Trip Start Apr 07, 2009
15Trip End Apr 25, 2009
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Where I stayed
We spent the last couple of days in the often overlooked, but very historic city of Bologna. Unfortunately, many things were closed during the Easter holiday, but we were still able to see some of the sights. We stayed in a small hotel right off of Balogna's main square Piazza Maggiore. It had gone through many iterations of construction, but the original building dated back to the 14th century.
The city is amazing with preserved medieval architecture and nearly 40km of porticoes. Early Easter Sunday the city was deserted. We started in Piazza Maggiore which is framed by Palazza Communale (a city center serving many purposes and containing the Museo Giorgio Morandi devoted to Bologna's most famous Renaissance painter). Palazza Communale has a great memorial to members of the Italian resistance (see photos).
The Basilica of San Petrino the fifth largest church in world (just after the Duomo). Supposedly, it was initially intended to be the largest in the world when construction began in 1390 (larger than St. Peter's in Rome), but Pope Pius IV ordered that the
arms of the church be truncated to keep this from happening. The neatest thing about the Basilica is that like many churches in Bologna it is unfinished. The bottom half of the front facade is finished in marble with typical Gothic style. The remainder remains in unfinished brick.
The Site of Santa Stefano in the University district is a complex of 7 churches, the oldest dating back to the 5th century built by Saint Petronius.
The Asinelli tower is one of only a handful of the 180+ stone towers that once existed in Bologna. It and the adjacent Garisenda tower (the names reflecting the families responsible for their contsruction) were erected in the early 12th century. The Garisenda tower was once much taller but was partially deconstructed as it had over 3.2m in lean. Mike went to the top of the Asinelli tower (97m, 490+ rickety stairs) where some great views were to be had.
By far, the highpoint of our time in Bologna was Piazza Maggiore where all manner of street performers could be found. The weirdest by far was this guy with an amp and loud speakers coming out of his motorcycle. He played dance remixes through the loud speaker while chanting something in Italian and strumming at an electric guitar (which was not plugged in). Two creepy looking older men (his managers?) one of which looked like Father Guido Sarducci stood behind him and gave people uncomfortably long glances. Two other younger guys walked around handing out flyers. One old women from the crowd danced around provocatively. This persisted for HOURS. The highs and lows of Italian culture in one afternoon.
We're leaving for the Cinque Terre but will return to Bologna to see its street market on our way to Slovenia.
Mike and Steph