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|Comune di Bologna|
|Nickname(s): The Learned One, the Fat One, the Red One|
|Province / Metropolitan city||Bologna (BO)|
|• Mayor||Virginio Merola (PD)|
|• Total||140.7 km2 (54.3 sq mi)|
|Elevation||54 m (177 ft)|
|Population (29 February 2016)|
|• Total||387,057 (municipality)
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Patron saint||St. Petronius|
|Saint day||October 4|
Bologna (// bə-LOHN-yə; Italian pronunciation: [boˈloɲːa] ( listen); Emilian: Bulåggna, pronounced [buˈlʌɲːa]; Latin: Bŏnṓnĭa) is the largest city (and the capital) of the Emilia-Romagna Region in Italy. It is the seventh most populous city in Italy, located in the heart of a metropolitan area (officially recognized by the Italian government as a città metropolitana) of about one million.
The first settlements date back to at least 1000 BC. The city has been an urban centre, first under the Etruscans (Velzna/Felsina) and the Celts (Bona), then under the Romans (Bononia), then again in the Middle Ages, as a free municipality (for one century it was the fifth largest European city based on population). Home to the oldest university in the world, University of Bologna, founded in 1088, Bologna hosts thousands of students who enrich the social and cultural life of the city. Famous for its towers and lengthy porticoes, Bologna has a well-preserved historical centre (one of the largest in Italy) thanks to a careful restoration and conservation policy which began at the end of the 1970s, on the heels of serious damage done by the urban demolition at the end of the 19th century as well as that caused by wars.
An important cultural and artistic centre, its importance in terms of landmarks can be attributed to a varied mixture of monuments and architectural examples (medieval towers, antique buildings, churches, the layout of its historical centre) as well as works of art which are the result of a first class architectural and artistic history. Bologna is also an important transportation crossroad for the roads and trains of Northern Italy, where many important mechanical, electronic and nutritional industries have their headquarters. According to the most recent data gathered by the European Regional Economic Growth Index (E-REGI) of 2009, Bologna is the first Italian city and the 47th European city in terms of its economic growth rate.
Bologna is home to numerous prestigious cultural, economic and political institutions as well as one of the most impressive trade fair districts in Europe. In 2000 it was declared European capital of culture and in 2006, a UNESCO “city of music”. The city of Bologna was selected to participate in the Universal Exposition of Shanghai 2010 together with 45 other cities from around the world. Bologna is also one of the wealthiest cities in Italy, often ranking as one of the top cities in terms of quality of life in the country: in 2011 it ranked 1st out of 107 Italian cities.
After a long decline, Bologna was reborn in the 5th century under Bishop Petronius. According to legend, St. Petronius built the church of S. Stefano. After the fall of Rome, Bologna was a frontier stronghold of the Exarchate of Ravenna in the Po plain, and was defended by a line of walls which did not enclose most of the ancient ruined Roman city. In 728, the city was captured by the Lombard king Liutprand, becoming part of the Lombard Kingdom. The Germanic conquerors formed a district called "addizione longobarda" near the complex of S. Stefano. Charlemagne stayed in this district in 786.
In the 11th century, under the Holy Roman Empire, Bologna began to aspire to being a free commune, which it was able to do when Matilda of Tuscany died, in 1115, and the following year the city obtained many judicial and economic concessions from Emperor Henry V. Bologna joined the Lombard League against Frederick Barbarossa in 1164 which ended with the Peace of Constance in 1183; after which, the city began to expand rapidly (this is the period in which its famous towers were built) and it became one of the main commercial trade centres thanks to a system of canals that allowed large ships to come and go.
Traditionally said to be founded in 1088, the University of Bologna is widely considered to be the first university. The university originated as an international centre of study of medieval Roman law under major glossators, including Irnerius. It numbered Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarca among its students.
In the 12th century, the expanding city needed a new line of walls, and at the end of the 13th century, Bologna had between 50,000 and 60,000 inhabitants making it the fifth largest city in Europe (after Cordova, Paris, Venice, and Florence) and tied with Milan as the largest textile industry area in Italy. The complex system of canals in Bologna was one of the most advanced waterway systems in Europe, and took its water from the Savena, Aposa and Reno Rivers. The main canals were Canale Navile, Canale di Reno and Canale di Savena. Hydraulic energy derived from the canal system helped run the numerous textile mills and transport goods.
