Gilberto Cavallini, 67, a former member of the far-right Armed Revolutionary Nucleus (NAR), was found guilty of providing logistical support to the perpetrators of the attack in the north-eastern Italian city.

On August 2, 1980, a bomb exploded in the railway station’s waiting room, killing 85 people and injuring more than 200.

The attack was one of the worst committed during Italy’s violent Years of Lead, which lasted from the late 1960s until the 1980s.

During that era of political turmoil, Italy was hit by more than 12,000 terrorist attacks in which 362 people died.

The most notorious act was the kidnapping and assassination of former prime minister Aldo Moro in 1978.

The attacks, aimed at destabilising the government in Rome within the context of the Cold War, were blamed on far-left groups and in other cases, such as in Bologna, on far-right militants.

Cavallini, who has confessed to a number of crimes including robberies and murder, has already spent 37 years in prison and was on day release, Italian media reported.

But he has said he is innocent of involvement in the Bologna attack.

“I’m in prison since September 1983, that’s more than 37 years,” he told the court.

“These are years in prison that I deserve... I deserve the convictions, but I don’t accept having to pay for what I have not done.”

Cavallini was not present when the verdict was read out on Thursday.

Around 30 of the victims’ relatives greeted the sentence with visible satisfaction.