Over the centuries, Bologna has acquired many nicknames: "the fat" (la grassa) refers to its cuisine, in which the most famous specialities are prepared using rich meats (especially pork), egg pasta and dairy products, such as butter and Parmesan. Another nickname that has been given to the city is "the red" (la rossa), which was originally used as a reference to the colour of the buildings in the city centre, has later become connected with the communist ideology supported by the majority of the population, in particular after World War II: until the election of a centre-right mayor in 1999, the city was renowned as a bastion of the Italian Communist Party. The centre-left regained power again in the 2004 mayoral elections, with the election of Sergio Cofferati. It was one of the first European cities to experiment with the concept of free public transport. Bologna has also two other nicknames: the first one, "the towered" (la turrita) refers to the high number of medieval towers that can be found in the city, even if today only 24 towers are still standing. The second one, "the learned" (la dotta) is a reference to its university.
In terms of total GDP, the Metropolitan City of Bologna generated a value of about €35 billion ($40.6 billion) in 2017, equivalent to €34,251 ($40,165) per capita, the third highest figure among Italian provinces (after Milan and Bolzano/Bozen).
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