In 1256, Bologna promulgated the "Paradise Law", which abolished feudal serfdom and freed the slaves, using public money. At that time the city centre was full of towers (perhaps 180), built by the leading families, notable public edifices, churches, and abbeys. In the 1270s Bologna's politics was dominated by Luchetto Gattilusio, a Genoese diplomat and man of letters who became the city Governor. Like most Italian cities of that age, Bologna was torn by internal struggles related to the Guelph and Ghibelline factions, which led to the expulsion of the Ghibelline family of the Lambertazzi in 1274.
After this period of great prosperity, Bologna experienced some ups and downs: The city were home to some 50,000 people in the early 1300s. it was crushed in the Battle of Zappolino by Modena in 1325 but then prospered under the rule of Taddeo Pepoli (1337–1347). Then in 1348, during the Black Plague, about 30,000 inhabitants died, and it subsequently fell to the Visconti of Milan, but returned to Papal control under Cardinal Gil de Albornoz in 1360. In the following years, Republican governments like that of 1377, which was responsible for the building of the Basilica di San Petronio and the Loggia dei Mercanti, alternated with Papal or Visconti resurgences, while the city's families engaged in continual internecine fighting.
In 1337, the rule of the noble Pepoli family, nicknamed by some scholars as the "underground nobles" as they governed as "the first among equals" rather than as true nobles of the city. This noble family's rule was in many ways an extension of past rules, and resisted until March 28, 1401 when the Bentivoglio family took over.
The Bentivoglio family ruled Bologna, first with Sante (1445–1462) and then under Giovanni II (1462–1506). This period was a flourishing one for the city, with the presence of notable architects and painters who made Bologna a true city of art. During the Renaissance, Bologna was the only Italian city that allowed women to excel in any profession. Women had much more freedom than in other Italian cities; some even had the opportunity to earn a degree at the university. The School of Bologna of painting flourished in Bologna between the 16th and 17th centuries, and rivalled Florence and Rome as the centre of painting.
Giovanni's reign ended in 1506 when the Papal troops of Julius II besieged Bologna and sacked the artistic treasures of his palace. From that point on, until the 18th century, Bologna was part of the Papal States, ruled by a cardinal legato and by a Senate which every two months elected a gonfaloniere (judge), assisted by eight elder consuls. In 1530, in front of Saint Petronio Church, Charles V was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Clement VII.
Then a plague at the end of the 16th century reduced the population from 72,000 to 59,000, and another in 1630 to 47,000. The population later recovered to a stable 60,000–65,000. However, there was also great progress during this era: in 1564, the Piazza del Nettuno and the Palazzo dei Banchi were built, along with the Archiginnasio, the centre of the University. The period of Papal rule saw the construction of many churches and other religious establishments, and the reincarnation of older ones. At this time, Bologna had ninety-six convents, more than any other Italian city. Artists working during this period in Bologna established the Bolognese School which includes Annibale Carracci, Domenichino, Guercino and others of European fame.
In 1796 Napoleon conquered Bologna, making it the capital of the short lived Cispadane Republic. After the fall of Napoleon, the Congress of Vienna of 1815 placed Bologna once again under the sovereignty of the Papal States, leading to the uprisings of 1831 and 1848, when the Austrian garrisons which controlled the city were temporarily expelled. Eventually, during the Second War of Italian Independence, on 11 and 12 March 1860 the city voted in favour of annexation by the Kingdom of Sardinia, soon to become the new Kingdom of Italy.
Bologna suffered extensive damage during World War II. The strategic importance of the city as industrial and railway hub connecting northern and central Italy made it a strategic target for the Allied forces. On July 16, 1943 a massive aerial bombardment destroyed much of the historic city centre and killed scores of people. The main railway station and adjoining areas were severely hit, and 44% of the buildings in the centre were listed as having been destroyed or severely damaged. The city was heavily bombed again on September 25. The raids, which this time were not confined to the city centre, left 936 people dead and thousands injured.
