WEIGHT: 55 kg
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B ologna stakes a claim to being the oldest university city in Europe, perhaps the world, and a roll call of the alumni of its founded institution throws up names such as Erasmus of Rotterdam, Thomas Becket, several popes, Copernicus and, more recently, Guglielmo Marconi.
Two screens show the latest releases and arthouse favourites, all in the original language, not dubbed. Anyone can access the library, with its huge collection of posters, memorabilia and movies on video, and watch in a screening room free.
Though few of the original glasshouses remain, you can sit out in the ornate plant and herb gardens, where there is a busy programme of concerts, poetry readings and video screenings. Forget the crowded historic and gourmet addresses featured in guidebooks — Becco Di Legno is one of the last genuine osterie in the city, and offers a real slice of Bologna life. In the s there were lots of watering holes like this, but most have disappeared.
The cook has been running the tiny kitchen for 60 years, they have no website or Facebook page, and you need to call first to be sure of a table. The food may not be elaborate, but it is tasty and inexpensive. The main thing people come for is an evening of what Bolognesi call balotta — hanging out with friends.
Bologna was the first city in Italy to allow a municipal building to be used as an LGBT centre, back in It was a huge scandal at the time, but today Il Cassero is a local institution.