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  7. Ninth week: from Finale Ligure to Padova

Ninth week: from Finale Ligure to Padova









Finale Ligure






Comune di Ottone




Comune di Ottone






Reggio Emilia




Reggio Emilia

Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna





Università degli Studi Padova


We continue to record each place we visit, collecting visions of towers, pinnacles, botanical gardens, ancient campuses, decorated entryways and emblems of sites steeped in knowledge.

From the heights of the rocky ridges that stretch across the Riviera di Ponente we witness a panoramic view reaching toward the Baia di Bergeggi, the Priamar Fortress, and the city of Varazze (derived from its Latin name Varagine). This is how we reach Genoa (UNESCO), a city born from the sea. Once called Strada Nuova, via Garibaldi offers the viewpoint of loggias, courtyards, and spectacular open staircases. The University of Genoa’s principal building had once housed the College of Jesuits, where Bartolomeo Sovero, who later taught mathematics in Padua, had studied.

We travel through Val Trebbia on the second and third day of this week’s journey, leaving behind Genoa to surf the winding route that connects us to Piacenza.  Here, the jurist Raffaele Fulgosio and the anatomist Giulio Cesare Casseri were born and both eventually found their way to Padua.

Departing from Reggio Emilia on the fifth day of our journey, we arrive in Modena (UNESCO), where the doctor and naturalist Antonio Vallisneri graduated and the astronomer Geminiano Montanari, who published a hoax of random predictions to show the fallacy behind astrology, was born.

At the end of this stretch on the fifth day, we arrive in Bologna (UNESCO), the ideal city to escape your troubles as much as it is a place to devote oneself to knowledge. It is here that we once again look into the mirror only to find a reflection of our history. The Archiginnasio building presents long arches supported by columns and a central courtyard with loggias and a staircase that leads to the upper floor. The coats of arms line the walls while the lower portico displays several busts of ancient lecturers and those from medieval schools. Unveiled around 1365-67, the wall includes a bust of Spanish Cardinal Gil de Albornoz who founded the Royal College of Spain in Bologna.

It is fruitless to transcribe a list of all those who lived in Padua and Bologna. Yet, even with names such as Girolamo Carano, Gabriele Zerbi, Francesco Zabarella, Ludovico Cortusi, Speron Speroni, Pietro Pomponazzi, Gregorio Ricci-Curbastro, Augusto Righi, and Giuseppe Fiocco our long catalogue would have only just begun.

Leaving Bologna, we pass Ferrara (UNESCO) where Copernicus and Janus Pannonius (aka Ivan Česmički) studied. Here, one can visit Palazzo Paradiso, which temporarily represented the headquarters of Ferrara University.

Eager to return home, we cease to stop and continue along the Po River until we reach Rovigo, Monselice, and finally Padua (UNESCO). Defined by Shakespeare as the nursery of arts, it is home in Padua where we end the ninth and last stage of the Scholares Vagantes.


The date most commonly cited for the foundation of University of Bologna is 1088, and since the Middle Ages, it has been considered the oldest university in the Western world.

First born as a spontaneous and informal initiative of students, the university was implicitly recognized in 1155 when Emperor Frederick Barbarossa granted its students and teachers certain privileges and protections. The Municipality soon understood the potential of this new institution and began to support it.

The idea of a municipal and a university, as two medieval inventions, arose together under the presents of the Protomaestro and esteemed jurist Irnerius, also known as Guarnerius or Warnerius.

The university did not comprise of specific buildings or halls during its first few hundred years of activity.  Lessons were either held under the arcades, in rented lecture theatres, or in spaces offered by monasteries.

In the 13th century, pupils gathered in groups based on their nationality, which then grew into associations called universitates led by a rector, therefore, the school was entrusted to the students and not, as in the Parisian case, to its educators.

In the fifteenth century, the power of the Bentivoglio family asserted itself in the city by calling upon the addition of illustrious teachers for its university.

In the sixteenth century, the Archiginnasio Palace was built as communal space for different schools that had been scattered throughout the city.

The consequences of the Council of Trent, led to the University of Bologna losing its independence. As a result, students were asked to profess their faith to the church and respect that they would no longer be permitted to elect the rector.

Pressures from the Church and the papacy were felt in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as we see the institution decline. These difficult years were evident, regardless of Bologna’s redeeming addition of Marcello Malpighi, Domenico Guglielmini, and Luigi Ferdinando Marsili, the brilliant minds who founded the Institute of Sciences.

The University of Bologna was reborn during the Napoleonic age. Becoming state-owned and transferring its headquarters to Palazzo Poggi in the sixteenth-century. Unfortunately, after Napoleon’s fall many of the modern visions of the university were repealed, only with the Unification of Italy did Bologna, the Alma Mater, take on a new role as guide and model for the nation.

Today the Alma Mater holds 32 departments, 5 schools, and 12 research centers throughout the Emilia-Romagna region. With over 90,000 students that include almost 7000 from abroad, the University of Bologna enjoys top international rankings for its quality of teaching and research while focusing an eye on the future.

The team of the week

My life has always been marked by sport it gave me the energy that drive my desire for knowledge. Sport brought me to Padua and to its university, it was here that I knew I could cultivate my competitive spirit and passion for science. It has been a journey, one that has never stopped, not for my mind nor my legs! Padua is where I found pleasure in cycling! The Scholares Vagantes is the perfect tribute to this University and this city.
Francesco Fascetti Leon

Francesco Fascetti Leon

«Un voyage se passe de motifs» (“Traveling outgrows its motives”), but this time everything was based on motive, everything was wanted: the bicycle, my candidacy for the Nobel Peace Prize; the relay itself. I am reminded how each stage is the result of all those that came before it and the memory of those which have yet to come; the slow path of the history of my university, a community which come whole to my present as a place of strength and belonging. A perfect weave that bonds passion with thought.
Maurizio Minicuci

Maurizio Minicuci

I love Italy.  Cycling for long distances and participating in cycling events has always been my dream. When I read the email about this opportunity, I was very excited. Representing the University of Padua, it is a source of great pride for me, especially as it turns 800 years old!
Hussam Elsheemy

Hussam Elsheemy

The values promoted by the Scholares Vagantes initiative, sport, health, well-being, mobility and collaboration, are very important for my life and my work. I really enjoy sports; cycling is my only means of transportations and on a bike is how I get around in my daily city life. There was no hesitation for me to volunteer for this university initiative and I am proud to be part of it. In this difficult moment in the history of humanity, higher education, science, and culture must be the guiding compass for a future of well-being and peace.
Fabio Munari

Fabio Munari


Ceremony in Bologna
Friday June 17, at the University of Bologna (Palazzo Poggi), the ceremony was held in the presence of the Rector of Bologna, Giovanni Molari, of the president of the Unibo University Sports Committee, Alessandro Bortolotti, and of the Unipd Vice-Rectors Antonio Paoli and Paolo Sambo.

Main sponsor


Technical sponsor

De Marchi Rudy project Elastic interface