During the war, the city became a key centre of the Italian resistance movement. On November 7, 1944, a pitched battle around Porta Lame, waged by partisans of the 7th Brigade of the Gruppi d'Azione Patriottica against Fascist and Nazi occupation forces, did not succeed in triggering a general uprising, despite being one of the largest resistance-led urban conflicts in the European theatre. Resistance forces entered Bologna on the morning of April 21, 1945. By this time, the Germans had already largely left the city in the face of the Allied advance, spearheaded by Polish forces advancing from the east during the Battle of Bologna which had been fought since April 9. First to arrive in the centre was the 87th Infantry Regiment of the Friuli Combat Group under general Arturo Scattini, who entered the centre from Porta Maggiore to the south. Since the soldiers were dressed in British outfits, they were initially thought to be part of the allied forces; when the local inhabitants heard the soldiers were speaking Italian, they poured out on to the streets to celebrate. Polish reconnaissance units of the Polish 2nd Corps entered Bologna from another direction on the same morning as the Friuli Combat Group. The fighting to oust the Germans from the town had been mostly undertaken by Polish troops.
In the post-war years, Bologna became a thriving industrial centre as well as a political stronghold of the Italian Communist Party. Between 1945 and 1999, the city had an uninterrupted series of left-wing mayors, the first of whom was Giuseppe Dozza.
In 1977 Bologna was the scene of rioting linked to the Movement of 1977, a spontaneous political movement of the time. The alleged police shooting of a far-left activist, Francesco Lorusso, sparked two days of street clashes that led the government to send in armored vehicles.
On 2 August 1980, at the height of the "years of lead", a terrorist bomb was set off in the central railway station of Bologna killing 85 people and wounding 200, an event which is known in Italy as the Bologna massacre. In 1995, members of the neo-fascist group Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari were convicted for carrying out the attack, while Licio Gelli—Grand Master of the underground Freemason lodge Propaganda Due (P2)—was convicted for hampering the investigation, together with three agents of the secret military intelligence service SISMI (including Francesco Pazienza and Pietro Musumeci). Commemorations take place in Bologna on 2 August each year, culminating in a concert in the main square.
In 1999 the long tradition of left-wing mayors was interrupted by the victory of the independent candidate Giorgio Guazzaloca, who led a centre-right coalition; this brief experience ended in 2004 when Sergio Cofferati, a former trade union leader, was elected. The next centre-left mayor, Flavio Delbono, elected in June 2009, resigned in January 2010 after being involved in a corruption scandal. After a 15-month period in which the city was administered under Anna Maria Cancellieri (as a state-appointed prefect), Virginio Merola was elected as mayor, leading a left-wing coalition comprising the Democratic Party, Left Ecology Freedom and Italy of Values.
Bologna is situated on the edge of the Po Plain at the foot of the Apennine Mountains, at the meeting of the Reno and Savena river valleys. As Bologna's two main watercourses flow directly to the sea, the town lies outside of the drainage basin of the River Po. The Province of Bologna stretches from the western edge of the Po Plain on the border with Ferrara to the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. The centre of the town is 54 metres (177 ft) above sea level (while elevation within the municipality ranges from 29 metres (95 ft) in the suburb of Corticella to 300 metres (980 ft) in Sabbiuno and the Colle della Guardia). The Province of Bologna stretches from the Po Plain into the Apennines; the highest point in the province is the peak of Corno alle Scale (in Lizzano in Belvedere) at 1,945 metres (6,381 ft) above sea level.
Annual precipitation oscillates between around 450 mm (18 in) and 900 mm (35 in), with the majority generally falling in spring and autumn. Snow occasionally falls during winter and heavy snowfalls; the last major event was in February 2012, when almost a meter of snow fell in the city.
