Bologna Stock Exchange: the locations and the historical events
The Bologna Stock Exchange was established by decree of the Kingdom of Italy on 13 November 1861. The institutional history of the Bologna marketplace thus unfolded entirely under the legal and organisational framework of post-Unification Italy.
During the early years of the 20th century, low trading volumes led to the closure of the Stock Exchange in 1909. It was officially reopened by decree on 20 May 1926, and two months later the new hall was inaugurated. Given the small number of stockbrokers employed, from 1926 onwards the functions of the Executive Committee were performed by a Listing Committee in Bologna. The Bologna Stock Exchange continued to operate until the early 1990s.
Because the Merchandise and Stock Exchanges overlapped, even physically, the vitality of the former always stood out as one of the main Italian marketplaces for agricultural commodities, while the latter, which was never able to muster a large trading volume of securities and cash, appeared rather lifeless in contrast. Throughout the 1800s, the Bologna Stock Exchange also had to compete with other exchanges active in the same geographical area: those of Ancona and Ferrara. Like the other “minor” exchanges in the period following the World War Two, the Bologna marketplace was increasingly affected by the popularity of the Milan exchange and its activities were concentrated increasingly on arbitrage with other marketplaces.
The hall where the Bologna Stock Exchange was housed for a long period was inside the old Officinal Herb Garden of the Town Hall in Piazza del Nettuno. The structure was completed to provide a home for the Stock Exchange between 1883 and 1886 with the construction of a skylight made from cast iron and glass. In the 1920s, promoted by the Cassa di Risparmio di Bologna, the building was renovated and enlarged and on 17 July 1926 it was inaugurated with the participation of Minister Volpi. During the 1950s the hall was used temporarily as a basketball stadium.
The Stock Exchange shared its space with the much more active Merchandise Exchange until the 1970s, when the new Palazzo degli Affari was built further away from the centre in Piazza Costituzione, now the seat of the Chamber of Commerce and the Merchandise Exchange. The Stock Exchange Hall in the Piazza del Nettuno building is now the seat of the Public Library.