We arrived in Italy on September 1st, but it took us a few days to adjust to the time zone change (7 hour difference). We started by finding food and basic services, then progressed to the University of Bologna. Along the way, we ran into a ton of history and knew we needed to take our camera with us. After that, we decided to try and get lost in the city…with our camera. These first sets of photos represent just how amazingly eclectic the city really is. On one corner there is a Nike store with an Apple store across the street, but, “towering” above both of them, are le due Torri (the two towers of Bologna) that were built between 1109 and 1119…just slightly older than the swoosh or the iEverything.
Le due Torri
Torre Degli Asinelli is the taller tower and Torre Garisenda is the shorter tower with the prominent lean. When we first saw these towers, we knew they were old, but we were surprised to see them (still leaning) in some very early artwork at the first museum we visited.
I’ll admit…a certain Stephen King series draws me to these towers every chance we get, and there are probably going to be way more pictures than you want to see of them, but they amaze and delight me.
Fontana di Nettuno
In the same plaza as the towers lies another of Bologna’s treasures, the Fountain of Neptune. The fountain was built between 1563 and 1566 by the Flemish sculptor Giambologna. According to Bologna’s wonderful information page (www.bolognawelcome.com), the fountain “is a symbol of the power of the Pope: he ruled the world like Neptune ruled the seas. At the feet of the statue there are four little angels. They represent the rivers of the four discovered continents at that time: Ganges, Nile, Amazon River and Danube.”
Found the Disney Store (randomly on Force Friday weekend!)
Like I said…it’s a weird combination of old and new. FYI…across the street from the Disney Store is a McDonald’s…that serves McLobster!
Cattedrale Metropolitana di San Pietro
A little past the McD’s and Disney we ran into our first cathedral, Cattedrale Metropolitana di San Pietro, and if our first was any indication of what was to come…we were in for a treat.
Apparently, again according to http://www.bolognawelcome.com, the building date of the church is unknown, but the original was damaged by fire in 1131 and then destroyed by an earthquake in 1222. The building, as seen today, “was renovated by three architects” between 1605 and 1754.
The cathedral’s bell tower is the second largest tower in Bologna, and, in fact, contains a bell tower within the bell tower. You can go into the bell tower, but we were still not sure about navigating touristy things yet, so we plan to go back. We needed to go back anyway because the lighting inside the cathedral made taking pictures difficult, so almost all that we took turned out blurry.
Teatro Arena del Sole
After the cathedral, we found the Teatro Arena del Sole (teatro is the Italian word for theatre, so if you know us you can understand our excitement). The building itself was beautiful and we snapped some pictures of their upcoming schedule…very exciting.
After leaving the theatre, we accidentally found our way into a huge section of street vendors, which apparently sets up every weekend. We started winding our way though, but quickly realized we weren’t quite ready for this…too many people, too narrow a space.
Like I said, we set out to get lost in Bologna, and we accomplished our goal very well. Writing this blog 6 days later, I realize that we were, in fact, not really even close to being lost because everything is so close in Bologna; but “lost” is a relative term, right?
So after leaving the street vendors, we wandered the streets for a while, not really looking for anything but looking at everything. We saw a banner for a medieval museum, so we went to check it out. While taking pictures of the museum hours we noticed that across the street was another church.
Chiesa della Madonna di Galliera
Thus far, Brittany and I have agreed that the Church of the Madonna of Galliera has been our favorite site. We are still doing some research on this church, but we think it was built in 1304; and then the interior was renovated in 1622. More to come as we learn more about this fascinating city…
Sorry, America, but these donuts were WAY better than anything I’d ever had back home. Mine was fragola (strawberry) with fragola filling. Brittany’s was cream (we think).
Basilica of San Giacomo Maggiore
We started making our way back home after the Church of Madonna, navigating back through the area containing the two towers, when we found yet another beautiful church (there are many, many magnificent churches here, and while we may not get to all of them, we will try to photograph as many as we can).
We did not get the opportunity to go inside of the Church of San Giacomo Maggiore, hopefully we will at some point, but we snapped a few photos of it’s stunning exterior as we passed. “It was built between 1267 and 1315…renovated at the end of the 15th century,” again according to Bologna Welcome.
Basilica di Santa Maria dei Servi
We tried to take different routes everywhere we went, so getting back home was an adventure in itself; however, it led us to still more amazing sites. Literally a street over from our apartment is the Church of Santa Maria dei Servi. Because of the lay of the land, we didn’t realize that we had passed this church several times already. Again, it’s one of those that we did not get an opportunity to go in, but we will at some point.
Also, from the steps of this church, we were able to see the towers again, which shows you just how close we really are to everything.
Il nostro appartamento. (Our apartment.)
Well, we had quite the little adventure, but we finally made it back home.
We didn’t stay very long though…off for dinner (at Regina Margherita again…delizioso!!).
For those of you who are keeping up at home, after this the score is Brittany 1 – Elijah 2.
Italian word of the day: panini – sandwiches (because delicious fresh bread with prosciutto and formaggio is yum)
And now you know…