Sunday, April 5, 2009

some more blogging

so a few weeks ago, we booked it to bologna for a lovely weekend, and while Trofie Wife will undoubtedly write more backstory, i will share some thoughts.

these two leaning towers constitute a central bologna landmark of construction mediocrity to rival pisa:

most likely, the bricklayers had too much lambrusco (a very sweet, red version of prosecco native to the region, which is apparently not the coolest beverage to bring to a party). we climbed the taller of the two (it's only about 4ft askew), and had this eye-opening view down to the shorter neighbor, listing nearly 11ft from plumb:

in modern times, some *crazy* architect (a certain hackneyed d.libeskind comes to mind...) might intentionally design a dramatically angular structure, rigorously studying geometries and cantilevers, yet this unplanned instance is highly captivating precisely because it's genuinely erroneous. it is perhaps an illustration of the perils (and possibilities) of laying one brick at a time, compounding smaller lapses, rather than working towards a goal.

the newlyweds atop a tower:

this building typology flourished in medieval bologna, as over 180 towers sprouted. built by wealthy families as symbols of power, they vary in proportions, ornament, porosity... here's another:

moving from potency to fertility, some other intriguing bologna snapshots include this lovely fountain in piazza maggiore:

and this spruced-up door knocker (sorry, couldn't help it):

bologna has always been a center of anatomical and other research, as the home to the oldest continually-operating university in europe (third in the world, after fez and cairo). public body dissections were staged on a marble slab in the center of the teatro anatomico, with fantastic wood sculpted figures like apollo hanging from the coffers above. unfortunately photos inside this space did not come out too well, so, dear reader, you're just going to have to go see it yourself. i do, however, have a photo of Trofie Wife looking 'positively anatomical':
Trofie Wife is here enjoying herself (perhaps a bit too much?) in the massage chair of the hotel lobby, after a long day touring.

some other weekend pics:

a large student population has maintained bologna as a hotbed of activism. critical mass is a loose movement in support of cycling and non-motorized transit. they occasionally stage 'protests' by cycling (and roller-blading, etc) en masse through major thoroughfares (in philly, nyc, and many other locales). sitting in front of the duomo, we witnessed critical mass bologna, seemingly unaware of the irony in pedaling through an already-pedestrianized piazza.

speaking of the duomo, it is the fifth largest in the world (but who's counting?), though would have been larger than st. peter's if not for jealous papal intervention, resulting in some abrupt architectural 'flourishes', especially at this transept:
(still grand inside):
the romanesque duomo in modena, to which we ventured the following day, i found far more evocative. exposed brick construction breaks down the tremendous scale; heavy, dark massive materials and proportions rather than soaring, thin, pointy and light; and moody darkness starkly pierced by light rather than even bathing in celestial light--these contrasts firmly set the modena cathedral in the kingdom of the earth and bologna in the heavens. some pics from modena:

amusing, fanciful sculptures were integrated into the architecture throughout the modena cathedral, such as these column details:

(yes, that last one is a lion eating a man).

this one is taxidermied nutria (cute-ria?) from a science exhibit we passed in a bologna piazza.
while i don't know of any nutria delicacies, you can find much else in the famed salumerias of the meat-centric bologna (discard any preconceptions of the eponymous american lunch meat). it really is amazing how sharply different the cuisine is within relatively short distances here.

while i'm at it, looking through my photos, i have to throw in another shot from cinque terre, because it's just ridiculously stunning.

and now i take leave, not wanting to steal too much of Trofie Wife's thunder. there will be lots more to come on bolognese jews, gelato (duh), encounters with trenitalia personnel, and other untold adventures...

bologna e aceto balsamico,

No comments: