Mr Guitar Man
On our first visit to Bologna back in Sep 2002 we spent quite a bit of time hanging out in Piazza Maggiore, just watching the world go by with a coffee or gelato. However, each time we sat back to relax for a while we were rudely interrupted by some loud music playing just around the corner in Piazza Nettuno.
On investigation, the man responsible for the racket was a leather clad, motorcycle riding, long haired muscle man! Mr 'Guitar Man', as we christened him, was playing a tiny electric guitar very loud, over the top of piped music. What class!!
He seemed to be playing several times a day, and his twangs could be heard from all around. I will never forget his style - hair blowing in the breeze while he played his heart out to a dodgy version of Tina Turners "We don't need another Hero".....and clearly we don't, cause we have the Guitar Man, and he was so cool he could even give the Hoff a run for his money ; )
Caffetteria Terzi: the coffe paradise
Terzi, mescita e commercio caffè e te pregiati
Via Oberdan 10
h. 8.00 - 18-00
My prefered place to take a coffe or a tea is this, in venetian stucchi style, with gentle weiters that explain you all the type of coffe.
It's located in the central Via Oberdan, away from the main street, there is this parfumed and secial place.......
The caffetteria Terzi sell and prepare not the usual day coffe or tea, the owner select the best cru of coffe, from all over the world and he can help you in the choose.
There are 50 variety of tea, and tisane too that are made with a hot woter from a original Samovar.
There are special recipts like nuts, pistacchio, pepeper coffe or viennoise cappuccino and the superb Cremino:.3 layers of coffee and cream served in a parfait glass....it's a little bit expensive than the other place, but it's not Starbuck!
Don't climb the Asinelli tower if you still study
The Asinelli tower is the tallest between the two famous towers of Bologna. You can climb it and it costs 3 €, the panorama is really awsome and it's worth doing.... but... students who study at Bologna University do not climb the Asinelli Tower until they get their degree. "Asino" in Italian means "donkey" in English, "asino" stands also for people who are not clever and who don't get good marks at school. So if you climb the Asinelli Tower it brings you bad luck and you become an "asino"!! ... I am still a law student at Bologna Alma Mater University, I would love to climb the Asinelli Tower but I won't until I finish my studies!
[Well, actually, I DID climb the tower once... I was 12 on my school trip! But I hope it doesn't matter.... :) ]
Update, Feb. 2007: I finally got my law degree!!! Yeah... :) But I haven't climbed the tower yet... maybe during my next visit to Bologna... When I do it, I'll post the pics!!! ....
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How University was born
Bologna has the oldest University in the world, founded in 1088. It's called the "Alma Mater Studiorum" because it was the very first one to be born. The first faculty was law, and it was founded by a monk, called Irnerio, who started teaching the old Roman law to students who joined his classes. University was not an organization yet, there were just groups of clever students following their teacher. Of course they needed to know ancient latin.
University became an organization much later, the first "state" University in Italy was in Naples and it was founded by Federico II (it is called "Università Federico II" even now).
Bologna University is still one of the biggest in Italy.
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This are nice pieces of work and look very atractive. The first graphite is painted on the front facade of an house which is under major reconstruction works and it will probably disappeared in a while. To bad because it is nice piece of work and funny. The other one is painted on a wall in porticoe which is situated right opposite to the main entrance of the university (Universita degli studi). You can't miss it coz it still stands there.
Flea market at Piazza San Stefano
I was several times in Bologna, before and after this visit in 2006, but never before have seen this flea market in Piazza San Stefano. Could it be that the fair is taking place each year around 10th of June, which was the day of my visit?
The local lady have explain, the antique market held every second Sunday of the month. Here on Piazza San Stefano one can find jewelry, furniture, carpets and picture frames. Don't be surprised if prices are high, one must be very skillful in burgain to reduce them. In case one is interesting in books or lace, there is another smaller flea market held on Thursdays in via Valdonica and Piazza San Martino.
This huge lantern called Liberty, recently restored, is hanging in the palace Re Enzo since 1920, actually at its corner on Piazza Nettuno and Via Rizzoli.
"Ogni vita che nasce porta luce sulla terra" (EVERY LIFE THAT IS BORN BRINGS LIGHT TO THE EARTH), this striking thought inspired the mayor of Bologna, Mr. Virginio Merola, turning on a lantern post for every newborn in the city. What a nice and moving idea, welcome to every newborn in the city, a symbolic flash to share with everyone a moment of joy in Bologna!
This city site is simply called "Angollo di Padre Marella" and every citizens of Bologna knows it perfectly well. Don Olinto Marella (1882-1969), known as Padre Marella, was the good spirit of the city. After WW II he established orphanage in the city of Bologna for all kids who lost their parents during the big war.
