Monday, May 14, 2018

Bologna, Italy, Part One, The Red, The Fat, and The Learned


One of our last stops in Northern Italy was Bologna, the capital city of Emilia Romagna. We were excited to meet my husband's cousin, and his family, that live there. My husband's cousin was a young child the last time my husband saw him, and now he is a professor at the University of Bologna. He was also very excited to meet us and show us his favorite places in his city. As you can see in my photo collage above, he was our wonderful tour guide for Bologna for the day! (All photos and photo collages will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on)


Bologna has three nicknames: “La Rossa" --"The Red" – for its ochre colored roofs and terracotta walled buildings, plus its traditional political leanings. “La Grassa”-- "The Fat" – for its rich cuisine, and “La Dotta” --"The Learned" – as its renown university is the world’s oldest.  I hope to show you some of the ways it has earned these names in this post. Bologna is definitely an interesting city to visit, and much less touristy than most of Italy, which makes it even more enjoyable.


Bologna could also earn the nickname "Molte Chiese"--" Many Churches" -- as there are many magnificent churches located in the city, and they are always a focal point. About 2.17 miles (3.5km) southwest of the city center, on the forested hilltop of Monte della Guardia, is the Basilica Santuario della Madonna di San Luca.   It occupies a powerful and appropriately celestial position overlooking the red-hued city below and is dear to the Bolognese, as it is visible for miles.


The 18th-century sanctuary is connected to the city walls by the world's longest portico, held aloft by 666 arches, beginning at Piazza di Porta Saragozza. As our visit to Bologna was limited, our cousin drove us to the top of the hill, instead of having us walk up to the top through the portico, but I would advise trying to take the walk up through the winding archwayed portico if one has the time.


More views of the exterior of the basilica


Some views of the beautiful interior of the basilica.


The church houses a "black" representation of the Virgin Mary, supposedly painted by St. Luke and transported from the Middle East to Bologna in the 12th century. You can see the miraculous icon's position over the main altar of the left of the collage above and a close up on the right. Since the year 1433, a yearly procession takes place that transports the Byzantine Madonna and Child to the Cathedral of San Pietro in the city center, during Ascension week.


The views from the hilltop where the basilica sits are amazing!  The "La Rossa" -- "The Red"-- can be seen in the red rooftops of the city of Bologna below.  The Red of Bologna is also a reference to its political left-leaning that dates all the way back to Roman times. In World War II it was the center of the anti-fascist movement and it was a stronghold for Italy's Communist party for decades. 


For Bologna's nickname "La Gasse" --" The Fat" -- one has to visit the “Quadrilatero” area located off the Piazza Maggiore, the main square in the central district of the city. The Quadrilatero is an area of very narrow streets with packed vendors and old food stalls. There you can find butchers, fresh pasta, wine shops, greengrocer’s, bakeries, cheese stores, fish stores, and shops with traditional cuisine and crafts. Many of these shops have also preserved the historic architecture and furnishing, making them extra scenic and quaint.


Click on to enlarge the photo collage above to enlarge it to get an idea of the wonderful fresh foods available in the markets,  I was especially intrigued by the different varieties and sizes of tortellini, the favorite pasta of Bologna. Later we would have dinner at a traditional Bolognese restaurant with our cousin and his family, and we'd enjoy some of that delicious tortellini!


"La Dotta" -- "The Learned" -- begins in the Palazzo Poggi -- the headquarters of the University of Bologna and of the rector of the university. The university was founded in 1088 and is the oldest university in continuous operation as well as one of the leading academic institutions in Italy and Europe. Many illustrious alumni attended the university through the ages, from Dante, Petrarch, and Erasmus, to four popes. The palace was renovated in the middle of the 16th century and it was chosen by Napoleon as a new seat of the University of Bologna in 1802.


Our cousin felt we'd also be interested in seeing the Salaborsa Library, a magnificent free public library inside what was once the Palazzo d'Accursio.


The library is very impressive! It houses over 300,000 books, 70,000 of which are for children and young adults.


There are 30 newspapers, domestic and foreign plus over 300 different magazines, an extensive collection of books in a foreign language, CD's, DVD's, CDROMS, Maps, ebooks and free WiFi.


Sections of the main floor of the library revealed archeological excavations of ancient artifacts from past centuries that lie beneath the foundation of the building.  The skylighted ceiling allows for a flood of natural light.


There is more to share of our visit to Bologna, including the city's own leaning tower, and a church with a controversial mural that requires police protection, all of which I'll share on my next post.

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35 comments:

Mersad said...

