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Villas, historical residences and theatres

Bologna is more than a façade... With its rich patrimony of palaces, historical residences and villas, as well as the manifold still existing towers, the city contains many fascinating hidden corners such as courtyards, stairs and beautiful detailed rooms. Some of these historical buildings are usually open to the public, while others are private houses or offices and can be visited on special events only.
In addition to palaces and villas, Bologna has many theatres which contributed to the cultural and artistic history of the city.

Palazzo d'Accursio o Comunale

Palazzo d'Accursio o Comunale

The Town Hall consists of a set of buildings, that over the centuries have gradually been joined to the oldest acquired by the city at the end of the thirteenth century. Including among other things, Accursio’s home, teacher of law, at the University of Bologna. It was originally intended to keep the public reserve, "some grain-growing and municipal offices”. In 1336 it became the residence of the Elders, the highest judiciary of the City Government and is the seat of city government.

Palazzo Re Enzo

Palazzo Re Enzo

Palazzo Re Enzo was built between 1244-46 (when also Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo was raised  as an extension of the Municipal buildings. The palace was also known as  'new palace' to differentiate it from Palazzo del Podestà. Just three years later the palace became the 'residence' of the King taken prisoner in the battle of Fossalta: Re Enzo from Sardinia, son of Federico II.

Palazzo del Podestà

Palazzo del Podestà

This was the first seat of the town government, represented by the Podestà and his judges and officers.

Palazzo dei Notai

Palazzo dei Notai

The old seat of the Notary's guild or association as inferred by the three ink pots with quills depicted in the coat-of-arm on the façade.

Palazzo dei Banchi

Palazzo dei Banchi

Palazzo dei Banchi was the last palace to be built in Piazza Maggiore. It was supposed to hide the narrow streets of the market behind it.

Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio

Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio

The construction of the Palace was commissioned by Cardinal Borromeo between 1562 and 1563 following the project by architect Antonio Morandi called Terribilia; it was to house the lecture halls for the University Study (Law and Arts). Up to 1803 it was the seat of the University and since 1838 it has been housing the Civic Library.

Palazzo della Mercanzia

Palazzo della Mercanzia

Seat of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture and Crafts, Palazzo della Mercanzia has governed trading and business activities of Bologna since the late 14th century.

Palazzo Ghisilardi Fava

Palazzo Ghisilardi Fava

The palace, built for Bartolomeo Ghisilardi at the end of the century, is the exemplary model of a 15th-century's noble house from Bologna.

Palazzo Aldini-Sanguinetti

Palazzo Aldini-Sanguinetti

The Palace that today is called Sanguinetti, from the most recent family owner's name, is the result of the difficult evolution of that zone settlements, from the Middle Ages till today, and it shows evidence of every single transformation it underwent.

Regia Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna - Palazzo Carrati

Regia Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna - Palazzo Carrati

The Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna was founded in 1666 by the noble Vincenzo Maria Carrati, based in his family’s palace, located at what is now Via Guerrazzi 13. “Unitate melos” has been the Academy’s motto ever since its foundation.

Palazzo Davia - Bargellini

Palazzo Davia - Bargellini

The Davia Bargellini palace in Strada Maggiore, housing the museum with the same name, is one of the major non-institutional buildings of Bologna for its size and loftiness of structure.

Palazzo Hercolani

Palazzo Hercolani

In 1793 Bolognese architect Angelo Venturoli opened in Strada Maggiore 45 the construction site of a magnificent house for the princely line of the Hercolani family, which was completed in the early 19th century.

Palazzo Pepoli Campogrande

Palazzo Pepoli Campogrande

At the start of via Castiglione in the very heart of town two historical palaces of the Pepoli family face each other across the street. The noble family rose to local fame with the taking of power by Taddeo in 1334 (contemporary to the fall of Cardinal Bertrando del Poggetto).

Palazzo Poggi

Palazzo Poggi

The palace, designed in the mid 16th century probably by Pellegrino Tibaldi with the contribution of Bartolomeo Triachini, who is attributed in particular the inner courtyard, became the new seat of the National University, after the reform of Napoleon's period (1803).

Palazzina della Viola

Palazzina della Viola

The building made in the late 15th century shows a quadrangular layout and three fronts enlivened by a harmonious double open gallery.

Palazzo Malvezzi De' Medici

Palazzo Malvezzi De' Medici

The palace, seat of the Provincial administration, called "Palace of the dark arcade" derives its name from the typical dimness of its arcades.

Palazzo Magnani Salem

Palazzo Magnani Salem

Superb palace built in the old Strà (street) S. Donato, thus attesting the social rise of the Magnani family present in Bologna since the 13th century.

Palazzo Grassi

Palazzo Grassi

Together with few other noble dwellings - such as for instance Casa Isolani and Casa Reggiani - the palace is one of the few surviving examples of Medieval urban configuration.

Palazzo Isolani

Palazzo Isolani

Overlooking Santo Stefano Square (also known as the Sqaure of the Seven Churches), Palazzo Isolani offers since centuries its porches to one of the most beautiful walks around Bologna.

Palazzo di Residenza della Cassa di Risparmio di Bologna

Palazzo di Residenza della Cassa di Risparmio di Bologna

The Cassa di Risparmio of Bologna commissioned the building of its prestigious headquarters to one of the protagonists of Italian Eclecticism, Giuseppe Mengoni, well known for the construction in the same year (1868) of the Vittorio Emanuele Gallery in Milan. In less than five years the construction of the imposing building covered by variegated marble with iron and cast iron trimming was terminated and it stood on today's via Farini.

