Population: 372,000. Under one-third are over 65 years of age; 95,000 are students. One million people live in the greater Bologna area.

Average annual rent for a centrally located retail space (2007): 340 euros, or $466 per square meter, or $43.30 per square foot.

High-profile Bologna-based companies: Ducati, La Perla, Les Copains, Maserati, Lamborghini, Yoox, Italian supermarket chain Coop and Regazzi, a manufacturer of high-end violins.

Nicknames: “La Dotta” (“The Learned One”), because of the University of Bologna, the second largest in Italy with more than 100,000 students; “La Grassa” (“The Fat One”), for its renowned cuisine, and “Basket City” (even the Italians use English here) because unlike other Italian cities preoccupied by soccer, Bologna fans have a passion for basketball.

Location: One hour and 45 minutes south of Milan and one hour north of Florence by Eurostar train.

Sources: Council of Bologna, Nomisma, Columbia University Press, Mapsoftheworld.com

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