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Living in Bologna
A comprehensive guide about living well in Bologna
A bustling, cosmopolitan and historically city with something to offer everyone, Bologna is a fantastic place to live for both locals and expatriates. As one of the main educational centers in Europe, Bologna has an exceptionally high standard of education. Read more about education, culture and transportation in our guide!
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Life in Bologna
Culture and Leisure
Bologna has historically been an important cultural city in Italy, and is one of the country’s main cultural centers. As a result, Bologna was named European Capital of Culture in 2000, and a UNESCO City of Music in 2006 — the first in Italy. As a City of Music, Bologna is required to foster musical projects all year round, including its one of a kind International Museum and Library of Music, which is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. Bologna’s other two main cultural outputs are theatre and food. Theatre has been popular in the city since the 16th century, and today it has a major opera house, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, and various other theatres, dance halls, and concert venues. Bologna’s cuisine is probably best known for ragú alla bolognese, the sauce to which it gives its name, but the city and the surrounding region are also famous for hard cheese, cured pork, and sweet desserts.
Education in Bologna
Bologna is of the main educational centers in Europe, and as a result has earned the nickname “the learned one” (la dotta) across Italy. This is in direct reference to the University of Bologna, which is one of the oldest and most highly regarded universities in the world. Founded in 1088, it now has campuses spread throughout the city. Bologna is also home to the first American postgraduate school in Europe, the Bologna Center of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), which runs a regular exchange program between American and Italian students. This educational excellence is also true of Bologna’s public school system, which is one of the best in Italy. However, many expatriates living in Bologna send their children to English speaking international schools, as the public school system only teaches in Italian. The main international school in Bologna is the International School of Bologna, which is considered one of the best in the country.
Transportation in Bologna
Expatriates living in Bologna will be able to drive legally using an EU driving license or an International Driving Permit. The roads are notoriously crowded, and heavy traffic is commonplace, especially in the city center. As a result, expatriates living in Bologna are advised to use the public transportation system in the city center, which includes both bus and trolleybus lines, as well as intercity and suburban train services. In addition, public transportation is relatively cheap compared to the heavily tolled road system.
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