Bologna, the European Capital of Culture in 2000 and the UNESCO “City of Music” in 2006, has Europe’s second largest historic centre, famous for its Roman heritage, for its medieval, renaissance and baroque artistic monuments, lengthy porticoes, medieval towers and the remains of its 13th century walls. The city is also well known for the Univer...
Bologna, the European Capital of Culture in 2000 and the UNESCO “City of Music” in 2006, has Europe’s second largest historic centre, famous for its Roman heritage, for its medieval, renaissance and baroque artistic monuments, lengthy porticoes, medieval towers and the remains of its 13th century walls. The city is also well known for the University of Bologna being the oldest university in Europe founded in 1088, and its impressive trade fair district, prestigious cultural, economic and political institutions attract millions of visitors from around the world as well.
Its popular landmark, the Portico di San Luca, is one of the longest arcades in the world being 3,5 km long and consisting of 666 arcades, connecting Porta Saragozza and the center of the town with the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca on Colle della Guardia, originally meant to protect the miraculous virgin icon of the Sanctuary. Other top attractions include the symbol of the town, the Due Torri towers of Bologna (Asinelli and Garisenda), the Piazza Maggiore and the Piazza del Nettuno, the impressive Morandi Museum, the Palazzo di Re Enzo, the Governors Palace, the Basilica di San Pietro, and numerous other famous churches and historical landmarks.
Designed by the architect Antonio Galo Bibiena although opposed by several others who lost the design competition - the theatre was inaugurated on 14 May 1763 with a performance ofGluck's Il trionfo di Clelia, an opera which the composer had written for the occasion. A bell-shaped auditorium consisting of four tiers of boxes plus a royal box and small gallery with a ceiling decorated as if open to the sky was built primarily of masonry as a protection against fire. However, much work remained unfinished, the facade in particular which was not completed until 1936. Also, many of the backstage facilities which would allow for the presentations of operas were unfinished and only completed due to competition from another theatre in 1805.
The 19th century saw the presentation of twenty operas by Gioacchino Rossini, while seven of Vincenzo Bellini's ten operas were presented in the 1830s. Works by Giuseppe Verdi and, later in 1871, the Italian premiere of Richard Wagner's Lohengrin dominated the theatre's repertoire as the century progressed. In fact, Bologna became the location for several other Wagner opera premieres in Italy, notably with the composer present for his Rienzi.