all of Emilia-Romagna, and the production of cured pork meats such as prosciutto, mortadella and salami is an important part of the local food industry.
It’s one of the richest cities in Italy, and the quality of life is always ranked very high there. It’s a lively college town; the University of Bologna is the oldest in the world.
Bologna was infamous in the 70s as home to the “Red Brigades”, the Marxist-Leninist terrorist Group formed by students. And the city was also targeted by a right-wing group which planted a bomb at the city’s railway station in 1980 which killed 85 people. If you want to know more about the Red Brigades, watch Marco Bellocchio’s Buongiorno Notte (Good Morning Night).
In the World War II Marzabotto massacre, many who died there were from Bologna and had come out to the country to escape the bombings in the city.