Thursday, 19 June 2014

Days 451 to 452: Bologna

"Where are you off to next?" the Hilton receptionist asked, upon check-out.
"Ah, the city of arches!"
"Uh... yes?"

Now I understand.

Danielle and I only went to Bologna because it broke up the journey between Venice and Naples. We kind of wish we'd just stayed there and forgotten about Naples altogether. The name Bologna may conjure up images of spaghetti bolognaise, but the city is more than just a meaty pasta dish. It's yet another example of Italy on-form. The above arches are actually examples of porticoes, that is porch-like extensions from buildings, which when extended become colonnades. Effectively, they are like covered walkways, and they are everywhere in Bologna. What a good idea. They offer valuable shade, and I guess cover from the rain too. What I don't understand is why they are not more ubiquitous around the world. Scotland would benefit immensely from them. Everywhere would. Why has only Bologna thought of it?

On the other hand, I can see why only Bologna has thought of this.

Leaning Tower of Pisa? Pah. Bologna has two leaning towers, and they are right next to each other. Both 12th Century, they are joyously improbable. The taller one only leans a little, but you're allowed up that one. The smaller one leans a lot, and looks like it could collapse at any given moment. It's out of bounds.

Other than exploring the arches and the towers, our time in Bologna was spent in an Irish bar watching football and in our room and online watching football. There's a World Cup on you know! And the World Cup trumps World Wonders, and everything else. (note: Danielle may disagree on this point.)


  1. I like arches. There is a market town in Burgundy called Louhans which has a high street that is bordered on both sides with arches throughout it's whole length (of varying styles depending on the building they are part of). I think it is excellent from an urban planning point of view, as they enable a neat separation between the road and the pavement (which includes an area for bars and restaurants to set out terraces, shops to put out stalls etc.).

    If anything, it prevents cars from mounting halfway up the pavement to park, which as you may recall from Marseille can be a particluarly annoying aspect of my city when navigating it on foot.

    1. Aren't arches lovely? They're an architectural form that seems universally popular, and as you say they have very practical uses too, in terms of street planning. I propose a toast to arches next time we meet.


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