martedì 27 novembre 2012

Bologna la Rossa*

If I was mildly frustrated by the experience of being a tiny dot in the hoardes of tourists in Florence, Bologna was the perfect antidote. Not only were we visiting friends, and therefore slightly less "touristy" ourselves, but even when we did go touring around the city's many sights, we didn't have to queue for anything. Not once.

The most obvious buildings to visit are the Two Towers, which were built in the 1100s and are the symbol of Bologna. There used to be many, many more, but they either they were demolished or they (gulp!) collapsed. Both of the towers lean, although the one that you climb, the Torre d'Asinelli less than the smaller Torre de Garisenda.

Small Tower from Big Tower

Climbing the (very old) wooden staircase.

Another interesting building is the Basilico di San Petronio. It is the fifteenth-largest church in the world, but would have been bigger than St Peter's in Rome if the money for its construction hadn't been spent on the building the university instead. It does hold one record though: laid into the floor is a 66.8m meridian line that is part of the largest sundial in the world.


One quirky attraction in the city centre is this arcaded walkway, where you can speak into one side of arch and the sound echoes so that you can be heard perfectly on the other.

 And finally, for perfect views of the main square, you can't beat climbing the stairs in the Palazzo d'Accursio (the town hall) and looking down at what's going on below:


* Bologna is often called "la rossa" or "the red" for two reasons: the colour of its bricks and the colour of its traditional politics. The political red has faded somewhat in recent years, but the bricks, as this post proves, remain red (dish brown) as ever.

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