One of those days …

When you’re just having one of those days …

bologna urban street art vino wine

bologna urban street art vino wine prosecco

Farm Animal Italian Lessons

Years ago, when I was first taking Italian lessons, I would rent Italian films for practice. One of my favorites was Johnny Stecchino, starring Roberto Benigni. It was fun and silly — though not without some social commentary — although with the speed and accents, it wasn’t always the easiest to follow. Still, that’s what the subtitles were for!

In one of the scenes toward the end, he’s seen leading a group of mafia thugs on a song about the sounds animals make.

There’s a street just off the Piazza Maggiore in the Quadrilatero that has some wonderful animal paintings on the protective grills when the shops are closed. That inspired me to add updating the animals sounds to my current Italian lessons. After all, animals in different countries speak different languages, too! Charlie, my Dutch dog, may not know “drop it” in English, but he does seem to know the equivalent in Dutch. (He wasn’t happy when I finally found the right Dutch term recently.)

So, I present to you the Italian names and sounds of a few animals.

Horses are i cavalli and when they neigh, they say “hiiiiii”
Italian lessons animal sounds

The cow — la mucca — goes “muuuuuu”
Italian lessons animal sounds cow painting

The rooster — il gallo — says “chicchirichí [keekeereekee]”
Italian lessons animal sounds street art

Pop Quiz! What sounds do these animals make?
Italian lessons animal sounds street art

If you’re thinking that I didn’t tell you what sound the bull (il toro) makes, well, it turns out they make the same sounds as cows. #muuuuuuuu

I hope you enjoyed this illustrated Italian lesson. If you want to learn more, you can find more sounds here. So from me, it’s “ciao” and from Charlie, it’s “bau bau”!


But is it art?

A question for the ages. What is art? Sure, there are fairly obvious answers — Michelangelo’s David, Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, Masaccio’s Tribute Money, etc. Yet when it comes to modern art, things are a little less set in stone … or oil paints, or plaster, for that matter. Graffiti is one of those areas that divides people, and even for those like myself who do think of it as art, there are often debates as to what counts and what doesn’t. I like street art, but I don’t like random squiggles that are little more than a spray-painted signature. Or maybe I just don’t like the randomness of much of it. See? Even I can’t make up my mind completely as to what is art.

As I’ve said before, Bologna is full of what I consider street art and what I also consider to be just ugly squirts of paint. Some is purely words, but poetry is art, and if those words make you think, then should they not also be considered art? So, here are a few more bits and bobs I’ve spotted around town. You can make up your own mind whether they’re art.

bologna street art is it art what is art

bologna street art is it art what is art

bologna street art is it art what is art

bologna street art is it art what is art

In this case, which is “better” art? The photo with the man or without the man? I like both, so you get both. More chances to think about whether the revolution will happen.

bologna street art is it art what is art

bologna street art is it art what is art



bologna street art

Another Flamingo in Bologna?

While Charlie and I were out walking this afternoon, he was sightseeing with his nose, and I was sightseeing with my eyes. Both of us had plenty to enjoy. As we were walking along Via Mascarella, I was admiring some of the artwork that adorns the grates that cover the restaurant and shop entrances when they’re closed. Some of those may be a post for tomorrow, along with a few others I’ve snapped recently. Then we got to a spot not far from Cinema Odeon and I may have let out a started, “Oh!” I’ve been known to do that quite loudly when coming across something unexpected but lovely. In this case, it was a flamingo! Well, a painted flamingo, but a  Bologna flamingo nonetheless! Obviously, I couldn’t resist snapping a few shots. And Charlie had to get in on the action, as well.

bologna flamingo moustache

It turns out that Moustache is a bar/restaurant that’s been open since around 2011. It seems to get solid reviews from both locals and tourists, so I might just have to give it a try soon! Their cocktails seems to be pretty popular, while the food is simple, genuine Italian dishes, I think particularly from Emilia. It all sounds good to me! Have you been to Moustache? What did you think?

Dragons on the Wall

I am particularly fond of this bit of graffiti street art, in large part because of the dragon figure on the right. Well, I assume it’s a dragon. Perhaps it is St. George (on the left) and the dragon? After all, the flag of Bologna is the cross of St. George.

dragon street art graffiti bologna

Maybe it’s just a Rorschach test of some sort and people see different things. It’s easy to see humor, magic, and love in this work of art, both in form and interpretation. That’s the thing about street art. If you stop to really look and think, it can be so much more than what gets lumped under “graffiti”. What do you see when you look more closely?

Wall Art and Words in Bologna

I thought I’d share a few photos of some of the wall art/graffiti I’ve stumbled across recently, which amused me, one way or another. (FYI, there’s some language in the first one, though you could claim it says “puck”). When words are involved, it’s always interesting to see the different thoughts being expressed. In this batch, we see one extreme to another.

First off, I took this photo mainly as a joke. As a southerner and an editor, I believe this should say “y’all”, not “ya”. Bene ma non benissimo. But that’s just me.

graffiti bologna wall art

This next one is a bit more positive. After all, don’t we all just need a hug?

graffiti bologna wall art

Finally, just because I like it, a bit of political propaganda of the vulpine sort, with bonus faces.

graffiti bologna wall art

Wall Wisdom

your tv tells you lies bologna graffiti

I certainly don’t mean the wisdom of building walls. That’s another post at another time …

This is about the wisdom, the emotional outpouring, and the straight-up bizarre things I’ve seen written on walls around Bologna so far. They’re a different take on graffiti, relying on words, rather than pictures, to try to get their point across. Maybe some should have stuck with pictures.

Ho fame …
Bologna Words of Wisdom or Something

The beauty is your head. The beauty is lost in the English translation.
Bologna Words of Wisdom or Something

I cannot forget you! That’s your f&^% problem.
Bologna Words of Wisdom or Something

Children, TV only tells you lies.
Bologna Words of Wisdom or Something

Too drunk to … spell? Finish a thought?
Bologna Words of Wisdom or Something


Wall art small and not quite as small

madonna graffiti mustache bologna

small graffiti

Bologna is filled with graffiti. Some is fantastic; some is complete crap. I kind of like this little one. I find myself thinking of it as a skeleton mouse, but in a good way.

graffiti Bologna

This one is a little creepy and a little cute.

madonna graffiti mustache bologna

And some is probably every so slightly blasphemous.

Regardless, I see the graffiti in Bologna in all its forms as a topic I’m likely to return to on a regular basis, just going off the photos I’ve been taking already.


My partner in exploration

charlie dog portrait staffy pibble

When I first moved to the Netherlands, I had a large dog and two cats in tow. Moving to Italy, I once again had a large dog and two cats in tow. The cats remained the same, but sadly our dog Pippo passed away around four years ago. He was my partner in exploring Utrecht and was an occasional model.

A little over a year ago, I adopted Charlie, my lovely brindle Staffordshire mix. He’s always up for a walk, the longer the better. His modelling is hit or miss, but he’s usually good for at least one posed shot if there aren’t too many other distractions.

Charlie is a Dutch dog, so he gets basic commands in Dutch, but he’s learning Italian dog terms of endearment (and mockery). He’s getting used to living in a household with three languages to one degree or another.

Bologna is full of dogs. Italy is full of dogs, probably! When G and I are out, we’re constantly interrupting our conversations with “doggy” or “puppy” exclamations. In Utrecht, I photographed the cats I’d see around town. In Italy, I think it will be the dogs.

Anyway, even if you don’t see him in my photos, he’s the one I’m usually talking about when I refer to “our walks”. I’m looking forward to many more with my handsome Charlie.

dog in front of graffiti


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