Palazzo delle Poste

Palazzo delle Poste

Palazzo delle Poste (post office palace) was designed in 1903 by the engineer Emilio Saffi.

Palazzo Sanuti Bevilacqua Degli Ariosti

Palazzo Sanuti Bevilacqua Degli Ariosti

The building of this magnificent palace opening on via D'Azeglio was commissioned between 1477 and 1482 by jurist Niccolò Sanuti and his spouse Nicolosia to an architect and workers perhaps from Tuscany or Ferrara. Its many stylistic choices, such as the lack of arcades and the use of smooth-angled ashlar similar to the Diamonds' Palace by Biagio Rossetti in Ferrara are not typically Bolognese.

Casa Morandi

Casa Morandi

Besides MAMbo (Modern Art Gallery), Museo Morandi (Morandi Museum), Villa delle Rose (Gallery) and the Museum dedicated to Ustica, the Istituzione Galleria D'Arte Moderna di Bologna (Institution of Modern Art Gallery of Bologna) has got a new space: the house where Morandi lived and worked almost all his life.

Casa Carducci

Casa Carducci

The Carducci House building dates back to the 16th century and witnesses an over two century-old history as a cult place. It is placed in the glacis of the ancient city walls between Porta Maggiore and Porta Santo Stefano.

Casa Isolani

Casa Isolani

Casa Isolani is one of the rare examples of civilian buildings from the 13th century.

Collegio di Spagna

Collegio di Spagna

This complex was founded in 1364, by Cardinal Egidio Albornoz, to host Spanish students enrolled in the famous university town.

Villa Aldini

Villa Aldini

The villa was built by Antonio Aldini, minister of Napoleon during the years 1811-16, according to a plan by Giuseppe Nadi.

Villa Aldrovandi Mazzacorati

Villa Aldrovandi Mazzacorati

The Villa is located in the Camaldoli estate purchased by Annibale Marescotti in 1616. A few years later, in 1690, after Raniero's death, the noble building and its gardens became the property of the Aldrovandi family. In the late 18th century the villa became the property of Marquis Mazzacorati. Now the villa houses the Historical Museum of Toy Soldiers "Mario Massacesi".

Villa delle Rose

Villa delle Rose

Villa delle Rose is the space dedicated by MAMbo to temporary exhibitions and to the organisation of events in collaboration with public and private stakeholders.
The villa, characterised by its evocative venue in the middle of the big park of the quarter Saragozza and by its simple and elegant architecture, was given to Comune di Bologna by the Countess Nerina Armandi Avogli in 1916.

Villa Spada

Villa Spada

The villa is located in the old estate of the marquis Zambeccari and replaced the building called Casino Zambeccari already mentioned by sources dating back to 1774. Since 1990 the villa has housed the Historical Museum of Tapestry "Vittorio Zironi".

Villa Impero

Villa Impero

Villa Impero was built in the early 19th century by Marquis Mazzacorati after a project by Francesco Tadolini as a building to be used for party and ceremonies for the extant Neo-classical Aldrovrandi villa at Camaldoli.

Teatro Comunale

Teatro Comunale

In 1756 the Bolognese Senate, thanks to Cardinal Lambertini's concrete involvement, assigned the task to design a new theatre to the famous stage designer and architect Antonio Galli Bibiena. The theatre was inaugurated in 1763 with the new opera 'Il Trionfo di Clelia' by Metastasio with music by Gluck and stage scenes by Bibiena.

Arena del Sole

Arena del Sole

The Arena del Sole is one of the historical theatres of Bologna. Its origins come to 1810. It was reopened in 1995 after eight years of reconstruction.

Teatro Duse

Teatro Duse

Seventeenth century theatre is traditionally the drama theatre of the city.
In 1822 it was purchased by Antonio Brunetti who rented it out to puppet shows (originally the theatre took its name from him and was named Brunetti). Today's dedication of the theatre to actress Eleonora Duse dates back to 1898 after a change of ownership.

Teatro di Villa Aldrovandi Mazzacorati

Teatro di Villa Aldrovandi Mazzacorati

This intimate, originally preserved gem of a theatre in the left wing of villa Aldrovandi Mazzacorati  is the only example of a suburban private theatre  found in the area of Bologna.

Teatro Alessandro Guardassoni

Teatro Alessandro Guardassoni

This small theatre is located in the piano nobile of Palazzo Montalto, thus called after the birth-place of its founder, Pope Sistus V, who at the end of the 16th century turned it as a university boarding school for young students from the Marches region. This function continued until the French revolution, to start anew in 1873 by today's Collegio San Luigi, previously known as Collegio dei Nobili under the Barnabite Brothers. In the private residence the area now occupied by the theatre is thought to have been in use as an elegant reception hall for balls and parties, as it is provided with a gallery for the orchestra.

Teatro Eden

Teatro Eden

The Eden theater, with its original Liberty frescoes of Belle Epoque style, between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century was the ancient café chantant Eden Kursaal, where the most famous vedettes of that period performed.

Teatro San Salvatore

Teatro San Salvatore

This theatre has a seating capacity of 100 people. It is located inside the monastery of San Salvatore.

Le due Torri: Garisenda e degli Asinelli

Le due Torri: Garisenda e degli Asinelli

The two towers Garisenda and Asinelli are the traditional symbol of Bologna, strategically standing where the old Aemilian way entered the town. In the late 12th century, at least one hundred towers dotted the town's skyline, but today only twenty have survived the ravages of fire, warfare and lightning.