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Bologna History, Italy

Bologna is the place where history and modernization meet and blend without borders. Several historic places are still standing in the modern urbanized city of Bologna.

The history of Bologna can be traced back to the Bronze Age and Iron Age when Bologna’s first Villanovian Civilization was born and followed by the Etruscans. Centuries later, the Celts dominated the place and in 187 BC, Bologna (Bononia during that time) became one of the Roman colonies. Under the Roman Empire, Bologna experienced several developments including the road networks with some parts still currently visible, the Roman castrum, Fava Ghisilieri, and a Roman theatre. More churches were also constructed and some fortifications were made to protect the place from the possible raids of the Barbarians. Several events both good and bad happened during the entire first millennium in Bononia. Same with the centuries that followed, the place become productive in terms of economy and culture that several powerful people of the society including the Imperial powers, rich families, and even the church showed interests in controlling the place.

From 13th to 18th centuries, Bologna experienced an exchange of prosperity and plague from time to time. During the 16th century, several remarkable architectural works were made. Piazza Galvani was built in 1563 and Palazzio dei Banchi and Ospedale della Morte were constructed in 1565.

The 17th century marked the years of great plagues that were experienced by Bologna but still, more developments were made. What became remarkable during those times were the construction of several religious and community structures such as churches, palaces, museums, and universities. Bologna became the second city of the papal state after Rome.

From the begining of the 19th century, Bologna has been a part of several historical events that had great impacts on Europe. During the Napoleonic period, Bologna has gone through the hands of the Cispadana Republic, Cisalpina Republic after leaving the papal state, and then back to the papacy, until Bologna was annexed to the unified Italy in 1859. In the modern era, Bologna is widely known as the cultural capital of Europe and the main road network of Italy.

Bologna is an ancient city that has embraced modernization without sacrificing its roots and history. Its gateways, churches, palaces, and towers still stand proud and become the silent witnesses of all the rise and falls of the city.

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