Piazza Azzarita owes its modern appearance to the restorations that took place after World War II. Bologna’s Ospedale Maggiore, a hospital destroyed during the war and transferred to its current location in Via Saffi, used to stand near Azzarita square.
This entire area of the city was not as populated as it is today. In fact, it was almost uninhabited and therefore proved to be the perfect place to hold, during the war, the so-called “orti di guerra”, i.e. vegetable gardens to provide for the Bolognese citizens, helping them survive during the shortages caused by war.
A main feature of the square was the nearby Reno water canal, a main hydric artery of the city now buried but still visible under the parking lots of Via Riva di Reno. Nowadays one of the main sports halls of Bologna stands in the square, and it is frequently used to host events and concerts.
The sports hall, that can hold up to 6000 spectators, was dedicated in 1996 to Bologna’s mayor, Giuseppe Dozza, on whose behalf it was built in 1956 following the design of Francesco Allegra. Its construction satisfied the city’s need for a bigger place as the Sala Borsa (currently a library) was not big enough to contain sport activities and teams, especially basketball games.
A small yellow building at the front of the Azzarita square, used as the exit from the underground parking lot, reminds us of the presence of many street artists in Bologna. This area shows the works of Levalet, street artist who uses the poster technique, that is first designing and spraying on a paper sheet and then attaching it to the wall. The artwork that can be admired in this site is called “The Hunt” and represents some clumsy ninja hunting a rhinoceros.