The red, the fat, and the learned: The story behind Bologna's curious nicknames

May 12, 2017 2568

Bologna, the capital of Italy's northern Emilia Romagna region, has three curious nicknames: the red, the fat, and the learned. Contributor Dina Caruso explores the story behind each one. Bologna, the capital city of Italy's northern Emilia Romagna, often doesn't make it onto tourist itineraries, but after a year studying here, I can't imagine living in any other city.

I didn't know much about it before moving - it was the very fact that I had no idea what it would be like that appealed to me. But one of the first things I learned was that Bologna is nicknamed by locals as 'la dotta, la grassa, la rossa' (the learned, the fat, the red), and that these names come from three characteristics which define the city: Bologna’s historical university, its mouthwatering cuisine, and the long-standing connection to Italy’s anti-fascist movement and left-wing politics.

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