Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna in northern Italy, in the Po Valley. This city lies between the Appenine mountains and the Po River (2007 population 373,170). Bologna keeps the oldest university in the Western world (Alma Mater Studiorum, founded in 1088), and is one the most well-developed cities in Italy. The city was founded by the Etruscans in 534 BC, and at its peak was the second founded city of Italy. It was of great importance to the Roman Empire and was home to various temples and baths, a grand theatre and arena. In 1294, Bologna was believed to be the 5th or 6th largest city in Europe with a steady growing population. In 1859 the city became a part of the united Italy.
Bologna was able to retain much of its character, and to this day is unique in its historical value. It contains a plethora of Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque monuments. Over twenty medieval defensive towers remain among the city, and of them are the two most prominent, simply penned The Two Towers. Known as the landmark of the city, the purpose for the towers is unclear (dating back as far as the 12th century) yet many have been put to use for more modern interests: shops, a city tower, a residential building. Like the towers, many visitors can see a charming mixture of the old and the new strewn amongst the city of Bologna in every direction. In 2006, the city was appointed a UNESCO City of Music for its rich musical tradition, and with such a wide range of genres, it would be worth it to explore one of the many venues in the city. Imbibe in the unique culture, history, and decadence of Bologna and you will not be let down.