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Bologna City of Music

Bologna has such a rich musical tradition that it was named Unesco creative city of music, both for its past excellence and for the great variety of today’s proposals.

 

If you like to enrich the music theme, read also "Walking with Rossini"

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Die Musikstadt Bologna   Bologne Ville de la Musique   Bolonia ciudad de la mùsica

Basilica of San Petronio - Piazza Maggiore

Basilica of San Petronio - Piazza Maggiore

The musical chapel of San Petronio, the most important in Bologna, was founded in 1436 by the Pope Eugenio IV and soon became famous all around Europe.  The most prestigious symbol of the chapel is a monumental organ, which is still in use too. The most important city bells overlooking Piazza Maggiore have beaten the time of civic and religious events since the Middle Age. In 1453 the biggest bell in Bologna (around 47 quintals) was set in the Arengo tower. A bell designed to beat the hours had been placed on the Town Hall clock tower at the beginning of 1400. At last, a special assembly system was set in the bell tower of San Petronio in 1500: it permits the simultaneous concert (“double”) of 4 bells which rotate 360 degrees. Th is specific Bolognese belfry art has been handed down from father to son until nowadays.

Conservatoire Giovan Battista Martini - Piazza Rossini, 2

Conservatoire Giovan Battista Martini - Piazza Rossini, 2

It is a public institution founded in 1942 from the ancient Liceo Filarmonico and is entitled to the learned Bolognese Franciscan Father G. B. Martini. It is one of the most ancient Italian conservatories and it was the first public music school in Italy. Among its first students there was the young Rossini in 1808-1809. Today the Conservatory offers more than 80 subjects and workshops on bel canto, ancient and contemporary music, analysis of modern technologies applied on music and recently also some jazz classes. www.conservatoriobologna.it

Teatro Comunale - Largo Respighi

Teatro Comunale - Largo Respighi

The major City Theatre, the Teatro Comunale, designed by the wellknown scene designer and architect Antonio Galli Bibiena, opened with a performance of an opera by Gluck in 1763. Different operas were performed here by Rossini as well as the Italian premiere of Th e African Woman by Meyerbeer (1865) and Don Carlos (1867) by Giuseppe Verdi, to whom the square opposite the theatre is entitled. The Teatro Comunale is especially famous for the Wagnerian devotion of its directors (A. Mariani, l. Mancinelli, G. Martucci) who performed almost all the Italian premieres written by the innovative German Romantic composer here. Few steps away from the theatre (via Belle Arti), an atelier, where the Bolognese luthier technique is still being handed down, is worth a visit; this technique came into being thanks to some German artisans who lived in the city in the 15th century. www.tcbo.it

International Music Museum and Library - Strada Maggiore, 34

International Music Museum and Library - Strada Maggiore, 34

The exhibition path illustrates about six centuries of history of the European music. Many unique and important works can be admired, like the famous Harmonice Musices Odhecaton A, the first printed book of sheet music by Ottaviano Petrucci, the mysterious Mozart’s entrance examination (the original antiphon he wrote to become a member of the Accademia Filarmonica), the 1600 edition of the Euridice complete collection, the original score of The Barber of Seville by Rossini. The collection of musical instruments includes the harmony of flutes by Manfredo Settala (1650) and the Clavemusicum of Vito Trasuntino (1606). Among the all portraits: Vivaldi, Händel, Gluck, Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini, Verdi, Wagner, the one of Johann Christian Bach by Gainsborough, the young Mozart, the Farinelli portrait by Corrado Giaquinto and the famous Libreria Musicale by Giuseppe Maria Crespi are noteworthy. And finally part of the ground floor is dedicated to the reconstructed Ottorino Respighi luthier workshop. www.museomusicabologna.it

Accademia Filarmonica - Via Guerrazzi, 13

Accademia Filarmonica - Via Guerrazzi, 13

The Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna, founded in 1666, is an institution which gathers well-known figures within the music circle coming from all Europe. The licence issued by the Accademia had such great prestige that in 1770 even the fourteen-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart underwent the strict entrance examination after following Father G.B. Martini’s lessons. Among the members of the Accademia there were other renowned personalities of the music scene such as Farinelli, Rossini, Verdi, Wagner, Puccini, Liszt, Brahms, and, in our century, honoris causa Riccardo Muti and Claudio Abbado. And it was precisely thanks to Abbado that in November 2004 a breeding ground for talented young musicians came into being: the Orchestra Mozart. www.accademiafilarmonica.it

Basilica of Santa Maria dei Servi - Strada Maggiore, 43

Basilica of Santa Maria dei Servi - Strada Maggiore, 43

Among the many historical organs of Bologna (Churches of San Petronio, San Martino, San Procolo, San Domenico, Santa Maria della Vita, Oratoriy of Filippini, San Michele in Bosco to name a few) is noteworthy the mechanical action pipe organ of the Basilica. It dates back to 1967 and it’s still used for concerts nowadays.

