7 Secrets of Bologna

Bologna is known as a famous lively student city and I think when you are from Europe the term “Bologna Process” is also widely known. I never ever considered myself traveling to Bologna before being to Rome, Milano, Venice and Pisa… because that’s where you usually go, right? Okay, I visited Pisa earlier than Bologna, just a few days before heading there, but you got what I mean. After my visit in Bologna, all I can say is: GO THERE! Bologna is such an underrated city. What I really liked there is that it is not crowded at all, you hardly need to use public transport and visiting Bologna is just so relaxing. Besides admiring the beautiful architecture and eating your way around Bologna, you can discover its seven secrets – also something I learned during my visit. Locals say that you only really know Bologna when you discovered all the seven secrets of the city.

1. The Fountain of Neptune

This secrect of Bologna sounds odd and I couldn’t believe first. I was thinking for a while how to describe it without sounding like a 15 y/o girl. Look at Neptune’s penis – yes, you read correctly, his dick is a secret. When the statue was established the catholic priests didn’t like the artist to make a big dick for Neptune because it was too obscene. So the artist followed the instructions and when you stand in front of Neptune you won’t notice anything extraordinary. Take a few steps around the statue then you will see that his thumb is placed in way that it looks like him having an erection.

Fountain of Neptune, Bologna


2. Whispering Corners at the Intersection in Palazzo del Podestà

At Palazzo del Podesta (near Piazza Maggiore) you can talk to a friend by whispering in one of the corners. The architecture is constructed that only people in diagonally opposite corners can talk and nobody else can listen to the conversation. Definitely fun trying this one with a friend! It’s funny for people watching others talking into corners.

3. Little Venice

The charm of Venice in Bologna? A window in La Piella shows old waterways that were used for transportation but due to urban renewals of the city, most of them disappeared. Today you won’t see any signs of the canals by walking around in the city but the window in La Piella shows you one remaining.

Little Venice via
Little Venice via

4. The Arrows in Strada Maggiore

It is said that once there was a rich Lord in Bologna whose wife had cheated on him. He decided to hire assassins to shoot her with arrows. The night they came of fulfill their order, the wife appeared naked and they were so distracted that they shot three arrows into the ceiling. When you go to Strada Maggiore and stop underneath the wooden porticoes of Casa Isolani, you can still see the arrows stuck in the ceiling.

5. Cannabis is Protection

On the roof of the portico on Via Indipenenza you will see the inscription “panis vita, canabis protectio, vinum laetitia” which means “bread is life, Cannabis is protection, wine is happiness”. It is said in honor of the cultivation of hemp at the time which was an important trade product for Bologna. Hemp was used mainly used for textiles, of course.via

Cannabis is protection via
Cannabis is protection via

6. The broken vase on top of Asinelli Tower

It is said that on top of Asinelli Tower (the higher once of both towers), there is a broken vase. I didn’t climb up because of the legend that if you go up the tower before finishing your studies, you will never finish them – I didn’t want to risk anything.

Towers of Bologna

7. Bread is Resistance

In Via Zamboni, the Latin words “panum resis” are written on one of the tables in the University. It should mean that knowledge is the basis of every decision. I’m not sure if there is anyone who found this inscription so far but I haven’t been able to find it because it’s difficult to find something when you don’t know where to start looking for it.
Anyone been to Bologna

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7 Secrets of Bologna

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