|Climate data for Bologna (1971–2000, extremes 1946–present)|
|Record high °C (°F)||20.7
|Average high °C (°F)||5.0
|Daily mean °C (°F)||2.8
|Average low °C (°F)||−1.5
|Record low °C (°F)||−18.8
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||34.0
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||5.9||5.6||7.1||8.2||8.1||6.1||4.2||5.2||5.4||7.1||6.4||5.8||75.1|
|Average relative humidity (%)||83||78||70||71||69||68||65||66||69||76||84||84||74|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||77.5||96.1||151.9||174.0||229.4||255.0||291.4||260.4||201.0||148.8||81.0||74.4||2,040.9|
|Source: Servizio Meteorologico (sun, humidity ,1961–1990)|
|Bologna City Council
Consiglio Comunale di Bologna
Merola Junta (22)
|Party-list proportional representation|
|15–16 May 2011|
|Palazzo d'Accursio, Bologna|
The legislative body of the municipality is the City Council (Consiglio Comunale), which is composed of 36 councillors elected every five years with a proportional system, contextually to the mayoral elections. The executive body is the City Committee (Giunta Comunale), composed by 7 assessors, that is nominated and presieded over by a directly elected Mayor. The current mayor of Bologna is Virginio Merola (PD), elected on 16 May 2011 with the 50.5% of the votes.
The municipality of Bologna was subdivided into nine administrative Boroughs (Quartieri) until 2015. Each Borough is governed by a Council (Consiglio) and a President, elected contextually to the city Mayor. The urban organization is governed by the Italian Constitution (art. 114). The Boroughs have the power to advise the Mayor with nonbinding opinions on a large spectrum of topics (environment, construction, public health, local markets) and exercise the functions delegated to them by the City Council; in addition they are supplied with an autonomous founding in order to finance local activities. Of the nine boroughs, eight were governed by the Democratic Party and one by the Lega Nord. In July 2015 has been approved a reform to reduce the Boroughs from nine to six, as a result of the spending review to save up to 200.000 euros.
Until the late 19th century, when a large-scale urban renewal project was undertaken, Bologna remained one of the few remaining large walled cities in Europe; to this day and despite having suffered considerable bombing damage in 1944, Bologna's 350 acres (141.64 ha) historic centre is Europe's second largest, containing an immense wealth of important medieval, renaissance, and baroque artistic monuments.
Bologna developed along the Via Emilia as an Etruscan and later Roman colony; the Via Emilia still runs straight through the city under the changing names of Strada Maggiore, Rizzoli, Ugo Bassi, and San Felice. Due to its Roman heritage, the central streets of Bologna, today largely pedestrianized, follow the grid pattern of the Roman settlement. The original Roman ramparts were supplanted by a high medieval system of fortifications, remains of which are still visible, and finally by a third and final set of ramparts built in the 13th century, of which numerous sections survive. No more than twenty medieval defensive towers remain out of up to 180 that were built in the 12th and 13th centuries before the arrival of unified civic government. The most famous of the towers of Bologna are the central "Due Torri" (Asinelli and Garisenda), whose iconic leaning forms provide a popular symbol of the town.
The cityscape is further enriched by its elegant and extensive porticoes, for which the city is famous. In total, there are some 38 kilometres (24 miles) of porticoes in the city's historical centre (over 45 km (28 mi) in the city proper), which make it possible to walk for long distances sheltered from the elements.
The Portico di San Luca is possibly the world's longest. It connects Porta Saragozza (one of the twelve gates of the ancient walls built in the Middle Ages, which circled a 7.5 km (4.7 mi) part of the city) with the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca, a church begun in 1723 on the site of an 11th-century edifice which had already been enlarged in the 14th century, prominently located on a hill (289 metres (948 feet)) overlooking the town, which is one of Bologna's main landmarks. The winding 666 vault arcade, almost four kilometres (3,796 m) long, effectively links San Luca, as the church is commonly called, to the centre of town. Its porticos provide shelter for the traditional procession which every year since 1433 has carried a Byzantine icon of the Madonna with Child attributed to Luke the Evangelist down to the Bologna Cathedral during Ascension week.
Other churches in Bologna include:
Bologna is an important railway and motorway hub in Italy. The economy of Bologna is characterized by a flourishing industrial sector, traditionally based on the transformation of agricultural and zootechnical products (Granarolo, Segafredo Zanetti). It also includes machinery (Coesia), automobiles, footwear, textile, engineering, chemical, printing and publishing industries, as well as a strong financial, insurance (Unipol) and retail (Coop Italia, Conad) activity. The city's Fiera District (exhibition centre) is one of the largest in Europe, with important yearly international expos focused on the automobile sector (Bologna Motor Show), ceramics for the building industry (International Exhibition of Ceramic Tiles and Bathroom Furnishings) and food industry. In addition, several important firms in the fields of automobiles (Lamborghini), motorcycles (Ducati), mechanics, food, tobacco and electronics have their headquarters in the urban area of Bologna, as well as important retail and wholesale trade (the "Centergross" in Argelato, esabilished in 1973), and one of the largest Italian food processing companies (Conserve Italia).
