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Piazza Maggiore

The elder sister of all Bologna’s squares

All over the city of Bologna reigns idea of a great sociality, a participation in public life, politics and economics by everybody, this is possible thanks to its many squares, where even today, people get together, share encouragement or a few words of good wishes and friendship.


At the Piazza Maggiore, which is located right in the city centre, near Piazza Nettuno, this spirit of sociability is completely expressed, at the centre of urban life and artistic and cultural history.

History

In the Thirteenth century, the Bolognese began to feel the need to have spaces to get together, especially to organize huge markets.

The already active municipality therefore acquired and then demolished many popular old buildings of that area.

Between the Fifteenth and Seventeenth centuries the square first took its present form and was then embellished by the will of the Pope, through Cardinal Carlo Borromeo.

During the Liberation of 1945, an American tank ruined part of the pavement, which has deliberately never been fixed to serve as a witness and memory of that important day and its meaning.

A collection of wonders

It can be said that the perimeter of Piazza Maggiore is an anthology of historical and cultural wonders:

  • in the north there is the Palazzo del Podestà (from the Thirteenth century), dominated by the Arengo Tower and flanked by  the Palazzo Re Enzo;
  • in the south the façade of the unfinished and monumental Basilica of San Petronio, which was begun in the fourteenth century in Gothic style
  • to the west, near  the Piazza del Nettuno, the Palazzo d'Accursio, which also houses the Municipality of Bologna and important museum collections.
  • to the east, the sixteenth century Palazzo dei Banchi, where the city's most famous portico begins, which connects it with the Archiginnasio, former home of the prestigious town university.
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