Student hot spot and social melting pot, go to Piazza Verdi for a unique Bolognaise experience.
Sat half way along the student street, Via Zamboni, Piazza Verdi is a hive of activity every day, thronging with students and bon vivants alike. Home to ‘La Scuderia’ Café, it is a natural meeting point and arguably the hub of ‘il giro di Bologna’, Bologna’s social scene, a constant cycle of events, concerts, markets, street performances and club nights.
Besides the street parties and the cheap beer, however, Piazza Verdi is a fascinating social melting pot and offers a unique opportunity to see many different layers of Italian society overlap. The Piazza has been a home to students for centuries and has recently been adopted by the growing migrant population. There is also an almost constant police presence, partly due to the turbulent history of student activism in the area and also in an attempt to limit the activity of street vendors, some more clandestine than others, who frequent the Piazza. Piazza Verdi is flanked by bars on one side and by the Teatro Comunale di Bologna on the other, the city’s opera house. By day the Teatro sound system blares out classical music, contributing an unexpected flavour to the rugged Piazza. By night queues of theatre goers gather outside, ties tightly knotted and shoes polished, mostly oblivious to the drumming and dancing in the opposite corner of the piazza just as the drummers are blind to them. Piazza Verdi quietly caters for everyone, from students to tourists to migrants to street vendors to theatre lovers to homeless people to party goers, existing together in a bizarre harmony which is only occasionally disturbed by an exaggerated police presence.
To see Piazza Verdi at its best go between 7pm and 10pm. It will likely be full of people sitting on the floor drinking beer and chatting, perhaps a guitarist strumming a song. Later the atmosphere can sour slightly; however, every day in Piazza Verdi is slightly different and is undoubtedly worth experiencing.