Bologna is home to the Guglielmo Marconi International Airport, recently expanded to accommodate larger aircraft. Today, it is the seventh busiest Italian airport for passenger traffic (almost 6 million passengers handled in 2011). Bologna Centrale railway station is one of the most important train hubs in Italy thanks to the city's strategic location. It serves 58 million passengers annually. In addition, Bologna San Donato classification yard, with 33 railway tracks, is the largest in Italy by size and traffic. The city is also served by a large network of public bus lines, including trolleybus lines, operated since 2012 by Trasporto Passeggeri Emilia-Romagna SpA (TPER).
At the end of 2010, the city proper had a population of 380,604 (while 1 million live in the greater Bologna area), located in the province of Bologna, Emilia Romagna, of whom 46.7% were male and 53.3% were female. Minors (children ages 18 and younger) totalled 12.86 percent of the population compared to pensioners who number 27.02 percent. This compares with the Italian average of 18.06 percent (minors) and 19.94 percent (pensioners). The average age of Bologna resident is 51 compared to the Italian average of 42. In the five years between 2002 and 2007, the population of Bologna grew by 0.0 percent, while Italy as a whole grew by 3.56 percent. The current birth rate of Bologna is 8.07 births per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the Italian average of 9.45 births.
As of 2009[update], 89.47% of the population was Italian. The largest immigrant group came from other European countries (mostly Romanians and Albanians): 2.82%, East Asia (mostly Filipino): 1.50%, and South Asia (mostly from Bangladesh): 1.39%.
The University of Bologna, founded in 1088, is the oldest university in the world, and was an important centre of European intellectual life during the Middle Ages, attracting scholars from throughout Christendom. A unique heritage of medieval art, exemplified by the illuminated manuscripts and jurists' tombs produced in the city from the 13th to the 15th centuries, provides a cultural backdrop to the renown of the medieval institution. The Studium, as it was originally known, began as a loosely organized teaching system with each master collecting fees from students on an individual basis. The location of the early University was thus spread throughout the city, with various colleges being founded to support students of a specific nationality.
In the Napoleonic era, the headquarters of the university were moved to their present location on Via Zamboni (formerly Via San Donato), in the north-eastern sector of the city centre. Today, the University's 11 schools, 33 departments, and 93 libraries are spread across the city and include four subsidiary campuses in nearby Cesena, Forlì, Ravenna, and Rimini. Noteworthy students present at the university in centuries past included Dante, Petrarch, Thomas Becket, Pope Nicholas V, Erasmus of Rotterdam, Peter Martyr Vermigli, and Copernicus. Laura Bassi, appointed in 1732, became the first woman to officially teach at a college in Europe. In more recent history, Luigi Galvani, the discoverer of biological electricity, and Guglielmo Marconi, the pioneer of radio technology, also worked at the University. The University of Bologna remains one of the most respected and dynamic post-secondary educational institutions in Italy. To this day, Bologna is still very much a university town, and the city's population swells from 400,000 to over 500,000 whenever classes are in session. This community includes a great number of Erasmus, Socrates, and overseas students.
Bologna is also home to other universities such as the Bologna Center of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). SAIS Bologna was founded in 1955 as the first campus of a US post-graduate school to open in Europe. It was inspired by Marshall Plan efforts to build a cultural bridge between America and Europe. Today, the Bologna Center also hosts the Associazione italo-americana “Luciano Finelli," which supports cross-cultural awareness and exchange between Italy and the United States.
Over the centuries, Bologna has acquired many nicknames: "the learned one" (la dotta) is a reference to its university; "the fat one" (la grassa) refers to its cuisine.
"The red one" (la rossa) originally refers to the colour of the roofs in the historic centre, but this nickname is also connected to the political situation in the city, started after World War II: until the election of a centre-right mayor in 1999, the city was renowned as a bastion of socialism and communism in particular the Italian Communist Party. The centre-left regained power again in the 2004 mayoral elections, with the election of Sergio Cofferati. It was one of the first European cities to experiment with the concept of free public transport.
