Thursday, 2 June 2011

Bologna: holiday pictures

One long weekend in Bologna, Italy:
  • 4 museums
  • 8 churches (but Santo Stefano counts as seven churches in one so that's 14)
  • 1 art gallery
  • 4 ice creams (one marscapone flavour, one muffin, one jasmine, one yoghurt-on-a-stick)

The medieval heart of Bologna is a fantastic place - ancient, scruffy, laid-back and slightly claustrophobic (all the streets are porticoed to keep off the sun, which makes the roads narrow ravines cut into the terracotta-coloured city). It is dominated by the university that occupies the old palazzos and whose students slob around on every corner and hold permanent political rallies in the main square. It's the oldest existing university in Europe, founded 1088 AD, and in 1732 appointed the first woman to officially teach at one.

The university was so prestigious that medieval professors got grand marble tombs carved with pictures of students slacking off.

Among the medieval remnants tucked away in odds corners are the famous towers.

There used to be about a hundred of them, built in the 12th and13th centuries, and they appear to have no practical function. They were just about showing off! The icons of the city are the Due Torre right in the centre (picture at top). They both lean. The shorter one leans a LOT. 

Here's the view of the shorter one (48m)  from above (97m).

The tower is, btw, hollow inside with just a spiral stair ... an old wooden, worn, rickety, UNSUPPORTED spiral stair that sags inward. It certainly made the ascent memorable.

One of the best things about Bologna is that they are, on the whole, not snotty about you taking pictures inside art galleries:

and museums:
For the shoe fans amongst you - Venetian high heels

and churches:

Which certainly makes a refreshing change.

Want to see more? Coming up: Bologna - the rude bits!


Emerald said...

You look fabulous in that top picture, Janine!

And thanks for all the other lovely pictures too. Ever since I saw Dangerous Beauty (set in Venice), I've so wanted to go to Italy....

A delightful post! Glad you (it sounds like) had fun!

Janine Ashbless said...

Oh, I had lots of fun Emerald - thank you! It was pretty tiring too, because we were walking round so much, but I really liked Bologna. Smaller and more relaxed than Rome, and more intimate. Once you get off the main streets the side alleys are almost deserted so it's just beautifully atmospheric.

I do hope you get to Italy one day. If so, please make sure you see Venice - It really is as good as they say it is :-)

Danielle said...

these pictures are great..thank you for sharing them with us:-)

and like emerald (hey em:-) look really good and very happy on the top it!

Janine Ashbless said...

Do you know, that's the first time I've been out and about in a sleeveless top ... ever. I don't recognise myself!

Danielle said...

yaye! i love first times..and this first time suits you really well:-)