Towering Surprises

Bologna is filled with lots of narrow side streets and so many of those little streets have some sort of surprise along them. Beautiful colors, incredibly old palaces, and quite often a tower. The city, during the 12th and 13th centuries was like a medieval New York City, with skyscraping towers everywhere. There were possibly as many at 180, though most likely not more than 100 at any one point.

Most are gone now, though Le Due Torri (Asinelli and Garisenda) are now symbols of the city. However, there are still a fair few Bologna towers left. As you glance down a side street, you may find one of these many towers rising up unexpectedly. Just another reason to love this beautiful city.
bologna towers things to see in bologa

For what it’s worth, I believe this is the Torre Prendiparte, which is around 900 years old. It was a former prison and defense tower, but it seems it has been renovated and turned into a B&B and event spot. You can also ascend to the top, for what is surely a spectacular view.

A Peek at Some Florentine Icons

During my last day-trip to Florence, I was short on time and focused on visiting the Palazzo Strozzi and their Cinquecento art exhibit. Despite my desire to revisit old favorites, I knew they’d have to wait for another visit. Fortunately, when we got to Piazza della Repubblica, where we stopped for an overpriced and not so great prosecco, I did at least get a quick peek of Giotto’s bell tower and Brunelleschi’s dome.

Back in my uni days, while studying about the incredible construction of the dome of the cathedral in Florence, I remember having some odd dreams about Brunelleschi and blueberry muffins. But that’s a peek into my subconscious that’s probably best left unexplored.

Instead, inspired by this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge, here are a couple of photos of the bell tower (campanile) and the cupola of the dome peeking up over the rooftops of Piazza della Repubblica, with a bit of bonus carousel.

florence bell tower cathedral giotto brunelleschi renaissance architecture firenze piazza della repubblica carousel

florence bell tower cathedral giotto brunelleschi renaissance architecture firenze piazza della repubblica carousel

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Day and Night at La Torre degli Asinelli

Here’s a quick post of two photos I took yesterday of Bologna’s famous torre degli Asinelli (Asinelli tower). We went for a tour yesterday of the renovation work being done on the Neptune Fountain — more about that in another post — but as it was later in the afternoon, I was able to get a daylight shot of the Asinelli tower. You can just make out the Garisenda, the shorter of the city’s two famous towers, to the left of the tall tower. The two towers have become symbols of the city. I was also able to get an evening shot of la torre degli Asinelli, sans its shorter cousin.

One of the great things about many of the major streets being closed to traffic on weekends is that you can literally stand in the middle of the street and take all sorts of photos! The daylight photo was taken further back, near another fountain we went to see. The evening shot — taken after we’d stopped for drinks after the tour — was taken much closer to the towers.

la torre degli asinelli bologna towers

la torre degli asinelli bologna towers

If you’re curious, Europe doesn’t do the whole Daylight Saving thing for another couple of weeks. As a result, I have no idea what the time difference is now with the East Coast of the US. However, I was able to get an evening shot of the Asinelli tower at just a few minutes after 7 p.m. last night. I suppose that will change in the coming weeks and months. In the Netherlands, it stays fairly light until at least 11 p.m. in the heart of the summer, so I’m curious to see how late it stays light here, a bit further south.

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