Famous Bolognese: Guglielmo Marconi

Radio. I haven’t had a physical one in almost nine years and miss it occasionally, though there’s always the online option. In fact, years ago, while still living in the US, I used to listen to Italian radio online, just to practice listening to Italian. I blame my love of cheesy Italian pop on all that time spent listening to RTL 102.5. That and the limited selection of Italian CDs for sale at my local Borders bookstore at the time.

Anyway, it seems appropriate that I used to listen to Italian radio, even if online, as the man who is generally credited as the inventor of radio is an Italian, Guglielmo Marconi (Bologna, 25 April 1874 – Roma, 20 July 1937). As it turns out, not only is he Italian, he was from Bologna!

For the record, he didn’t specifically invent the radio, but he did  developed the first apparatus for long distance radio communication.  He also won a Nobel Prize in Physics, along with Karl Ferdinand Braun, for  contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy. He was just 27 when he received the first transatlantic radio signal. He would go on to become a successful businessman, entrepreneur, and through a continuing series of innovations, he was able to help make commercial radio into a success.

Nowadays, if you fly into Bologna, you’ll arrive at the Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport. Then, if you’re sticking around town for a while, you can follow one of the Marconi-inspired itineraries available from Bologna Welcome, where you can learn more about this famous son of Bologna.

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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

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Foto Friday: Walking Potatoes

walking fried potatoes chip shop patat fries
From year to year with my Utrecht blog, I’d do a Foto Friday series. They were either photos that I really liked, but just didn’t have much to say about, or they were photos that weren’t so great, but they amused me for some reason or another. I feel like starting that again. Today’s foto falls under the latter category.

It was a quick shot on the go, taken mainly because it reminded me of the chip shops in Utrecht (and the Netherlands in general). Both are essentially hole-in-the-wall places where you don’t go inside at all. You order right there on the street/sidewalk/portico. This one — one could say being stereotypically Italian — is called Amor di Patata/Love Chips, or perhaps more realistically love of chips/fries/friet/frites/patat. To be honest, I’ll take stereotypical Italian amore over the name of one of the more popular Dutch chains, which is Manneken Pis. Now, the potatoes are excellent at Manneken Pis, but the name (as they’re supposed to be Belgian/Flemish style) refers to that famous Belgian statue/fountain of a little boy peeing. Perhaps not the most appetizing association!

The other thing that amused me about this is the tag line written over the serving area. It says: patatae fritte da passeggio. Ultimately, it basically means “fries to-go”, but when you’re still learning the language and tend to take things more literally, it becomes “fried potatoes walking”. [Insert your own “Dead Man Walking” joke here.]

Hey, get your laughs wherever you can find them!

Also, apologies in advance. After spending the last eight+ years in the Netherlands (and watching a lot of BBC), having a British mother, but still being a native-born citizen of the US, I have no consistency in which term I use for fries/chips/patat/patatae fritte/frites/friet/etc. Most often, though, I will use fries, chips, or patat, but with no regard to the primary language or audience. It’s whatever comes out first!

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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.

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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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Making Progress

Bologna san petronio

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel of getting this Bologna blog of mine set up and running. Bear with me. Hopefully by the end of the week there will be some real content. In the meantime, sign up for email notifications so you know when I do actually publish a new blog post, follow me over at Facebook, and check out my Instagram account to see pictures of Bologna, my two black cats, Luna and Lola, and my dog, Charlie. My social media links are at the very top of the page.

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