This charming medieval city with a color palate ranging from mustard yellow to brick red has a vibrant and distinct spirit, thanks to University of Bologna, which is one of Europe's oldest higher educational institutions. The story goes back to the 6th century BC, when the city was first established by the Etruscans. The Romans inherited the flag later around the 1st century BC, and Bologna prospered thanks to its vibrant textile industry, making it a wealthy metropolis only matched by Paris in the 13th century. The reminders of those golden days and the rivalry between aristocratic families are two magnificent tower houses known as Torre Assinelli and Torre Garisenda. They are the only surviving examples of around 100 towers that once adorned the city's skyline. Bologna has the largest old downtown of Europe, which is entered through 12 historic gates. Start your city stroll from the Piazza San Francesca that offers panoramic views of the city and take a pleasant walk down to Palazzo Re Enzo in the Old City, passing through many lush parks and gardens. Gastronomy enthusiasts should also remember that Bologna is the cradle of parmesan cheese, mortadella sausages and Sangiovese wines. A typical meal consists of dishes like "tagliatelle al ragù" (known as spaghetti Bolognese) or "cotelette alla Bolognese" (cutlet Bolognese) and you could taste the best Bolognese products and dishes in the food shops and restaurants along the street of Via Pescherie Vecchie. 

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