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Bologna creative city of music

Loop trail to walk in the city center.

Journey time of approximately 2 hours.

The music is a piece of the identity of the city of Bologna.

In continuity with a glorious past, the music of Bologna has an extraordinary presence in leading institutions such as the Municipal Theater, the International Museum and Library of Music, the Conservatory named after Padre Martini, the Department of Music and Performing Arts University, and the Accademia Filarmonica. In Bologna, many distinguished composers were born or have stayed including Ottorino Respighi, Rossini, Gaetano Donizetti, Giovanni Battista Martini, and even Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

In 2006, Bologna was appointed UNESCO Creative City of Music.

The title of UNESCO also recognizes a creative fabric widespread production and enjoyment of music, festivals of international significance and a continuing cultural consumption. The important seasons of classical music, the appointments in the field of contemporary music, jazz played live on the premises, billboards designed for children, the presence of singer-songwriters and rock bands, and much more make up a unique view into the music field.

music of yesterday

Starting from Piazza Maggiore, the first important step in the music for the city of Bologna is undoubtedly the Basilica of San Petronio. On the inside, it houses the most important Musical Chapel of Bologna. It was established in 1436 by Pope Eugene IV and is still in operation. It achieved European fame in the second half of 600. The most prestigious symbol of the Chapel is a monumental organ built between 1471 and 1475 by Lorenzo da Prato, one of the oldest in the world still in use. In 1596 it was added to another organ which is also working perfectly today.

Piazza Maggiore is surrounded by some of the most important bells in character, since the Middle Ages the pace of civil and religious events. The first was placed at the beginning of '400 in the clock tower of the Town Hall, followed by a huge bell (about 47 pounds) on the Tower dell'Arengo used to call the citizens during special events. Finally, the bell tower of San Petronio, where, in 500, was made a mounting system that allows the concert of the four bells with a rotation of 360 °, a "bolognese art" still handed down from father to son.

Cross Piazza Nettuno and Piazza Maggiore and take Via Dell'Indipendenza. Continue until you cross Via Manzoni, take it and go straight until you reach Via Paris. At number 5 is the Oratory of St. Columban, recently reopened to the public. It is a complex canonical consisting of a series of buildings aggregates in the centuries since about 1610. The complex houses the collection of ancient musical instruments of Maestro Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini, musicologist and musician of international renown born in Bologna in 1929. This is a unique collection of harpsichords, spinets, pianos, clavichords, a collection of wind instruments and a group of automated tools. These are unique pieces, many of which are richly decorated according to the canons of landscape painting in the 600 and 700 and all are in working order.

Go back along Via Parigi to Via Manzoni, cross Via Dell'Indipendenza and take Via Marsala and walk until you reach Via Zamboni. Turn left and in a few steps, you will be in Piazza Verdi, the heart of the University area. Here stands the Teatro Comunale, a witness for more than two centuries of international musical life. It was built based on the designs of famous designers and architect Antonio Galli da Bibbiena in the place where once upon a time there was the Domus Aurea of ​​Bentivoglio destroyed in 1507. It was inaugurated in 1763 with an opera by Gluck and subsequently underwent several renovations until completion of the facade in 1937. The theater saw the debut of a young Rossini years engaged in the future of Italian opera starring in 'apprenticeship in Bologna between the walls of the newborn School of Music. With the Teatro Comunale behind you, take Via Giuseppe Petroni and turn right into Via San Vitale, go under the Torresotto Via San Vitale and turn left onto Via Guido Reni up to No. 8, where there is a tombstone which indicates the birthplace of Ottorino Respighi. Continue along Via Guido Reni and at the end turn left onto Strada Maggiore. At number 26 is the Palace that Gioacchino Rossini built in 1824 and where the composer lived for twenty years, before moving to Paris. Continuing on Strada Maggiore you will arrive at number 34 where there is the International Museum and Library of Music. Founded in 1959, it was taken over in 2004 and its name was changed to the International Museum and Library of Music, with the inauguration of a museum of Palazzo Sanguinetti, in the historic center of Bologna. The building was reopened to the public after a long and careful restoration that has brought back all of the original splendor with internal frescoes from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. The exhibition traces some six centuries of European music history with over one hundred paintings of famous musicians, more than eighty antique musical instruments and a wide selection of historical documents of great value. 

On the ground floor, a separate section is reserved for the reconstruction of the workshop of Otello Bignami, a master Bolognese violin maker. 

Leaving the museum, head to the left, continue on until you cross Via Guerazzi where there is the headquarters of the Accademia Filarmonica.