Wonderful impressions from the road. Bologna is a very pretty city with amazing architecture and history. Thank you so much for sharing with "Through My Lens"

Mersad
Mersad Donko Photography

italiafinlandia said...

Thanks for your detailed info about Bologna.
I must take my hubby one day!

Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing! We have only ever driven through, but I think it is time to stop.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, beautiful images from your visit to Bologna. I love the church and library. Thanks for sharing your trip! Happy Monday, enjoy your day and new week!

grownchildren.net said...

enjoyed the tour of bologna. makes me want to go there--especially since it's a road less traveled.

Kris said...

What a beautiful city. Sure makes me want to go back to Italy and see other cities this time! How wonderful to have such a great tour guide!!!
xo Kris

Vee said...

How nice to have a cousin guide to the city. So much for your husband to chat with him about. Any genealogy work there?

It is a beautiful city and the church is rich and dramatic in art and design.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Love how blue is featured in the church artwork!

Lady Fi said...

Wow - the architecture is stunning! And I love the fact that they call themselves The Fat.

Kay L. Davies said...

Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing.
Kay
An Unfittie's Guide to adventurous Travel

Tom said...

...Pat, such gorgeous scenes. thanks for sharing. You must have had a fabulous time. Thanks for stopping by.

NC Sue said...

Marvelous photos! Looks like a fascinating place.
Thanks for linking up at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2018/05/opa.html

Linda W. said...

Wow, that church is impressive! What a vacation you had in Italy.

Su-sieee! Mac said...

666 arches. They weren't superstitious, good for them. Seeing the photos of pastries and pasta has me wanting that for my next meal. I could spend days in that gorgeous library!

Anonymous said...

Had no idea that it must be a very good university in Boulogna! Wow the cheese,hide it from me! Stunning inside of the basilica! All a pleasure to look at and thank you for sharing these with All Seasons, Pat!
After having met so many family members and seen so many wonderful historic things in Italy, I would have a hard time coming back to the States!
Have a great week:)

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Lovely seeing Bologna through your guide and you, Pat! That library alone is magnificent! All the buildings and the lovely architecture is a sight to behold. I'm sure your husband and you were thankful for such a great guide. ♥

Angie said...

Pat - the interior shots of the basilica had me glued to my screen - so ornate and lovely. As I looked at the pix of the market, I imagined myself an Italian stopping on the way home from work to pick up some fresh meat, cheese, tortellini, vegies, and of course, a bottle of wine to go with it all. Ah, so romantic!

rupam sarma said...

Beautiful place. Thanks for informative post and Pics.

betty-NZ said...

What a stunning city! I love your photos. I really enjoy seeing such old places that are only found in that part of the world.

Cathy Keller said...

As always you have captivated my attention and I have learned so very much! Thank you! Wishing you well!

Photo Cache said...

Just salivating at the beautiful shots.

Worth a Thousand Words

Jim said...

Very beautiful.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

What an interesting tour Pat~ so nice to have knowledgeable family to show you around! It's amazing to learn about the University -- what history -- just imagine learning in those halls and thinking about those who have gone before you! And I could spend days in that Library!! The food stall alley made me hungry!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

A beautiful place to visit!

Molly said...

Looks like an amazing place. The inside of the basilica is stunning

Mollyx

Jeanie said...

Your posts really make me want to go to Italy. I am in awe -- that basilica was beautiful and I love the rich ochre/terracotta color of the buildings. How lucky you are to have family all over Italy!

Kay L. Davies said...

You're right, it is beautiful indeed!
Thanks for sharing.
Kay
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I love the food markets in Italian cities, and Bologna has a great array of them. All the better to enjoy those great ingredients with some pasta, as the Bolognese do so well.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I love the food markets in Italian cities, and Bologna has a great array of them. All the better to enjoy those great ingredients with some pasta, as the Bolognese do so well.

Sharon said...

What a lovely place, with such interesting architecture and so much to explore. I love the view from the top of the hill. And the inside of the basilica is stunning.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

An absolutely stunning city, wonderful photos, and how cool to have a local family member as your personal tour guide!! Enjoy your weekend.

Nancie McKinnon said...

Bologna is on my list when I get back to Italy. Your photos inspire me to do that sooner rather than later. Thanks for linking up this week. #TPThursday

Lowcarb team member said...

Just loved the collage of the market ...

All the best Jan

Cathy Sokolowski said...

Bologna looks wonderful. I enjoyed looking at your beautiful pictures.

Karren Haller said...

What an amazing opportunity to travel to Italy!! Thank you for sharing on #omhgww last week, your post is being featured this week and has been shared on Pinterest and Facebook!!
Hope to see you again soon!
Karren~