Bologna in pictures, November 2021

Above and below: the church of Santa Domenica

Monumento a Luigi Galvani in Piazza Galvani. Marble statue of a man, holding a tablet which frog legs and an electrical device, showing his discovery that the muscles of dead frogs’ legs twitched when struck by an electrical spark.

Above and below: Monument to the Fallen Partisans.

Somewhere near the main piazza of any Italian town, no matter now small, will be il monumento ai caduti (literally, “the monument to the falllen”). These pay tribute to those townspeople who died in World Wars I and II.

Above: La Fontana Vecchia (The Old Fountain) is built into the side of one of the walls of the Palazzo d’Accursio on Via Ugo Bassi. This is no simple fountain, though. In fact, it’s incredibly grand and impressive in its own rights, even though it was built originally more for the lower/working classes so that they wouldn’t befoul the water in the nearby Neptune Fountain while doing their washing.

Cardinal Carlo Borromeo commissioned La Fontana Vecchia in 1563, with Tommaso Palermo Laureti chosen to create the fountain. A Sicilian painter, architect, and sculptor, Laureti worked and studied extensively in Bologna. However, having spent some time in Rome, the influence of Michelangelo worked its way into his artwork. As well as designing the Fontana Vecchia, Laureti’s drawings served as the foundation for the base and its figures of the Neptune Fountain, though the rest of the fountain was created by Giambologna.

Plaques and bas-relief sculptures cover the fountain, including family coats of arms and the Papal crown and keys in the center in honor of Pope Pius IV. A member of the Medici, his coat of arms is displayed beneath the crown and keys. There are also other symbols displayed on the fountain, such as the word “Libertas,” which represents the city of Bologna. You’ll see the word in a variety of locations throughout the city.

The elegant and upscale Galleria Cavour. Located in the Palazzo VASSÉ which was from 1550 an important patrician residence/ Partially destroyed in WWII, since 1959 this location has been the prestigious venue of the Cavour Gallery. The Cavour Gallery is inside one of the oldest and most important buildings in Bologna. Built in the 1500s, bombed during the war and now restored, it contains important art jewels all to be discovered.

Above, looking through Piazza Nettuno, with Giambologna’s fountain masterpiece, looking further towards Piazza Maggiore with the Basilica of San Petronius.

Below, the Basilica. I’ll be discussing this church in a couple of separate posts.

General ambience of the city and the arcades:

Above and below: The fountain of Pincio in Bologna, Italy, is at the entry of the Park of Montagnola, the oldest park in Bologna, opened to the public since 1664.

The Pincio staircase and the Montagnola garden

Im 1896, King Umberto I and Queen Margherita inaugurated this impressive stairway leading to the Montagnola Gardens. It was designed by Tito Azzolini (1837-1907) and Attilio Muggia (1850-1936).

Begun in 1893 by the mayor Dallolio, the works continued for three years without interruption, employing an average of 100-150 workers per day. The excavated earth served to fill the pits of the walls, between Porta S. Isaia and Porta Lame.

As a whole, the work consists of three parts: the stairs, the portico on via Indipendenza and the portico along the walls. The central body is made up of two overlapping fronts, with a panoramic terrace at the top accessible by side stairs.

The main front is decorated with two bas-reliefs: Bologna docet by Arturo Colombarini and Bologna Libertas by Ettore Sabbioni. In the center, a fountain, made by Diego Sarti (1859-1914) and Pietro Veronesi, based on a design by Muggia and Azzolini, represents a nymph attacked by an octopus. She will be commonly called “the wife of the Giant,”  that is of Neptune, and Giosue Carducci will dedicate a famous sonnet to her.

On the second front, which supports the garden, there are three other bas-reliefs, with historical themes linked to the place: The return from the victory of the Fossalta by Pietro Veronesi, The expulsion of the Austrians by Tullo Golfarelli (1852-1928) – with the “saint rogue” , who “rushes against the guns leveled by the invaders of the Fatherland” (Pascoli) – and The destruction of the fortress of Galliera by Arturo Orsoni.

At the end of the passage on via Galliera, the Maccaferri building, home of the café chantant Eden, will be built three years later. The staircase is equipped with 72 cast iron candelabra with six or four lamp posts. The steps are joined to the parapets by marble edges, which will often be used by children as slides (sblisgàn).

The Montagnola garden is transformed in a more aristocratic sense. In the center is the large fountain, complete with five groups of statues with animals and mermaids, already used for the Emilian Exposition of 1888.

In the reconstruction of 1896 the original design by Diego Sarti is partly distorted: the tub is no longer in the shape of an ellipse, but round and the edge is no longer raised and wavy.

The sculptural groups are moved away from the perimeter of the basin and disconnected from each other. The turtles, originally climbing on the edge, are gathered around the central water jet. 

Roman ruins near the Pincio.

And finally, the Bologna train station. Can someone please explain to me why there are no seats to rest upon in places in Italy where one really needs them??!!

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