A day in Bologna.
Today we headed south to Bologna. Bologna is a city of approximately 380,000 inhabitants. It is the capital and largest city in the Emilia-Romagna region. It is home to the oldest university in the western world and is considered by many Italians to be the nations food capital. It has one of the largest and best preserved historic town centers in all of Italy.
A Toyota 4Runner. You don't see many of those in Italy...and this one has Maryland plates!
Bologna is about a 2 1/2 hour drive south of Vedano al Lambro and Milan, just off of the A1 autostrada. We hit the road around 10am and arrived just around 12:30pm. After finding a parking garage, we walked into the old city. Katrina took time to take many pictures along the way. Bologna has many porticos that captured her attention.
The look of a university town.
We found lunch at Pizzeria da Braci. Katrina had tortellinis, I cotoletta a Milanese, and Brandon had pasta con Bolognese.
After lunch we made our way toward Piazza Maggiore to start our City Center tour from Brandon's book, Bologna for Kids. Located on Piazza Maggiore at the Palace of the Podesta, the Palace of the Banchi, the Basilica of San Petronio, the Palace of the Notaries, and the Palace of the Commune.
Asinella and Garisenda Towers, built near the end of the 6th century. The tower on the right is leaning quite a bit.
Basilica of San Petronio
Just around the corner from Piazza Maggiore is Piazza del Nuttuno. The name comes from the huge fountain, which has been likened to a giant knick-knack. There is also a monument wall dedicated to the Bolognese partisans who were killed by the Nazi-fascists.
If you face the corner like Brandon and talk very close to the wall, a person on the opposite corner can hear you! It works, we tried it.
Portica ceiling in the Palace of the Podesta
Fruit and Vegetable Stand
Palace of the Commune
Brandon, our tour guide for the day.
Down the street we visited the Cathedral of St Peter. Founded in ancient times, this church has been rebuilt and restored several times. St Peter's is the seat of the bishop (since 1582 it has been the seat of the archbishop) and the spiritual center of Bologna.
Fountain in Piazza del Nettuno
Just down the street are the Altabella and Prendiparte Towers. These towers are both 60 meters high, with pinnacles on the upper sections, making them look like crowns.
On a side street nearby is the Palace Boncompagni. It was the residence of the family of pope Gregory XIII.
Door knocker at the popes palace
The Church of the Madonna di Galliera was founded in 1304 and rebuilt in 1479.
At the end our our walk we also saw:
- one of the old canals that once connected Bologna with the Adriatic Sea
- House Grassi, one the of the oldest buildings in Bologna with its Medieval wooden portico
- the Church of San Martino, butil in 1217
- and, the Palace Bocchi, an imposing palace designed by Vignola in the 16th century.
Somewhere along the way we stopped at a local gelateria for some of the best gelato we have had in a long time. Very tasty.
After a little window shopping we made our way back to the car for the drive home. Bologna is a great 'undiscovered by tourist' city just a few hours south of Milan. It was an interesting and enjoyable daytrip.