Bologna is no Baloney

Before you ask: yes, Bolognese sauce for pasta does trace its origins back to Bologna, Italy. As does Bologna sausage (and by extension, its American successor, baloney).

But food aside, Italy’s northern city does have some other interesting claims to fame. Like the University of Bologna, which dating back to 1088 makes it the oldest existing university in Europe. Even more interestingly, this university was in 1400 the birthplace of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, founded by students to offer each other mutual protection against the corrupt governor of Bologna at the time, who as an ex-pirate liked to send his men to assault and rob university students. Today there are chapters worldwide, and in the U.S. this fraternity has the most new pledges every year of any other. Famous members have included Bob Dole, Robert Redford, Ted Turner and Edward Murrow.

Unlike Venice or Verona, Bologna is hardly a mass tourist destination, and walking down the streets provided a great feel for the lively and enjoyable flair of local life.

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