What started as a year seeking out la dolce vita in the midst of all the smog and designer outfits of Milan and is now the continuing story of my exploits in Italy (a place which has remained close to my heart even though I no longer live there).
lunedì 10 dicembre 2012
Bologna La Dotta
Bologna's second nickname, "La Dotta" refers to her university, whose origins date back to as early as 1088 and which is considered to be the oldest in Europe. We did go and wander round the university quarter, and I know there are some very interesting museums there (waxworks of medical oddities and deformities, anyone?) but because we didn't acutally spend a lot of time in the area, I'm going to cheat a little and steal the title "The Learned" for the most educational experience I had while we were there: a visit to the seven churches, or Sette Chiese di Santo Stefano.
The Sette Chiese are, as the name says, a complex of seven churches, supposedly built on the inspiration of San Petronio, copying the idea of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, on a site that dates back to Roman times. One of the churches was big enough to be holding Sunday mass when we were vitising, but others were just little chapels.My favourite was the one built up from the ruins of the old temple of Iside, where you could still see the Roman pillars standing next to the Vth century columns of the church.
I also liked the intricate patterns in the brickwork here:
And even I could tell that the nativity scene in the Chiesa Santa Croce was very, very old. Carved out of wood, with statues the size of a small real-life person, it is in fact the oldest Christian crib sculpture in the entire world, dating back to the thirteenth century.