A Little Bit of Me

Jottings and Writing, miscellanous misgivings

A word from Alison and her pictures

We are waiting for our bus to Venice, goodbye to Bolonga. Probably stayed one night too many. Different pace from Florence, less tourists for one. Has it’s own charm though and since we were once again staying in the historical area, easy to walk around.
This is a university city where professores have a higher status than anyone. Bolonga university was established 1022, first in western world apparently. Being here I can understand now all those historical books I’ve read that referred to Bolonga lawyers with tones of reverence. The city has enshrined 3 of them in elaborate tombs, over leaders & heros! They were considered the best in the known medieval world.
The university area had an energy like home, presume they also contribute to the graffiti everywhere, with their political statements. Cheaper area to eat in too, coffee’s half price compared to main town piazza. Had a very good asparagus risotto in a student café.
What I particularly like about this city are the porticos. The historical area streets have them and it makes the city a far cooler place to walk around, 38 kms of them, built through XIth – XXth centuries. You needed a special dispensation (translate that to money and / or power ) not to build one on your building. Have been mentioned in all local regulations from 13th century till today. Will get G to load a photo on his blog, can imagine the academics and clergy walking them in their robes.
Unfortunately the city elders decided to tear down the medieval wall that surrounded the historical area around 1900. Remnants remain, plus some of the original 12 gates into it, wish they had kept it. Again will get G to load a photo. The Romans came in the 2nd century and when they were over thrown by the Gauls, the road over the Apennine mountains between Bolonga & Florence became overgrown plus unsafe with Brigands, donkey travel only. Took till the 17th century before reestablished a route.
Bolonga also has lots of parks and trees, which makes it very pleasant. Spent time in one Sunday afternoon, was hot, and the Bolongese were out in force, of all ages, enjoying the coolness from the trees. The gardens are hidden. As you walk the porticos, if the big wooden doors are open, there is usually an iron gate with tantalizing glimpses of gardens beyond. Graeme & I ventured into one as it was open. The plaque on the building said it was for professores & academics so we thought we’d have a look. Was lovely if unkempt. Don’t think we were meant to be there, a man came looking for us and shut the iron gate as we left. Again have a photo to illustrate this.
Thing I don’t like is the smoking behaviour, want to sit at a café table outside, its the same place the smokers go. Seem to be still a lot of them, including young female students.
The highlight visit was to Pavarotti’s house / museum, a big surprise. Was part of the Ferrari trip & while G’s eyes were popping out of his head with wonder at the Ferrari engines on display, I was more interested in the history of Ferrari and actually seeing these cars on the road. The trip included visits to a winery, a museum of charcuterie, the Pavarotti residence plus the 2 Ferrari museums. His house was on the outskirts of Modena, very peaceful and displayed his musical career along with original contents. Most interesting & we now both want to know more about him. We hadn’t expected this.
In Venice now, staying in a former Jesuit monastery built 12th century. Isabel & Dennis recommended it. Bit of a performance getting here but worked it out. Great lunch, octopus salad then scaloppini with vegs, divine. Had thunder & rainstorm, now the bells are ringing to herald early evening in. All good, now have to decide what we want to do. Ciao xx



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