During the epiphany, me, my girlfriend and Coco (ours beautiful dog), have decided to do a little trip of two days out of Florence, so we went to Bologna and Modena. We spent the first day in Bologna, then after have slept there, the next morning we moved to Modena. The weather hasn’t been friendly, because even if there was the sun, the temperature was really low, with a maximum of 0° C. When you walk with this temperature, you can’t appreciate the beauty of the cities; you only want stay warm and drink and eat something hot. Despite everything, we made the tour that we wanted to do.
The day started pretty early, and almost at the 8 AM we arrived at Bologna. Left the car, we went at the Montagnola Park, where every Friday and Saturday takes place a market where you can find clothes, shoes, leather goods but also used and vintage goods. After have saw some stands we started our tour of Bologna and we walked toward the center.
We took “Via Piella” and we stopped at the point named “finestrella”. This point is a view on the Moline Canal that flows between two lines of buildings, with many colorful houses and balconies that create a nice painting. Also in Bologna, like Venice, there are canals (even if in Venice there are points more interesting), and the canals had characterized Bologna contributing to its economic development, but between 1930 and 1950 many of these canals were covered. Moline Canal wasn’t covered and still today flows in the streets of Bologna.
Continuing the walk, we visited the Basilica of St. Martin. The church has been founded in 1227 and has a facade that was redone in 1879. The interior is in Gothic style with three naves, and has a small cloister.
After few steps, we arrived under one of the symbol of Bologna: the two towers. Once in the city there were almost hundred towers, but today remain only 24 towers and the two most famous are the Tower of Asinelli (98 meters) and the Tower of Garisenda (48 meters).
The towers, both leaning, were built about in 1100 and were used for military function and to show the importance of the family owner. The two towers, made in masonry, even if today seem to be isolated, actually once were at the beginning of the streets that brought at the five doors of the ancient circle of walls. Interesting are the handicraft workshops located at the bottom of the Tower of Asinelli to remember the ancient commercial activity. The Tower of Asinelli, the most high leaning tower of Italy, can be visited with a ticket of 3 euro, and once you climbed almost 500 steps, you can enjoy the beautiful view on Bologna.
Over the towers, you can appreciate the beautiful square where are located the two towers, with the Church of Saint Bartolomeo, the statue of St. Petronius (moved in 1871 in the Church of St. Petronius e recently relocated in the square) and the beautiful buildings that look out on the square, like the oldest seat of Art Drapers (that today hosts the Feltrinelli Library).
Before to go to the real center of Bologna we went to the Basilica of Saint Stephen, also named complex seven churches. In fact, once here there were seven churches, but today there are only three churches that form this complex. The origins of these structures aren’t certain, the most one accredited tells about St Petronius creator of the Basilica that would imitated the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.
When you arrive in front of the Basilica, you see on the right the Church of Crucifix (dates back at VIII century), at the center the Church of Holy Sepulcher (of the fifth century, this Church once was devoted to Saint Stephen, this church changed about the IX century and now in the entire complex there isn’t nothing left dedicated to Saint Stephen) and on the left the Church of Saints Vitale and Agricola (dates back at IV century). The most fascinating for me is the Church of Holy Sepulcher. With twelve marble columns, this church has an octagonal base that ends with a dome. At the center there is an ancient sanctuary that kept the relics of St Petronius removed in 1141.
Interesting is also the medieval cloister that has two floors: the lower one has large arched openings and the higher floor is a beautiful examples of colonnade in Romanesque style, a really wonderful work.
The space where the complex starts, named “Piazza Santo Stefano”, over the beautiful Basilica, has also various noble buildings: the complex of Isolani Buildings, Houses Tacconi (example of the Bolognese merchant houses) and the Bolognini Amorini Salina Building, famous for its terracotta heads.
From the Piazza Santo Stefano, we have started to be close at the center of Bologna and while we were walking toward the center, since we woke up early, we have decided to make a break and eat the famous “tigelle” (this is a characteristic type of bread of this area, generally served with meats and cheeses).
Passing among the festooned streets of the city we arrived in “Piazza Minghetti”. This square has at the center a statue dedicated to the historical politician Marco Minghetti and various beautiful twentieth century buildings that surround the square (like the Palace of the Savings Bank, built in 1868 in eclectic style).
Turned the square, we took the “Via Clavature”, a small street typical of Bologna, where there are two noteworthy things: the “Mercato di Mezzo” (one of the most representative place of the culture of Bologna, since Middle Ages. After the Unification of Italy this spot became the first covered market of the city. In 2014 Mercato di Mezzo has been recovered and now is one of the main place of the city) and the Sanctuary of Saint Mary of Life. This church, also if outside seems to be a lesser church, deserves a visit because the interior is really fascinating. Built in 1687 by Giovanni Battista Bergonzoni with an elliptic central plant, the church was completed in 1787 by Giuseppe Tubertini that made the beautiful dome. This church is famous mostly for the “Lamentation over the Dead Christ” (a terracotta opera of Niccolò dell’Arca, that consists in seven life-size figures that recreate the scene of the commiseration of the death of Jesus Christ).
Here ends the first part of my day, soon the second part.
Good light to everyone.