Italy 47 - Miles and miles of arcades - that's Bologna

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May 17th 2013
Published: May 17th 2013
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Bologna Bologna Bologna

War Memorial to Italians who fought for their country
Suzy was on the road again and this time heading for the second time to Camping Hotel Citta di Bologna. Readers of the blog will realise that this time last year we had tried this campsite with a view to catching the bus into Bologna. We failed mainly because the campsite was noisy, we got little sleep and didn’t fancy another night so we moved on.

Well we arrived again and it felt like deja vu. The same camp site the same guy was in reception. He said we could park in any plot we liked as the site was empty. Good start we thought. Last year there had been a lot of rain and the plots were waterlogged. This year they were dry and we had the pick of most of them. There were a few campervans and we noticed that one was a German Dethleffs we had seen a few days ago on another campsite. Which one I don’t know - time blends after a while and you forget where you have been. We parked up got Kathrein working and set to catching up on news from home. A mad axe man had been caught in Bologna yesterday
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One of the twin towers
perhaps that was why we saw miles and miles of police motorbikes and cars heading this way. Our plot was fairly reasonable and we had picked one with hedges between us and our neighbours and without the laburnhams that cover the site. They were losing their flowers and the confetti like flowers would have been a headache to remove from Suzy’s roof.

The toilet blocks are clean, we used the washing the machine - at 4 euros the same price prevails across Europe. Washing soon dried in the heat. We sat outside in the sun trying out our mobile WiFiwhich would not work. Another thing to sort out if we get chance. There is WiFi on the site and I think it was free for half an hour and then there was a cost. We decided to keep trying out our MiFi and in the end gave up. The site is expensive compared to ACSI sites and Camping cheques and cost 29 euros a night. There is a restaurant on site which we did not try and a lovely swimming pool. I swam last year but put it off today and thought to do it tomorrow.

At night we met Bruce (that wasn’t his name_) I cant remember what he actually said. He was British born in Dorset and had emigrated to Australia where he lived and worked in Perth. He was travelling for a week in Italy with h 15 year old son. He had hired a VW type motor camper which he said was the pits. He had visited Pompeii and hated the campsite there because of the noise of the trains at night. He enjoyed Amalfi, Positano and Sorrento and was planning a visit to Bologna tomorrow and the day after a visit to the Ducati Factory. After that it was back to Rome to take the van back and then on to the UK to see his family.

We had a noisy night again, a young Italian on his mobile phone outside our van at 11.00. For quarter of an hour we listened to his one sided conversation. After half an hour it was still going on so in the end I went out and put my fingers to my lips and said be quiet which he did with a cheery Scusi. The noise from the fair was still here the base of the music thudding until 2 am and trains rumbled past . There is also the noise from the Tangenziale the ring road. What a lovely word much nicer than our ring road.

We woke to green parrots screeching in the trees and to woodpeckers hammering their heads against the trees. At 8.50 we walked to reception to catch the bus number 68 to town, We had kept our tickets from last year and to our surprise they worked as we put them in the machine on the bus. There were only 4 of us on it but I guess in the height of summer it would be heaving taking visitors into the city. In the winter/spring it runs two hourly.

So what of Bologna? Glenn has been before but for me this was the first trip in. The first thing that impressed were the miles and miles of covered arcades which stretch for 42 kms around the city with the longest at 3.5 km . Brilliant in summer the height keeps the heat out and good in the winter to keep the snow and the rain out. A passagiata in style .

Our first stop was Piazza
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Ivory comb in the medieval museum
Maggiore where we sat and drank coffees and ate brioches. One with custard and the other apricot jam. The city seemed empty for a city of its size. Few visitors come though as it not really on the Italian tourist trail. Around the Piazza Maggiore are a range of magnificent buildings including pallazos, a fountain of Neptune and the cathedral.

The cathedral dedicated to San Petronio was dedicated in the 5th century and is said to rank amongst the greatest of the brick built Gothic cathedrals. The main doorway was carved by Jacopo della Quercia but we could not see this as there was restoration work going on and the portal was covered up. Inside the church had been restored in a Baroque style but for once it was light and airy. The stained glass was fascinating and beautifully made in some of the side chapels. On the floor a meridian line traced in 1655 by Cassini. A lovely thing of great beauty with its zodiacal signs along its length. The only shame that we could not take photographs. Although not religious sometimes church architecture moves us. At other times it feels as if God if you believe in him has moved out of the building. Bologna cathedral felt rather homely in an unfinished way and worth a detour. We lit a candle to remind us of parents long gone and friends and family we have lost.

Next to the twin towers of Bologna symbols of the city. The Torri degli Asinelli e Garisenda famously leaning. Originally 200 of these tall towers graced the city now just the two stand. Both were begun in the 12th century . Both require constant attention and it is possible to climb one of them for views of the city but we could not find a way in today. They reminded me of San Gimmy where many of the medieval towers are still standing.

Bologna boasts a number of museums the Pinacoteca Nationale which is Bolognas principal art gallery and one of Northern Italys best, the Museo delle Cere Anatomiche which houses a collection of gruesome waxworks, an archaeological Museum and the Medieval Museum . We chose to visit the Medieval one as this is probably our most favourite of all periods. It was housed in a lovely palazzo and the entrance fee was 5 euro for an adulti and 3 euro for an anziano. An anziano today had to be over 65 so only one of us benefited from the cheaper admission fee. The museum was based over three floors and had exhibits of medieval armour, fine ivory work, sarcophagi and some mosaics. Not a huge collection but well worth the entrance fee. I particularly liked the ivory which was finely carved.

Then it was back to the main square again with the Palazzo D’Accursio to one side. It was possible to visit certain rooms within the Palazzo including the Hercules Room,the Room of the Elders, the Red Room and the Council Gallery but unfortunately we only realised this on our way home despite having read up on the city before we arrived. Even having done a lot of reading up we still managed to miss this one.

Other things to do in Bologna include an underground tour the city and a trip in a red bus visiting all the sites - we did neither . Lunch was a ham sandwich and coca cola. Tea was bought - a roasted chicken and a loaf of crunchy fresh bread. Heaven. All in all a lovely day and yet another
Italian Police Italian Police Italian Police

Mobile phones, Gucci designed uniforms and that air that only Italians can give off
city and one that I wouldn’t have missed for all the tea in China .

The rest of the afternoon was spent sitting in the sun enjoyng reading. The Poldark books have come out again on the Kindle. I really don’t want to go back to cold old wet and damp Britain and work. We feel now we are counting the days down to our return home.

Additional photos below
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A manhole for Woolly

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