Hotel Porta San Mamolo is located in the heart of Bologna, home of the oldest university in the Western World and the only historic medieval city on the planet to boast 38 km of arcaded streets.
The hotel as it is today was officially opened in 2001 following meticulous renovation and refurbishment works. It originally boasted 20 rooms.
Over the years, it has expanded into its neighbouring “blocks” to become the hotel it is today.
The hotel is split into four different blocks: “Falcone Cloister”, the central part that houses the Reception; “Garden Court”, the courtyard garden and heart of the hotel, which exudes a magical and relaxing atmosphere thanks to the array of new and unique plant and flower varieties; the “Orangerie”, the new breakfast room located in the middle of Garden Court that benefits from a new patio area for breakfasting outdoors in the spring and summer months; and “Mirasole Tower”, so-called because it looks like a medieval tower.
The original hotel was opened in a historic “fortified castle” in the old town, having been fully renovated to really enhance its unique features. The hotel is situated on “Vicolo del Falcone” in the Santo Stefano district, both of which are steeped in history.
The origin of the name “Vicolo del Falcone” is relatively recent, dating back as it does to 1877.
The street is part of a group of streets known as Mirasoli until the end of the thirteenth century.
The Burgus Miralsolis is actually recorded in the appraisals of 1296/97.
Today, via del Falcone is the most southerly of the three Mirasoli. The other two are via Solferino (formerly Mirasol Grande, the most northerly) and via Mirasole (formerly Mirasole di Mezzo).
Giovanni Zanti’s note that the Mirasoli were also called Braine is interesting. This tells us that in Giovanni Zanti’s sixteenth-century Bologna, the Mirasoli were predominantly open, grassy spaces with few buildings, hence the name braine. During the long toponymical reform process of 1873-78, it was initially decided to change the name “Mirasole di Sopra” to “Vicolo Mirasole”. However, the Zoboli Dall’Olio report pointed out the risk of ambiguity as a “via Mirasole” already existed (formerly Mirasole di Mezzo) and instead proposed “Vicolo del Falcone”, citing the fact that some houses in this street were already known by this name. There in unfortunately no written evidence that these houses were called Falcone. The hypothesis of Mario Fanti in “Le Vie di Bologna. Saggio di Toponomastica Storica” (The Streets of Bologna. Paper on Historical Toponymy) (I,344) is that the name may derive from a “del Falcone” sign of a nearby shop or tavern, although there is no documentary evidence to support this supposition.