Johannes Brahms a Bologna, in "Nuova Rivista Musicale Italiana", XXXVIII, VIII nuova serie, 1, gennaio-marzo 2004, pp. 101-133.

Il padiglione della musicaDuring his several stayings in Italy, Brahms had the opportunity to stop in Bologna three times. In the course of his staying from 10 September to 1 October 1882, he was together with his friend Billroth in Milan, Turin, Genoa, Florence, Bologna and  Venice. In 1887 he was in Vicenza, Verona, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Pisa, Genoa and Milan with Theodor Kirchner and with publisher Simrock from 25 April to 15 May. He spent about 3 weeks on another journey to Italy together with Swiss poet and journalist Joseph Viktor Widmann in 1888; after his staying in Bologna, on his way back from Verona, Brahms went on to Rimini, San Marino, Ancon, Loreto, Spoleto, Terni, Rome, Il palazzo della musicaTivoli, and then backed to Turin and Milan and the San Gottardo to arrive at Thun, Switzerland, where he used to spend his summers.
His staying in Bologna in 1888 is the most widely documented. Johannes Brahms was very fond of Italy and had made an appointment with Widmann in Verona on 7 May (his birthday). Widmann, who had met  Brahms in 1866 and
who  used to accompany him on his summer holidays, witnessed it in two important writings of his: Johannes I giardini dell'Esposizione UniversaleBrahms in Erinnerungen (1897) and Sizilien und andere Gegenden Italiens, Reise mit Johannes Brahms (1898).
As a detailed, particularly relevant diary of Brahms’s staying in Bologna in May 1888, they are a reliable starting point to reconstruct the various stages of the famous German composer’s Bolognese staying. On  the basis of Widmann’s narration, Brahms left Verona for Bologna on the day
after his birthday, that is on Tuesday 8 May and arrived there in the morning. Widmann does not provide other dates relative to the days immediately after, howeverPadiglione degli strumenti musicali the dates and the detailed times can be deduced from the contemporary newspapers, which dealt fully with  the events Brahms participated in. Brahms was travelling incognito, therefore no newspaper gave the news of his presence in town.Immediately after his arrival in Bologna, Brahms went to the Emilian Universal Exhibition and to the 5 p.m. concert, which was played with ancient instruments. On Wednesday 9 May he visited the town and in the I reali in visita all'Esposizioneafternoon he attended the blessing ceremony by St.Luca’s Madonna in Piazza Maggiore, in the presence of the Queen of Italy (nowadays , this ceremony still takes place in Bologna on Wednesday afternoon); in the evening he went to a representation at Teatro Brunetti, where the Vitale Company was staging the ballet “Orfeo all’Inferno”. On 10 may he received the visit of Giuseppe Martucci, the director of Liceo Musicale; he probably left for Rimini on 11 May. We find him in San Marino on 12 May, as from a postcard written from the Titan Republic on that date. According to this reconstruction, Brahms was in Bologna from 8 to 11 May. This is sufficiently reliable, on the basis of the documents available, although with no absolute certainty upon the date of departure from Bologna. 

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