This building was the ancient “Salara”, a salt and grain warehouse built between 1783-1785. Previously, this immediate area underwent a major transformation to open up the city’s waterways to boats. In 1548, work began under Jacopo Barozzi from Vignola and Jacopo Marcoaldi from Bologna to erect a new port and canals, hence the importance of this area.
Since the 2nd of March 2002, the Comune of Bologna gave the building over to the ‘Comitato Provinciale Arcigay il Cassero’ a movement founded in 1982 to promote and improve gay and lesbian social equalities. In here too, is the headquarters for the national gay organization Arcigay.
The association provides many services both on a local and national level and Cassero is where Italy’s first openly homosexual members of parliament began working: Franco Grillini and Titti De Simone.
Services provided here include: Health & Well Being, Cultural activities, Library and archived material, Political and Communications. The internal library referred to as ‘Centro documentazione cassero’ (CDC) is also officially linked into the main city library and contains a wealth of information related to their activities.
On the bottom level is a bar and disco area. Many theatrical events are staged here as well as the usual host of parties and special occasions.
This building was erected by master builder Giuseppe Antonio Lanfranchini with the sole purpose to store up to 8,500 sacks brought in from Romagna. Its appearance as a military fort was due to an additional request to add a grain storage, therefore, 12 bastions were constructed.
Next to here, stood many other ancient buildings from the 1500s. A church, osterias and even a theatre stood here but sadly went into serious decline after the arrival of the railway. Further urban development in 1934 eventually demolished any remaining evidence. This sturdy and unwieldy structure of the Salara is the sole survivor of that period when Bologna was once ruled by a flotilla of boats that were an essential economic infrastructure until the 19th century.
Sassatelli, Giuseppe; Govi, Cristiana Morigi; Ortalli, Jacopo; Bocchi, Francesca. Atlante Storico Delle Città Italiane Emilia Romagna Bologna, Bologna IV, Bologna 1996, p185.