Saturday, June 4, 2016

Bologna Details

There's no major theme to this set of photos from Bologna... just details from the streets. First, a couple of bas relief sculptures from high on a wall:

This one shows one of the city's gates. The city has had three sets of walls in its life, once during the Roman years, once for most of the second millennium, and one that still partially stands, though it is so thoroughly worked into the buildings it's hard to spot.

The second bas relief is an elephant with a howdah, up on the second floor of a building. Not sure what it's meant to signify.

Next, a set of details worked into various outdoor terrazzo floors:

Two Fiorinis... again, not sure why.

It's not clear to me whether this is a year or a building number.

What city isn't better off with a dragon shield on the floor here and there?

Next, just some beautiful things I saw along the way:

This green bike so clearly represents the nature of bicycling in Bologna: relaxed and easy. Mixing with pedestrians and even cars without danger. No helmets or special gear, lots of women wearing skirts, lots of older people. All of the bikes are heavy and have this kind of step-through structure, rather than the high cross bar usually seen on bikes in the U.S. Almost all have a basket for carrying your bit of shopping or backpack. This one has a particularly nice color and style.

Some incendiary peonies and intense purple alliums.

I think this mythological creature's purpose is to keep vehicles from damaging the corner of the building. In most places I've been, it would have been a vertically shaped lump of concrete with maybe some metal at the top or base. Probably covered with school bus paint. But in Bologna, it's a dragon, or a dragon's cousin.

Meanwhile, the base of this light post has three legs. And fur. And sort of a skirt.

And speaking of light posts...

...a gentle reminder that the streetlights are a public good.

This intercom harkens back to the Roman empire, when Bologna was called Bononia.

Finally, for the beautiful, I came across this tiny church, which speaks fluent terra cotta, the native language of Bologna. The pink-red house to the left is a bonus.

And then there are a couple of notable but not beautiful details I saw along the way:

While browsing through what seemed to be the largest bookstore (among the dozen or more bookstores that I saw in the city center!), I found this juxtaposition on a shelf of English language books. I swear I did not move the books. Some other customer did this.

Which brings us to the Street of the Malcontents. I wonder who lives there, why it's named that, and whether Donald Trump has rented a pied-a-terre nearby.

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