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Bologna, capital of the province of Emilia-Romagna, is a historic city of northern Italy, noted for its medieval architecture - in particular, the defensive towers erected by prominent local families - and as a centre of gastronomy (ragù, known outside Italy as bolognese sauce is a local speciality, as is the mortadella sausage). The University of Bologna, founded in AD 1088, is the oldest in the western world. Bologna was also noted for left-wing politics: between 1945 and 1999 the city was ruled by communists and socialists. In 1980 a terrorist bomb killed 86 people at the city's main railroad station.