Church of Santa Cristina - Piazzetta Morandi, 2

Church of Santa Cristina - Piazzetta Morandi, 2

Camaldolese nuns founded the Convent of Santa Cristina “della Fondazza” in Bologna in 1247. The church we see today was built in 1602 by Giulio Della Torre. The aisleless interior features a constricted presbytery which functions as a sort of resounding chamber so as to turn Santa Cristina into a real architectural musical instrument where the sound wafts in with exceptional acoustic purity. It is precisely this characteristic that gives rise to the myth of the “musician nuns”: the nuns used to sing in the area behind the apsidal hall far from prying eyes and their voice spread through two gratings placed above the high altar as far as the entrance without echo or refraction effects. The church houses the only two sculptures by the painter Guido Reni representing Saints Peter and Paul and a number of paintings created by the Bolognese School between the 16th and the 18th centuries culminating in Ludovico Carracci’s altarpiece The Ascension.

Basilica of San Domenico - Piazza San Domenico, 13

Basilica of San Domenico - Piazza San Domenico, 13

The church boasts a choir by Frà Damiano da Bergamo, created between 1528 and 1551. Described by contemporaries as the eighth wonder of the world, it is one of the last intarsiate choirs of the late Renaissance. Splendid still life paintings of musical instruments decorate the lectern for the great choir books (some dating back to the 14th century can be seen in the Museum).

Cantina - Via Cesare Battisti 7/B

Cantina - Via Cesare Battisti 7/B

The jazz craze reached Bologna in the late Thirties, and after the Second World War it developed an original style thanks to the passion and the enthusiasm of some university students, themselves excellent amateur jazz players and to the foundation of various associations and clubs. In 1952 the Superior Magistratus Ragtime Band was founded as University “band”, which later changed to its present name,of the Dr Dixie Jazz Band. This “amateur” jazz band (even if artists like Henghel Gualdi, Lucio Dalla and Pupi Avati where members) gets together since 1972 at the Cantina in C. Battisti street for unscheduled performances but open to the public. The band proposal is Traditional and Dixieland high level jazz music; the group has indeed taken part in many important jazz festivals, and they had the chance to perform with world-famous jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong and Gerry Mulligan.

San Colombano, Collezione Tagliavini - Via Parigi, 5

San Colombano, Collezione Tagliavini - Via Parigi, 5

San Colombano is composed of a number of buildings aggregated over the centuries starting from around the year 610. The complex houses the collection of ancient musical instruments of Maestro Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini, a musicologist and musician born in Bologna and internationally known. It is a rich collection of harpsichords, spinets, pianos, clavichords, wind instruments and a group of automatic instruments. Unique instruments, many of them richly decorated according to the landscape painting tastes of the 17th and the 18th centuries and all in perfect working order. On the third floor there is the library of the Bolognese musicologist Oscar Mischiati with more than ten thousand volumes. In the Oratory there is an impressive cycle of frescoes by the best apprentices of the Carracci. www.genusbononiae.it

Monastry of San Francesco - Piazza San Francesco

Monastry of San Francesco - Piazza San Francesco

In this monastery Giovan Battista Martini spent his life as a man of the Church and as music scholar, and was buried in 1784, as an inscription over the first arcade to the left of the church reminds us. The music collections he gathered here, are today kept inside the Music Museum. His wide knowledge attracted students such as W.A. Mozart and J. Christian Bach, son of famous Sebastian. In his cell, unfortunately since demolished, he used to receive Italian and European maestros visiting the city.

Other suggestions

Other suggestions

- Salaborsa Library, piazza Nettuno, 3
Multimedia library offering a wide selection of types of music and a large collection of books on the history, works, composers and players of both national and international music.
- Ottorino Respighi’s native house, via Guido Reni, 8
Private house, not open to public.
- Gaetano Donizetti’s house, via Pepoli, 1
Private house, not open to public.
- Pepoli Palace, Museum of the history of Bologna, via Castiglione, 8
Museum of the history, culture and changing life of Bologna, including two rooms dedicated to music.
- Archiginnasio Palace, piazza Galvani, 1
The great hall of the law students was renamed “Stabat Mater”, to celebrate the work of sacred music by Rossini of 1842, first directed by the already famous Donizetti.
- Lucio Dalla's house, via D'Azeglio, 15
Private house, not open to the public.
- Personal Residence of Carlo Broschi, known as Farinelli, via Santa Margherita, 6
Farinelli, the most famous of the castrati singers of the 18th century, retired from stage at the age of 32 and retired to his country villa in via Zanardi 31, (since demolished). Private property, not open to public.
- Father G. B. Martini’s native house, via Pietralata 57
Private house, not open to public.
“Mille voci...Mille suoni” Museum, via Col di Lana, 7
Rich collection of instruments, including a section dedicated to radio and G. Marconi.
- Certosa monumental cemetery, via della Certosa, 18
In the Cemetery there are the tombs of Farinelli and Respighi and the funerary monument of the Rossini family, where Isabella Colbran, Gioachino’s wife, is also buried.