Sunday, March 24, 2019

Bologna and Verona

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We had planned a couple of days in Bologna, however an early summer cold got me down, Carol was exhausted from our forrays into Floreence where we averaged 5 miles per day of walking on cobbled streets, and Bobbie was looking forward to a long hike in the hills around Firenzoula.  So we altered our scheduled and spent the last two days of our Tuscany visit in our quiet valley.  Rested, and ready for the nest leg, we departed early morning.  Our hour and a half drive to Bologna was through the mountains once again, coming onto the Piedmont plains of Italy and the city.  It took us quite a bit of wandering through narrow streets before we found someplace to park the car.  It's a good thing we arrived an hour early.  From there we walked about 20 minutes through a maze of beautiful covered and arched sidewalks to the meeting place for our walking tour of the city.  Between the "Two Towers" of Bologna we met our guide and began our journey.  We were still early so we enjoyed a break at a local sidewalk cafe.

Our guide Rafaela was well spoken and took us around the historic old city pointing out the usual monuments and a few surprises.  The two towers were built in 1372.  The one on the right is the tallest in the city.  It's sister was only halfway completed before the foundation started to sink and it has remained in that condition every since.
There were several examples of this high strusted portico, a design unique to Bologna.  Our guide was not sure of the significance of using the heavy timers to support the common three floor high entrances.

 The city has over 38 km of covered sidewalks, all with Roman arches.  White unique in all of Italy.

This historic square contains three churches of the Saint Stefano clan.
The one on the right below is unique as it is a replica of the holy sepulcher of Jerusalem and was build in 1150 for the purpose of housing the original inner tomb from there.  The transfer never took place becaause the pope who ordered the work died.  Instead the inner tomb was replicated and now contains the remains of Saint Stefano.

 Interesting eaves with many faces carved.
 The main gate of the inner city where the government buildings from the 14th century are located.
 Another high timbered portico.
 Our guide Rafaela.
 The book stalls outside of the university.  The first built in Medival Italy.
 The walls and ceilings contain over 7,000 graduation certificates from seven centuries and today the university is still in operation.

 The main square.
 City hall.
 The main cathedral.
 Triton fountain.
 Palace of the king and then magistrate.  Now the offices of the governor of the province.
 Lastly we walked through the Jewish ghetto.  The boundaries are identified by an interesting map of the blocks and streets, in the shape of a hand.

We finished our short visit to Bologna with a return to the car and picnic lunch along the roadside before continuing on to Verona two hours away.  Upon arrival we were pleased to find that our home for the next four days was in the upscale part of the city.  The streets were all inhabited by four and five story luxury apartment buildings.  Ours was on the fourth floor with a private elevator.  No bad for a $100 a night Airbnb.  Three huge king bedrooms, a full kitchen, large living room, and private balcony.  It was a sunny day and we were promised much of the same for the duration of our stay.  Carol and I made a few local recipes in the great kitchen.

We spent two days wandering the streets of Verona.  Our first day we walked twenty minutes to the river and then up the small hill to see the Roman Theater,.  The museum attached was full of the typical Roman find.  The theater was being reconfigured for a performance of Romeo and Juliet.

 Model of the original theater.
 The ruins today dating back to the first century BC.
 A church built on the site in the 1300s.

 Mosaic floors from the theater corridors.
 A few items of interest to us in the museum.

 A really fine collection of bronze miniatures from 100 BC to 300 AD.

 View of Verona belowl.
 Behind the theater the orignal superstructure was converted to a monastery and is now home to the museum.
 Later we wandered into the old city and visited the beautiful cathedral.

 The twin pipe organs were grand indeed.

 On our second day we walking again into the city center were we met our walking tour guide.
 The highlight of the central plaza is the area.  Anther "collisium" of Italy and spectacular.  The interior has been complete rebuilt and is the center of performing arts throughout the summer and fall.

Our guide, the blond, was funny and energetic.  She spoke excellent English with a huge Italian accent.
 One of the city gates and the outer wall.
 The Castle DeVecchio - center of medical government.

 Views from the river again.

 Arch of Tribute. Napolean took it apart becuase it was not wide enough for his procession to enter the city,.  It sat assembled for almost 100 years alongside the river until being reconstructed in a new locaiton.  This one is made of limestone instead of marble.  Interesting.
 The original city gate.
 Center plaza full of tourist stalls selling Chinese and Indian made trinkets.
 Tomb of Verona's ruling family.
 Narrow and charming residential streets.
For our last day we drove up into the Dolomites behind Verona and visited a the small resort town of Sirmione on Lake Garda.  We have hoped to visit Lake Como on their trip but it is a bit out of our way.  The drive was lovely and the village was charming.  However, being a Sunday, it was mobbed by locals and tourist and there was not a single parking space to be found.  Police were directing traffic out of the village center.  It was a beautiful sunny day so we decided to circumnavigate the entire lake instead.  The tunnels were amazing and the views were stunning.  We enjoyed a sweet picnic lunch along the way.  It took us over five hours to get all around the lake.