Wordless Wednesday: Let’s Take the Stairs

parco della montagnola pincio bologna stairs

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”!

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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?

Italian Architectural Styles and a Moment of Zen

Charlie and I went on a fairly short walk this morning, as we’d gotten up late and I had work still to finish. But even on a short walk, you can easily be amazed by all of the architectural styles and colors to be seen in Bologna. Even at one intersection, you can find art deco on one side and medieval/Moorish on the other. Walk a little further down the street and you’ll find a church that almost looks Mission style, but with a bell tower that reminds me of Venice. Add in a few balconies and all of the beautiful colors that Bologna architectural styles are known for using and you can’t help but end up with a smile on your face.

classic italian architectural styles bologna

italian architectural styles bologna deco medieval italian architectural styles bologna art deco

italian architectural styles bologna art deco

italian architectural styles bologna mission

italian architectural styles bologna mission venetian

 

And now your Charlie moment of Zen …

Charlie moment of zen dog wall art

Good Friday in Bologna

Today certainly started off as a Good Friday, in the sense that I got to go out with Charlie for a three-hour walk around town. Admittedly, I hadn’t planned on it being a three-hour walk, but the weather was nice and we were having fun, so we just kept walking. Well, we did stop for a coffee in Piazza Maggiore and enjoyed a bit of people and dog watching, too.

Good Friday basilica di san petronio bologna Good Friday Piazza Maggiore Bologna

Along the way, we found ourselves strolling down Via Indipendenza, one of the major shopping streets. It’s also home to the city’s cathedral. Despite what you may think, the Basilica di San Petronio in Piazza Maggiore is not the cathedral. It’s certainly a big church, but it’s not the cathedral. I’ll save the semantics for another day. I took so many photos today that until G just reminded me, I had forgotten I had one of the cathedral (the building on the right) juxtaposed against some curvy Art Deco architecture.
Good Friday st peter cathedral bologna

Anyway, as we were walking along Via Indipendenza, we passed under the portico of the Palazzo del Monte di Pietà. This building, which dates back to the 1470s, was originally the residence of the cannons of the cathedral and was connected to the cathedral. However, I think since the 1500s, it has frequently had some sort of banking/loan history and is still the seat of a banking institution.

The pietà element of the name of the palazzo can be seen in the sculpture over the doorway. I suppose it’s appropriate for today, seeing as it’s Good Friday, the day Jesus is supposed to have died on the cross. This depicts more of a deposition with Nicodemus having taken Christ down from the cross, with Mary and two angels looking on.

Good Friday Charlie palazzo del monte di pieta bologna Good Friday deposition of christ palazzo del monte di pieta

(For what it’s worth, I’m not Catholic; I’m not even religious. But you can pick up a surprising amount of information when you focus on the art and architecture of the Italian Renaissance at university. I’m drawn to this kind of stuff for that reason.)

So, whether you’re celebrating Easter, Passover, or hopefully at least a long weekend, enjoy yourselves! I hope you’re having a good Friday, too.

Pretty Details in Bologna’s Parco della Montagnola

In Utrecht, I was lucky enough to have a small park one street over from our house. It bordered a stretch of the ring canal that circles the old city center. Depending on the time I took Charlie out first thing in the morning, we could sometimes have the park to ourselves. Occasionally we’d run into other dog owners and sometimes the dogs would get to run about and play. However, for all of the green area around Utrecht and the number of parks and parklike areas, there was an absence of closed off dog parks.

Here in Bologna, we go to Parco della Montagnola, and while it’s not one street over, it’s not that much further. And this park has an enclosed area specifically for dogs. Charlie’s already made friends (and the occasional nemesis).

However, while Charlie prefers the eastern side of the park, my favorite spot is the western edge and the beautiful lamps and view. This is a quick snap I took this morning before Charlie decided there were more things to sniff further along the path.

parco della montagnola bologna italy

I’ve been busy constructing Ikea furniture for the past two days, as well as writing an article about Paulus Potter’s The Young Bull, so I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for more photos and information about Parco della Montagnola. I’ll leave you with the fact that it is the oldest park in Bologna and first opened to the public back in 1664. When you have to go somewhere every day (thanks, Charlie!), I can think of worse places to go!

Head Shops and Dutch Dogs

dutch dog finds hemp shop head shop in bologna italy qui canapa

Here’s Charlie putting the cane (dog) in canapa (hemp). What do you expect from a Dutch dog? While out walking this morning, his nose zoomed in on Qui Canapa, a hemp/grow/seed/head shop in Bologna. This discovery was soon followed up by a long sniff around the nearby pizza restaurant. I’m not kidding!

Charlie probably recognized some of the scents coming from the hemp shop. After all, in Utrecht, we had three “coffee shops” within a 3-5 minute walk from our house, and one of those places was actually a boat, known as the Culture Boat! (The larger white/blue/red boat on the right.)
Iced In

Despite the Dutch reputation, most people don’t smoke weed/pot/hashish. Tourists and university students probably make up a large portion of the customers, with a few other local regulars. You smell it on occasion, but it’s not like everyone’s stopping in to a “coffee shop” or culture boat on a regular basis. Plenty of people don’t bother at all.

Still, I had to laugh when I realized what the shop was that Charlie was sniffing around so intently this morning. Of course the Dutch dog found the head shop in Bologna. In another bit of synchronicity, I received an email today from Philip Lindeman, a Dutch artist I’d written about a few months ago for my Utrecht blog. He did a great mural on the wall outside of one of the head shops in Utrecht. It’s almost like the universe is trying to tell me something …

Seriously, though, the shop isn’t a Dutch “coffee shop”. Per their website, they are a shop, but also an information point as part of their aim is to make people more aware of the uses of hemp, both in therapy and in a wide range of products. Hemp has long been used for a variety of purposes that had nothing to do with getting high. In fact, the shop sells pasta, beer, chocolate, oil, face creams, bags, t-shirt, glasses and more, all based on hemp/canabis. Hemp is an easily renewable resource, so I’m actually interested in going in some time and checking out what they have to offer. I think Charlie wants to go, too.

dutch dog finds hemp shop head shop in bologna italy qui canapa

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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