Before moving to the city, there were three things that came to mind when I created my mental view of Bologna: colorful buildings, portici, and the two towers. This one picture of Bologna manages to feature two-and-a-half of the three things. Not bad!
Years ago, while studying Italian Renaissance architecture at uni, my favorite professor, Richard J. Tuttle, took a day out of the usual studies to focus solely on Bologna. He had lived here while doing some research on both the city and some surrounding architectural points of interest, and like almost anyone who comes to Bologna, he fell in love with the city. I remember looking at his own personal slides and becoming enamored with both the colors of the city and the seemingly never-ending porticoes (portici). One of my favorite things in architecture is a courtyard filled with arches and here’s a whole city full of these beautiful architectural elements! Nearly 40 kilometers (almost 25 miles) worth of portici can be found in the city. And all in rich, glorious colors!
Whether old or new, buildings all over Bologna have these covered walkways. Even in our neighborhood, which was rebuilt after WWII, there are portici along many of the streets. Between the sheer prevalence as well as my love for the feature, you can expect to see lots of photos of columns and vaulting in this blog.
You’ll also see lots of shades of orange, yellow, and pink in the buildings. I believe some of the colors, historically, came from the variations of ground-up brick that were used to make the pigments. Now the paints are typically synthetic, but there’s still an amazing mix of colors. No matter how bright, they never seem garish.
So in this view of Bologna, you’ve got two fantastic rows of portici, in buildings with some spectacular coloring. And to finish it off, you get one of the two towers that are symbols of the city. In this case, you get the tall one, the Asinelli. I can even just see the top of the Asinelli tower from our apartment terrace. I’ll save the towers for another post, though, when I have time to do more research and take better photos. Plus, they’re worth a post of their own.
This photo was taken last weekend, when the weather wasn’t particularly nice. Today we have clear blue skies and the colors of the buildings are practically glowing! Fingers crossed that it’s just as nice tomorrow!
Enjoy your weekend!