Once Via Galliera was the main street leading to the north from Bologna's centre. That changed when broad, straight Via dell'Indipendenza was blasted through the old quarters in 1890 to connect the centre with the rail station. Bombed in the War, the area has a mix of old and new that was neglected for decades, but recently its relatively low rents have attracted the young and creative.
The lower part of Via Galliena remains a street of impressive porticoed palaces, from the days of the Bentivoglio to the 1700s. It starts in obscurity among the narrow alleys north of Piazza Maggiore, but there are attractions all around. To the left, on Via Parigi, there's San Colombano-Collezione Tagliavini, where a beautifully restored church houses a unique collection of antique musical instruments. To the right, on Via Manzoni, is Bologna's excellent museum of medieval art, the Museo Civico Medioevale, and facing it the church of the Madonna di Galliera, with an unusual Renaissance facade.
West of the Medieval Museum, first of the palaces is the Palazzo Aldovrandi (1725), home of one of Bologna’s great families, with a dash of Rococo style in its ornate window grilles, and across the street the cinquecento Palazzo dal Monte. Next to the Aldovrandi is the woebegone church of Santa Maria Maggiore, sadly in need of restoration, and then the Palazzo Felicini, from the 1490s. This stands at the corner of Via Riva di Reno, a street that followed the course of the Reno canal. Once lined with mills, this was medieval Bologna’s industrial zone.
Image by Origen de Bologna