Wednesday, November 7, 2012

TPThursday: Sample Bologna’s Beauty and Bounty

It could well be Italy’s hidden tourist gem; this capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, just north of  its better-known neighbor,Tuscany.

I wrote some weeks ago that we were returning for a second helping of this culinary haven nicknamed ‘la grassa’, (the fat), whose historic town center is recognized for both its towers and a ribbon of arcades (porticos) that wind through its ancient narrow streets for some 38 kilometers or 24 miles.

MilanBolgTusc2012 111I can tell you, we heaped our plates (literally and figuratively) the four days we spent there and yet didn’t satiate our appetites.

We could easily return to this history-rich university town; the place where in 1088 the Alma Mater Studiorum – the first university in the western world -- was founded. Today university students bring a round-the-clock buzz to this once Etruscan capital.

On this Travel Photo Thursday I am offering a sample of the piccolino, (small), details that become travel treats here:

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Let’s begin with this building.  At first glance you notice the arcades, those famous covered walkways that loop like pastel ribbons through the town. But look more closely, up at the roof line:

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It’s a facade of faces. . .who were these people watching over the square, immortalized by time?

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You could – and we did – walk for miles through the labyrinth of arcades that wind through the historic center of town. Some sadly defaced with graffiti, and others intricate murals of art.  But if you  looked at the doorways along those arcades. . .

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You find magnificent works of art in the  form of door knockers, many as ornate as this one . I fought the desire to grab them and rap hard, just to see who might answer the door.

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Buildings so old that their ages were hard to comprehend but their history reflected in the details. . .

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In even the more modern rainbow-colored neighborhood where we had rented an apartment . . .

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even a flower’s blossom on our deck each morning  made for another travel treat in Bologna . . .

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If you go: Bologna can be reached by any number of European gateway cities and is served by numerous airlines. We flew to Milan and took a train to Bologna – an excellent way to see the countryside.
We rented our apartment through the online company, Vacation Rental by Owner 

Map picture

That’s it for our contribution to TP Thursday hosted by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox, so head on over there for more destinations.

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  1. Hi Jackie, We have not been to Bologna, but I have read impressive things about it. The architecture is amazing. That door knocker was huge! Love the balcony on your pastel apartment. I love sitting on balconies and watching the neighbourhood action. Jan

    1. You would love it if you ever do get there Jan. It is one of those places where everything is interesting, not just the historical center. Our little neighborhood, just outside the walled city, was a gem in itself - we'd love to go back.

  2. It's been so long since I've been to Bologna but I still remember all those amazing arcades and the food! The details you have shown are fabulous..I'd love that door knocker too!!can't wait to hear about the rest of your time here.

    1. It really was a highlight of the Italy trip - not overrun by tourists (or flocks of groups of tourists) it really gave a taste of Italian life. We'd love to return and hope you mean that about the rest of the trip tales, because I have a few!

  3. I have never been to Bologna. :( I did go to Tuscany but I had so limited time when I was backpacking early this year. Really want to go back. Love the look of those buildings, but the faces look scary!!

    1. Isn't Tuscany wonderful? There were so many places that we didn't get to either. . .so much to see and so little time. Do put this one on your list if you get back there - you won't be disappointed.

  4. What a beautiful and quaint town! I haven't been to Bologna yet but now want to visit. I love all the architecture, the ceiling art, door knockers and all those details including the facade of faces. They're all wonderful things that make it unique and give it character.

    1. Mary, you'd love the character of the place: surrounded by history but in a place alive with young university students. And I haven't even gotten to the market street or the food feast yet. . .that will have you drooling!

  5. I love the details you captured in the photos especially the knocker and the facade of faces. And there is something about sitting out on a European balcony - usually decked with flowers - that feels like an authentic experience.

  6. Thanks for this window into another land! I may just have to see Bologna this summer either before/after a conference in Slovenia.

    Enjoyed the photos. Cheers!

  7. Haven't made it to Bologna yet, things always seem to get in the way. Looks like a very attractive city, the arcades, the quaint letter-and-telegram door slot - an best of all the university. I'm forever fascinated with ancient universities, like Cambridge and Oxford and Bologna - the thought of students having walked around here for nearly 1000 years, really quite mindblowing.

  8. What a beautiful place - I need to spend more time exploring Italy! I love all the details - particularly the murals in the arcades and those faces. Bologna looks like the kind of place that I would enjoy very much!

  9. I love the piccolino and the pictures in this post! You really bring Italy to life and I wish I could spend some time there :)

  10. I love these not normal tourist cities! I am usually amazed that they are not on the tourist path and wonder why. Bologna is one of these cities. Its not usually visited by tourists but everyone I know who has visited it has raved about it! Thanks for sharing.

  11. What a beautiful tour, Jackie. I love food, plus an historical town/city. Can't ask for more than that!

  12. I've never noticed the facade of faces before. How fascinating.


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