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Bologna is the capital of the Bologna and Emilia-Romagna Region of Italy and has a population of about 372,256. This link was established in 1960.
Bologna is situated on a fertile plain at the foot of the Apennine Mountains. A major transport centre and agricultural market, Bologna is the meeting point for the principal roads and railways connecting northern Italy with the Tyrrhenian and southern Adriatic coasts.
Major industries include the manufacturing of farm machinery, steel, processed food, motor vehicles, and chemicals. Bologna is also the home of the University of Bologna, various publishing houses, and museums of painting, archaeology, and Etruscan artefacts.
The city was a great centre of learning and culture during the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. In the medieval heart of Bologna are buildings of warm-coloured brick and stucco, arcades lined with small shops, cobbled streets, and numerous piazzas. San Petronio, the most imposing church in Bologna, fronts onto the main plaza, the Piazza Maggiore. It was begun in 1390, but the exterior was never finished. Other notable churches are San Domenico and San Francesco. Modern suburbs surround the old inner city.