Padre Marella used to stand on this corner, each and every day, with the hat in his hand begging small money for his orphans and securing them warm accomodation and daily food....
Motorbikes, bikes and lots of beautiful girls
One of my first impression was, Bologna is place with lots of motorbikes, bikes and beautiful girls (not neccesserelly in that order). Having old medieval structure in its central parts, motorbike is certainly the best and the quickiest way to move around. The same goes for bike which is, of course, a bit slower but probably more convinient. Next time I'll take my bike with, that is for sure. And finally, sugar at the end, there are thousands of beautiful girls in Bologna and you'll meet them on any corner of the city. If I am only twenty.
Fairs in Bologna
Every year Bologna hosts many fairs called "Fiere" in italian. At the forefront of the fair region, with advanced services for the organizers, exhibitors, and visitors. Fairs in Bologna propose an international fair calendar for not only Italy, but for other countries abroad. From the site www.bolognafiere.it
How to get Bologna Fairs region from the airport
The Guglielmo Marconi International Airport in Bologna is linked directly to Bolognafiere by a convenient AEROBUS BLQ shuttle service.
The G. Marconi Airport in Bologna will be closed from May 3rd to July 2nd 2004 for the runway improvement and extension by 350 meters.
For more information, visit the Website:
When in Rome (or Bologna), do as the Romans do
I must have led a charmed life up to this particular venture to Italy, because in all the other countries I visited, English was either one of the standard languages or, in the case of France, I spoke the ambient tongue. I suppose I expected that many, if not most, of the hoteliers and shop keepers and transport personnel in Italy would speak at least a modicum of English. I didn't invest in a phrase-book (although it turned out my companion had brought one along). What arrogance! I have only myself to blame for the multiple times when language barriers led to absurd or disappointing results. (It is hard to ask for directions when you can't articulate where you want to go -- and can't understand when someone tries to help out.)
Probably no one reading this tip would make such a foolish mistake, but just in case...either learn enough Italian to get by, or keep a phrase-book or English-Italian dictionary close at hand. I promise you'll have a more enjoyable visit.
(And as one VT'er says in a very funny motto which I will badly paraphrase, speaking English slowly and very loudly does NOT make it more comprehensible!)
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The other towers of Bologna
In the medieval times there were about 180 towers in Bologna, most of them built by the local noble families. Actually, it was a kind of competition among themselves in order to show the importance and the riches of particular family. Not much of the towers survived, besides most famous Asinelli and Garisenda, there are still remained the towers Prendiparte, Azzoguidi, Torresotto and few others of minor importance.
Luigi Aloisio Galvani (1737-1798), who lived and died in Bologna, was Italian physician, philosopher and doctor in medicine. In 1771 he discovered that the muscles of dead frogs legs twitched when struck by a spark. This was one of the first forays into the study of bioelectricity, a field that still today studies the electrical patterns and signals of the nervous system.
After French occupation of Northern Italy in 1797, it was required every university professor to swear loyalty to the new authority. Galvani refused to swear loyalty and this led to the new authority depriving him of all academis and public positions, which took every financial support away. Galvani died in Bologna, in his brother's house, on December 4, 1798.
Galvani's monument stand in the square dedicated to him, facing the Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio, the ancient seat of the University of Bologna. A big marble statue, work of Italian sculptor Adalberto Cencetti from 1875, has been erected to the scientist while observing one of his famous frog experiments.
In the Middle Ages via Clavature was one of the main streets of the city, street which has seen passing popes, princes and emperors. In the past, as well as today, the area of so-called "quadrilatero" (quadrilateral) was dedicated to the trade. The name comes from ancient workshops of blacksmiths who bult keys and locks, in Bolognese dialect called "clavauture".
Via Clavature is narrow street and still has the flavor of ancient perfumes that for years have made it so special, one of the delicacies that characterize the city of Bologna. As soon as one enters the street can smell the onions and garlic, which was mixed with the fish. Good food, hospitality, elegance and simplicity, these are the typical features of Clavature, framed with the 17th century Palazzo Pepoli Campogrande, located in one of the most fascinating areas in the center of Bologna.
Clavature is one of those places rich with history, steeped by old charm that can be sented at each step.
Visit the church
Walking towards piazza Maggiore I passed Cattedrale San Pietro. This was about 9:30am and it was very busy with a service in progress. Many people were coming and going so I snuck in for a few moments.
I was quite surprised to find that on my return journey to the station this church had yet another service going on and it was even busier. To begin with I thought there was a special event as there were people dress up in DJ's at the door, but I'm told this is normal.
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