The city of Bologna was appointed a UNESCO City of Music on 26 May 2006. According to UNESCO, "As the first Italian city to be appointed to the Network, Bologna has demonstrated a rich musical tradition that is continuing to evolve as a vibrant factor of contemporary life and creation. It has also shown a strong commitment to promoting music as an important vehicle for inclusion in the fight against racism and in an effort to encourage economic and social development. Fostering a wide range of genres from classical to electronic, jazz, folk and opera, Bologna offers its citizens a musical vitality that deeply infiltrates the city’s professional, academic, social and cultural facets."
An important figure of Italian Bolognese theatre was Alfredo Testoni, the playwright, author of The Cardinal Lambertini, which has had great theatrical success since 1905, repeated on screen by the Bolognese actor Gino Cervi.
In 1998, the City of Bologna initiated the project "Bologna dei Teatri" (Bologna of the Theatres), an association of the major theatrical facilities in the city. This is a circuit of theatres which offer diverse and colourful cultural and theatrical opportunities, ranging from Bolognese dialect to contemporary dance, but with a communications strategy and promoting unity. Specifically, the shows on the bill in various theatres participating in the project are advertised weekly through a single poster.
Bologna's opera house is the Teatro Comunale di Bologna.
Bologna hosts a number of festivals and other events, including:
Bologna is renowned for its culinary tradition. It has given its name to the well-known Bolognese sauce, a meat based pasta sauce called in Italy ragù alla bolognese but in the city itself just ragù as in Tagliatelle al ragù. Situated in the fertile Po River Valley, the rich local cuisine depends heavily on meats and cheeses. As in all of Emilia-Romagna, the production of cured pork meats such as prosciutto, mortadella and salumi is an important part of the local food industry. Well-regarded nearby vineyards include Pignoletto dei Colli Bolognesi, Lambrusco di Modena and Sangiovese di Romagna. Tagliatelle with ragù, lasagne, tortellini served in broth, and mortadella, the original Bologna sausage, are among the local specialties. Traditional Bolognese desserts are often linked to holidays, such as fave dei morti, multi-coloured almond paste cookies made for All Saints' Day, jam-filled raviole cookies that are served on Saint Joseph's Day, and carnival sweets known as sfrappole. Torta di riso, a custard-like cake made of almonds, rice and amaretto, is made throughout the year.
A sporting nickname for Bologna is Basket City in reference to the successes of the town's two rival historic basketball clubs, Fortitudo and Virtus, though the clubs are now often referred to by the names of their current sponsors. Of the two, the latter won 15 Italian basketball championships and two Euroleagues making them one of the most influential European basketball clubs; the former won two league titles between 1999 and 2005. The rivalry is temporarily dormant since Fortitudo left the country's professional ranks when, following the 2008–09 season, the club was relegated from the top-level Lega A to LegADue, before being relegated further to the nominally amateur Serie A Dilettanti for financial reasons; in the 2012–13 season, Fortitudo will play in the LegADue. The Italian Basketball League, which operates both Lega A and LegADue, has its headquarters in Bologna.
Football also has a strong tradition in Bologna. The city's main club, Bologna F.C. 1909, have won seven Italian league championships (the latest in 1963-64), which make them the sixth most successful team in the history of the league; in their heyday in the 1930s Bologna FC were called "Lo squadrone che tremare il mondo fa" (Italian for "The Team that Shakes the World"). The club play at the 38,000-capacity Stadio Renato Dall'Ara, which has hosted the Italian national team in both football and rugby union, as well as the San Marino national football team. It was also a venue at the 1990 FIFA World Cup.
Rugby union is also present in the city: Rugby Bologna 1928 is not only one of the oldest Italian rugby union clubs but also the first ever club affiliated to the Italian rugby union federation. and, to date (2014) is Italy's oldest rugby union club still in operation. The club took part to the top tier of the Italian championship for the first 25 years of their history never winning the title but getting to the runner-up place several times; they returned in top division (Serie A1 then Super 10), in the late 1990s and faced serious financial problems which led them to the relegation and almost to disappearance.
In addition to the natives of the city listed above, the following have made Bologna their home:
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