To Read a City: Urban History of Bologna since the Medieval Period

Francesco Ceccarelli

Based on the study of selected Italian cities in the north-central region, the goal of this course is to provide the tools to identify the historical and urban factors that have shaped the region Emilia-Romagna and its urban centers, primarily Bologna. Thanks to its well-preserved ancient historical center, Bologna lends itself to being read as a case study for understanding the city’s spatial organization, its architecture and the palimpsestual layering of the buildings constituting its patrimony. The course will alternate between a series of classroom lectures dedicated to the comprehension of diverse evolutionary phases of construction, and site visits to different aspects of Bologna’s urban fabric.

In order to be able to recognize the enduring materials of the city’s ancient infrastructure (such as walls, canals, and piazze), students will learn about mapping with the help of historical cartography and digital technology. Given the nature of the course and the need to develop a comparative approach, day trips to nearby cities are also planned.