Bologna, nicknamed “The Learned” and “The Fat.” The city definitely had a different feel than Florence and the hill towns. In the main piazza stands the Neptune sculpture, a curious emblem of the city given that Bologna is not a coastal town. The dolphin-riding lactating nereids from whose breasts water streams in the warmer months, commissioned by Bologna’s Cardinal Legate to celebrate the election of his uncle as Pope Pius IV, gave us pause for consideration, as well.
Bologna, The Learned. The University of Bologna is the oldest university in Europe. Under the Napoleonic Era the university acquired space throughout the city for different topics of study; in the original structure is the anatomical theater for the medical school, considered the first seat of study in Europe. The palazzo housing the university was severely damaged in WWII, and the theater was rebuilt from pieces salvaged in the rubble. We were rather surprised that visitors could walk freely through the space, and even sit on the benches. And there was no entrance fee to do so!
The dissecting table.
Apollo on the ceiling of the theater.
The elaborate porticos of the university open to a courtyard, and through them we walked with hushed tones in the umber of three Popes (Innocent IX, Alexander IX, Gregory XV); Nicolas Copernicus (an assistant to Ferrara, an Italian astronomer), and the inventor Guglielmo Marconi.
Bologna is also noteworthy for its covered porticos throughout the city. They are all different, and given that the weather was overcast with occasional sprinkles, we could move about nicely protected from the elements.
Bologna, “The Fat,” I’ll save for a later discussion. The task of putting pen to paper over my love affair with food and eating can not be undertaken lightly.