A City of remote origins (the first documented settlements were around the Villanovan times, 4th Century BC); it became Etruscan Felsina in the 6th Century BC, and was conquered by the Galli Boi. Then from 189 it became a Latin colony which was given the name of Bononia, allowing it to become an important road link with the opening up of the Via Emilia. After the Barbaric invasions, it managed to get back on its feet only during the 11th Century, due to a free council (1114), therefore allowing it to enjoy a period of maximum commercial, political and cultural splendour - (the university or so called Stadium was founded, the oldest and for many centuries, one of the must illustrious in Europe).
The City guelphed in battle against the Emperor, and King Enzo was imprisoned, son of Federico II, being captured during the Battle of Fossalta (1249). The decline began due to the battles between factions with origins from the Nobles of Pepoli (1337-1350), the Visconti and the Bentivoglio (1401-1506). With Pope Giulio II (1506), the City passed into the hands of the Church; from 1796 it enjoyed ten years of Republican Freedom (Repubblica Cosalpina and Cispadana and Repubblica Italiana during the Napoleonic period), therefore returning to Papal dominium and in 1860 it was joined in under the Italian Government.

The Roman structure of the city was erased by adjustments which came about during Medieval times and recognizable only in the centre. The traces of medieval roads, which begin at the centre and spread out towards the doors of the old wall, still constitute the main structure of the City today.
The City took on its characteristic look during the 11th and 12th Centuries, with its first: noble two-floored houses, containing typical wooden projections supported by girders and trunks and by brackets and shelves; also by the presence of the famous 180 towers (a huge number in proportion to the spread of the habitation). Those who are missing are remembered by the towers of Garisendi and Asinelli; the second one being constructed in 1109 by Gherardo Asinelli, elegantly and prodigiously intact in its 97,6 metres in height.
On the facades and in the courtyards of the mansions, terracotta was mainly used, with its warm colours blending in well with those of the brickwork. During the 12th and 13th Centuries, the projections of the most frequented houses jutted out as porches; these same low porches of these medieval houses, gave Bologna a typical look, which it has maintained over the centuries. The porches of via Santo Stefano are very impressive with their luminous arches opening out towards the homonymous church, the most famous Roman complex of the City, which also contains the Cloister, the Blessed Sepulchre, Paleo-Christian and pre-Roman Cathedrals.

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