During his more than three hundred years of history, the Philharmonic Academy is grown from being a professional association of musicians from Bologna, an important goal of international recognition, and aggregating important personalities in the music world. Among the aggregates at the Academy, the most famous is definitely Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who in 1770 made the first of his travels in Italy and Bologna, one of the most important stages of that journey, He studied to take the examination that allowed him to enter the membership of the Accademia Filarmonica. Continue on Via Guerazzi to Via Santo Stefano. You will arrive in front of the basilica of Santo Stefano, on the left you will find a narrow alley called Via de 'Pepoli as skirts Pepoli Palace now houses the Museum of the History of Bologna. Along the narrow Via de 'Pepoli, you can see the house where the famous composer  Gaetano Donizetti. lived between 1815 and 1817. Following Via de' Pepoli you will arrive in Via Castiglione. Turn left on Via Castiglione and then turn right on Via Farini and continue until you reach Piazza Cavour on your left. Turn left and walk along the western side of the piazza. Continue walking on this street which will change name and become Via Garibaldi. After a couple of minutes you will arrive to Piazza San Domenico. Inside of the Basilica of San Domenico, you can see the choir made between 1528 and 1551 by frà Damiano from Bergamo. It is described by his contemporaries as the eighth wonder of the world. It is one of the last masterpieces of wood inlay from the renaissance. The Basilica of San Domenico also houses the organ on which Mozart studied during his stay in Bologna to pass the entrance exam for the Philarmonic Academy of Bologna.

music of today

Bologna is today the capital of Italian music, in fact, there are countless singers who were born here or who have moved to the city of the Two Towers.  Lucio Dalla is probably the most beloved. He was born in Bologna, March 4, 1943 date immortalized in the title of one of his famous songs and prematurely died on 1 March 2012. Continuing on the path, from Piazza San Domenico go back to Piazza Cavour and turn left into Via Farini. Go ahead until you will cross Via D'Azeglio. The house where Lucio Dalla lived it is located at the number 15 of Via D'Azeglio. From there go ahead until Piazza Maggiore where you started the tour. 

For those of you who would like to continue the tour outside of the city gates, the tour of the music continues in Budrio, a small town a few kilometers to the north of Bologna. It is known as "the town of the ocarina". The ocarina is a wind instrument made of terracotta. It is produced in different sizes in order to compose a concert with different tones. This instrument was invented by a man from Budrio named Giuseppe Donati in 1853. In the 19th century, this instrument had great international success. Today, the ocarina is the protagonist of a biennial festival which brings together artists and fans from all over the world.

At the end of this path which has led you to discover the music of Bologna, I want to give you a brief rundown of some of the most famous personalities of the contemporary music scene in Bologna. Francesco Guccini, was born in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines but has lived in Bologna for many years, has beautiful songs dedicated to his adopted city. Vasco Rossi, idol of several generations of fans, was born in the province of Modena but moved to Bologna and immortalized the Roxy Bar in Via Rizzoli in the famous song "The Reckoning". Born in Bologna, Luca Carboni has filled the Italian charts in recent years. Gianni Morandi was born in Monghidoro and is a true Bolognese icon. He has not dedicated an entire song to Bologna but all of his poetry is linked to the city where he began to study singing at a very young age. Among the new recruits, there is the hit of Cesare Cremonin with Lunapop, “...but how nice it is to go around the hills of Bologna”. It is also worth mentioning two singers of songs in dialect: Dino Sarti, who died in 2007, and Andrea Mingardi who started as a rock singer but later discovered his love for the dialect and composed ironic and irreverent songs.


Also, the jazz genre in Bologna has developed in an original way thanks to the passion of a group of university students who were amateur jazz musicians and gave rise to a group called Dr. Dixie Jazz Band in 1952. Since 1972, this group of "amateur" musicians , including Sherman and Pupi Avati, met for many years in a basement located in Via Cesare Battisti (just a stone's throw from the B & B Bologna nel Cuore) and took part in the most important jazz festivals, playing together with world-famous jazz musicians including Louis Armstrong and Gerry Mulligan.


Finally, one must remember one of Bologna's most famous musical institutions, well known not only at the national level: the theater dell'Antoniano with its Little Choir, founded in 1963 by Mariele Ventre, which accompanies the young soloists which participate every year in the "Zecchino d'Oro ", a program which has become an important part of the history of Italian television.

 FrancescGuccini was born in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, but resident in Bologna for many years. He has dedicated beautiful songs to his adopted city. Also, Vasco Rossi, idol of several generations of fans, was born in the province of Modena and moved to Bologna where now he lives. Born in Bologna Luca Carboni has topped the Italian charts in recent years. Gianni Morandi was born in Monghidoro, outside of Bologna and is a true icon. He has dedicated an entire song to Bologna, but all his poetry is linked to the city where he began to study singing when he was very young. Among the newer recruits the hit Cesare Cremonini "But how nice it is to go around the hills of Bologna .... "- deserves to be remembered along with  two songwriters songs in dialect: Dino Sarti, who died in 2007, and Andrea Mingardi , born as a rock singer, but who later rediscovered his love for the dialect and has composed songs both ironic and irreverent. 

For those wishing to take a trip out of town, the route continues through Budrio of Music, a small town a few kilometers north of Bologna, known as the "Land of 'ocarina." The ocarina is a woodwind musical instrument made of terracotta, manufactured in various sizes, able to compose a concerto of different shades. This tool was invented by Giuseppe Donati Budrio in 1853 and throughout the nineteenth century saw great international success. Today, the ocarina is leading a biennial festival that brings together artists and fans from all over the world. Finally, one must remember one of Bologna's most famous musical institutions at the national level: the theater dell'Antoniano and his Little Choir, founded in 1963 by Mariele Ventre, who accompanies the young soloists who participate every year in the " Zecchino d'Oro ", a program that has become an important part in the history of Italian television.

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