Bologna is called “The Learned” because it was in Bologna that the very first University was founded way back in 1088; that’s 930 years ago!
It was the first place of study to use the term universitas for the corporations of students and masters, which came to define the institution located in Bologna, Italy. The University’s crest carries the motto Alma mater studiorumand the date A.D. 1088.
The university is historically notable for its teaching of canon and civil law
Their Motto was: “Petrus ubique pater legum Bononia mater“, which in English means “[St] Peter is everywhere the father of the law, Bologna is its mother”
This building–the “Archiginnasio” dates back to the 16th century, that is when the University moved to this new location.
It is quite an intimidating building. It features a courtyard; two stairways lead to the upper floor where are located the study rooms of the legisti (students who studied civil and canon law), and the artisti (students of other subjects such as philosophy, literature and medicine).
The walls of the building have six thousand coats of arms painted on. The honor of putting a coat of arms on the walls was reserved for those students who were elected by other students as heads of the student organizations, and called councillors. The coats of arms indicate the home country or city of the student, along with the student’s name.
Just like the names of the students on the bricks of the GWU Campus in Washington DC!
Part II of Bologna the Red, the Learned, the Fat. Stay tuned for “The Fat” it may be the best part.