The very heart of Bologna is between Piazza Nettuno and Piazza Maggiore, centre of most of the history of the city. Let's visit those monuments and buildings keeping the secret of the ancient past of Bologna. When we reach Piazza Nettuno, we can see, in the middle, the fountain
with the majestic statue of Neptune, the god of the sea, while he is appeasing the waves. The building on the left is Palazzo di Re Renzo
, whose name refers to an important prisoner, Frederic II of Swabia's
son, who spent in this building the rest of his life, treated like a king. The new wing of the building, which overlooks Piazza Maggiore, is the Palazzo del Podestà
where the highest city authorities stayed in the Middle Ages. At the centre of the long porch there is the cross of arches, called Podestà's Vault, and the Arengo Tower, with the Campanazzo. In front of it there is the square, a wide surface that represented the political and religious power of Bologna for many centuries. Once festivals, palios and jousts were held here, and nowadays, it is still one of the main meeting points of the city, where parties, concerts, debates are held, and where people have a walk.
In the middle of the square there is a sidewalk people from Bologna call the "Crescentone", referring to the local focaccia ( a kind of flat bread), called "crescente". The eastern part of the square is dominated by the huge Basilica of San Petronio
, popular for its unfinished fašade. Let's visit it, but before we have to take a look at the Porta Magna ( the main door), by Jacopo della Quercia.