We’re back at home in not so sunny North Yorkshire, after two magnificent weeks in Florence and Bologna. We’ve got some magnificent memories and over 1000 pictures to remember our trip by.
Today’s photo will be the last of my daily postings: next week we’re back to normal, but I’ll write some extended articles about Italy later in the year.
One of the features of Bologna that’s really noticeable are the miles of arched colonades that provide covered walkways all round the city. The biggest of them all, the longest colonaded walkway in the world, stretches almost four kilometres from the city centre to the hilltop shrine of St Luca. Today’s picture is a stretch of that walkway.
I always try to bring you high culture in this blog, so todays picture is of the Anatomical theatre of the Archiginnasio.
Bologna is apparently the oldest university in Europe and, during the Renaissance the Archiginnasio housed most of the university faculties.
This beautiful lecture theatre is where medical lectures took place, including dissections.
It might seem gory now, but places like this helped build the foundations of modern medical knowledge.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love Italy. We’ve had a great trip so far, and seen some great sights.
I’ve just got one little gripe….
One of the highlights of Florence is the great fountain of Neptune, in the Palazzo Signoria. Absolutely one of the highlights of sixteenth century Florentine sculpture. So clearly I’m dead keen to photograph it.
This is what we found.
Yep, covered up because of a major restoration. Bugger, bugger, bugger!
Never mind, when we get to Bologna, one of the top attractions is the fountain of Neptune. Absolutely one of the highlights of sixteenth century Bolognese sculpture.
Well, you guessed it…
Covered up for a major restoration!
It turns out that master renaissance sculptor, Giambologna, had a hand in creating both fountains. The moral of the story is don’t use him for any building work on your house. 450 years later it will need redoing.
It’s been another steady day in Bologna. We sauntered through the city to one the parks and then sauntered back for a reviving glass of Pignoletto. This evening we ventured out to sample some more city nightlife.
Bologna is sometimes called the Red City, because many of it’s buildings are made of red bricks or stone.
Today’s photograph is of the last rays of the evening sun catching the top of the church near to our apartment. Buildings are so closely packed in the older parts of the city that, in the evenings only the tops of them are not in deep shadow.
Bologna at night. What an amazing place. Liz and I went out for a meal and then sauntered back through the city. I’m not sure whether I’ve seen anywhere so alive with people out enjoying themselves.
On a rare decent British summer night I’ve seen crowds of people out having fun, but this seems more like a feature.
We saw people at tables in crowded lanes enjoying great food, a talented group of break dancers, and a crowd of hundreds seated in a square listening to a film director being interviewed as part of the city’s film week. Finally, we came across some kind of rally, with a speaker addressing a huge crowd from the two towers. I don’t know who he was, but the crowd was immense.
I’ve never seen a place as alive as this for years.
Today’s pictures taken on my phone are of people out enjoying food and drink with friends and the crowds at the rally.
Today’s pictures are of the two most famous Bolognese landmarks: the two towers in city centre. The tallest is the Asinelli, the shorter is called the Garisenda.
The Asinelli is still fairly straight, and you can go up it for panoramic views of the city, but the Garisenda leans over at a crazy angle. It looks barely possible that it still stands up.
The first picture is of both towers. The second is of the Garisenda, just to prove it’s not a trick of the camera lens that makes it lean. The wires criss-crossing the photographs are for the trolley buses that run through the city. They might be a good form of transport, but the wires are a pain for photographers.
It’s important to point out that it is the towers that lean, and not thephotographer after too many lunchtime glasses of pignoletto, the local wine.
Florence was great, but crowded in more ways than one. The great press of tourists everywhere made it difficult to enjoy the city at times. And there was the huge crowd of churches, paintings and statues, all vying for our attention. Almost too much to take in, unless you’re prepared to be selective.
We’re in Bologna now, and it’s a very different proposition: less crowded and more relaxed. Whereas in Florence we were always going sonewhere to see something, in Bologna we’re just here, soaking up the atmosphere.
Today’s picture is of a street in the old quarter of Bolgna. It’s full of interesting corners and angles, bars and cafe’s. People come here to eat and drink, and we joined in, with some fantastic tortelloni and Sangiovese wine.