I have tried to live elsewhere, but it was like stretching a rubber band, and in the end, I had to let go and it catapulted me back there.
Lucio Dalla

“I have tried to live elsewhere, but it was like stretching a rubber band, and in the end, I had to let go and it catapulted me back there.”
Lucio Dalla described the bond that there was between him and his hometown with these words.
Some places can touch your heart to some extent; others take it over completely and forever, linking them to some melancholy memory, which is always with you. You can travel the world, but no other place has the same enchanting effect.
Bologna has always been an important source of inspiration for many artists, but for Lucio Dalla it was something deeper, it represented the sufferings and experiences of his life. Under its arches, through its alleys, full of atmosphere and tradition, the famous Italian singer absorbed the emotional energy that transformed his songs into great musical masterpieces, acclaimed by all generations.

“Dark Bologna”, a town you would not expect

The Italian singer describes Bologna in the song “Dark Bologna”, which was published in 2006 and it is included in the album “12000 lune”. In this song, the main town of Emilia-Romagna is given an abstract and dreamlike quality. Only people who are born there can understand its multiplicity. Imagine walking along the street and through the ancient arches, in Lucio Dalla’s footsteps, getting to Indipendenza Street, looking forward to eating a slice of pizza from the famous Altero Pizzeria. When night falls, Bologna is a surprise: it transforms into an alluring enchantress. If you love tales of magic, you can discover the mysterious side of this town.

There are several themed walks, from Via del Cane, through Portico dei Bastardini, Piazza San Domenico to Via dell’Orto and beyond. On these walks, tourists find themselves in a parallel universe that is represented by mysterious figures, like wizards, astrologists and alchemists. But the esoteric custom continues at Santuario di San Luca where sacred and profane mingle together. It is that same place, the Santuario di San Luca, that Lucio Dalla describes, with love, in the first lines of “Dark Bologna”. Its lights illuminate his way home.

“Piazza Grande”, the freedom to be yourself

Lucio Dalla sang “I haven’t a real family, my home is Piazza Grande”. This fantastic song expresses the desire to live how one wants; to have the freedom to choose a starry (night) sky and old cobblestones for a bed. And this “bed” is special if it is Piazza Maggiore, in the city centre, where there is the Statue of Neptune, which represents the ancient symbol of papal power. There is also Basilica di San Petronio, dedicated to the patron saint of Bologna. In that square the inhabitants of Bologna came together to say a final farewell to the famous singer-songwriter, six years ago. 

From Piazza Maggiore you can reach Via D’Azeglio, where you can find Lucio Dalla’s office. The inhabitants of Bologna have shown their love for their famous citizen with a modern installation, made by the artist Mario Martinelli, after Dalla’s death, which represents the singer-songwriter with his beloved saxophone. This work of art can be seen on the wall of Lucio Dalla’s house, in Piazza dei Celestini. Few artists have narrated the great beauty of Bologna like Lucio Dalla.