Bologna is the capital and largest city of the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy. It is the seventh most populous city in Italy with about 390,000 inhabitants and 150 different nationalities. Its metropolitan area is home to more than 1,000,000 people.
Originally Etruscan, the city has been one of the most important urban centres for centuries, first under the Etruscans (who called it Felsina), then under the Celts as Bona, later under the Romans (Bonōnia), then again in the Middle Ages, as a free municipality and signoria, when it was among the largest European cities by population. Famous for its towers, churches and lengthy porticoes, Bologna has a well-preserved historical centre, thanks to a careful restoration and conservation policy which began at the end of the 1970s.Home to the oldest university in the Western world.
Bologna is situated on the edge of the Po Plain at the foot of the Apennine Mountains, at the meeting of the Reno and Savena river valleys. As Bologna's two main watercourses flow directly to the sea, the town lies outside of the drainage basin of the River Po. The Province of Bologna stretches from the western edge of the Po Plain on the border with Ferrara to the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. The centre of the town is 54 metres (177 ft) above sea level (while elevation within the municipality ranges from 29 metres (95 ft) in the suburb of Corticella to 300 metres (980 ft) in Sabbiuno and the Colle della Guardia). The Province of Bologna stretches from the Po Plain into the Apennines; the highest point in the province is the peak of Corno alle Scale (in Lizzano in Belvedere) at 1,945 metres (6,381 ft) above sea level.