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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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October 11, 2010

Friday...Not as Fun as Thursday, But Interesting

I knew this would happen - I got too far behind on my journaling and now am not remembering any of the little details I like to remember.  What will happen though is once I'm home little things will pop into my head every now and then and I'll think "oh, yeah I remember that" and that will be nice.  (In fact, I typed this Sunday night, it's now Monday morning and last night after I went to bed something popped into my head and I thought "oh, yeah - that happened Friday" but I didn't want to get up and now of course, it's gone again.)

And I spent some time each day visiting with Maria which was really pleasant - learned a little bit about her background and her current life and just became quite fond of her in a very short while.  For me, our conversations were a real pleasure.

But I know the two things I actually did and I have lots of pictures to show for it, but other than that - there's just nothing there.  I also think that as I get closer to time to come home, I tend to start unconsciously focusing on that. 

The two places I got to Friday - were the Archiginnasio and Civic Archaeological Museum.  On the way, I took this picture of yet another pretty ceiling in one of the porticoes:

The Archiginnasio Palace is considered the first permanent seat of the University of Bologna, which is said to be the first university in the Western world, being founded in 1088.  (And, a young man in my building was actually studied there for a year - he should be writing this!)  So, this building, constructed in 1563, served as a single location for all the schools of the university which had been scattered about the city.  All of the ceilings and upper walls of all the porticos, staircases, arches and halls are covered with thousands of student emblems, heraldic shields and inscriptions honoring teachers.

Strangely enough, this isn't a very good example, but Friday didn't turn out to be a good photo day, apparently!

A close-up of the area at the top of the landing - see what people can accomplish when they're not watching TV or texting (or blogging!)  The mind boggles at all the painting that got done.

Housed in this building is the Anatomy Theatre where anatomy was taught by dissecting corpses.  I heard a tour guide explaining that the corpses were mostly of people who had been put to death and kind of wondered what her point was.  Was that better than using just plain old corpses or ??  Anyway, it is a beautiful room and I'm not very happy with my pictures here.  It's another all wood room and the wood was a very nice mellow brown, not dark but certainly not the golden color you see in a couple of these pictures. 

This is a statue of Apollo suspended in flight in the center of the ceiling.  Try to picture this as a warm cherrywood brown...this yellow is pretty grotesque.

Just keep saying "warm cherrywood brown".  These statues adorn the front of the lecturer's lectern and no, I don't just take pictures of all the naked men I see - I took this close up because these are "skinless" statues - they show the actual muscles rather than a skin-covered body.  I've never seen that in sculpture before.  These were done in 1734.

This and the next picture show the length of one long wall - 6 statues on each side.  In the corner, the color of the wood is much closer to what I saw.

More of the ceiling - each panel with a carved statue in it.

Now I'm back out in the gallery area - again not a good example of the emblems and I could swear I took some!

This looks the same as the other, but the ceilings are different - this one isn't quite as beautiful as the other but it's not bad either.

And another thought about my reaction to Bologna.  I liked it more each day and would definitely like to spend more time there, but as far as the tourist "attractions", I had a very hard time knowing where they were.  For example, this Archiginnasio is in a long row of porticoed buildings and there's a sign to go in, so that's fine.  But once I was in there, I didn't know where I could go and where I couldn't.  I mean, I think there are areas in these places that are still being used as offices, etc.  My guidebook mentioned a chapel and a library, but I didn't see anything about a chapel inside and I didn't know if I was allowed in the library.  Nothing seems to be clearly marked, and certainly not in any language but Italian.  But one of the pleasures of Bologna is that it is, I think, a very Italian city.  Most anywhere I ate or stores I went into,  or steps I sat on in a piazza, it was Italian I heard.  And there are always "events" going on from a single little booth set up to distribute pamphlets about something to the huge whatever-they-are events that take place in Piazza Maggiore.  As I mentioned there was one of those being torn down when I arrived in Bologna and this afternoon they were starting to set up another one - this one even involved laying temporary flooring over the Piazza!  So that makes it a very alive city even though it is so very old. 

Moving on, I then went on to the Civic Archaeological Museum (again in that same row of palazzos under porticoes, but also again, with a visible sign - very helpful and very infrequently seen).  It has artifacts starting from pre-historic times up through Etruscan to Roman Bologna with the basement area being devoted to an Egyptian collection, and that's where I started. I was there a lot longer than I thought I would be.  It's a really impressive collection - the guidebooks say it's one of the most important in Europe and I can believe it. Sure made me wish my grandson Johnny could see it because he went to Egypt last year and came back all excited about it.  We visited an Egyptian exhibit in Charleston, WV while he was with me during spring break and it was nice, but, WOW! this was really impressive. I'm real disappointed in most of the pictures (again) which, of course, were taken mostly through glass display cases.  Bue I don't remember there being any yellow walls or yellow anything so I don't know why so many of the pictures came out with real yellow backgrounds.  But I will post them anyway. :)  By the way, they had a little handout in English at this museum which identifies at least some of the major things, bless them.

This is from the tomb the last Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty (he was General Horemheb before he was Pharoah).  They give a date of 1332-1323 B.C., so assuming it didn't take him 9 years to die and get buried, I'm not real sure what the date refers to but it's old!!

And this is some hieroglyphics for Johnny to decipher, if he can. :)

A beautiful painted wooden coffin in unbelievably excellent condition.

And, if I'm understanding my guide correctly, this is Amenhotep and his wife Merit - 1319-1279 B.C.

An excellent head of the pharoah Tutmosis III (oh, dear - when I type that all I can think is "titmouse").

In addition to the hideous yellow background, this is a blue faience ushbati (a funerary statuette) of Seti I.

I believe these are funerary jars (not bright yellow of course) but they're also more hieroglyphics for Johnny.

I have no idea what this was, but found it fairly amazing - both the artwork and the fact that so many of its colors are still there.

Scarabs - the real thing going down to wee beensy.  And in fact, this was the start of shelf after shelf of wee little carvings - I suppose maybe these would be amulets?


This row had a sign with the word "cuore" on it and since the name of the place I'm staying is Bologna nel Cuore and Maria's logo is a heart, I realized that cuore is Italian for heart.  More than one way to build a vocabulary.  Maria told me she wanted her logo to represent being in the heart of Bologna and having Bologna in your heart.

This is fantastic - there's the mummy, the sarcophagi, the coffin, little dog statues, the funerary jars, even little foot slippers - all in beautiful condition.

And these, which were actually a nice old linen color, are cat mummies - now don't get any bright ideas all you cat lovers out there!

Just a papyrus, but think how long it's survived...

I went back up to the ground floor where they had sort of random seeming things - I think they called this the plaster cast gallery and it was mostly old tombstones, a couple of column pediments (is that the right word?) and a wonderful torso of Nero in a very elaborate breastplate. I went out into their beautiful courtyard but was so hungry by then, I had to call it quits.

A nice family tombstone for the Cornelii family.  Maybe I should commission one like this with my children beside me. :)

Nero's handsome breastplate.  I thought Nero was a fat man who fiddled while Rome burned.  Was there more than one Nero?

One corner of the museum's courtyard.

And what a beautiful courtyard it is.

So, if I come back to Bologna, I will visit this museum again to see the rest of it.  What I saw was very nice. 

Oh, and another little note - I've been taking pictures most everywhere - one place I went had a sign "no photos" (and I guess I can't remember where it was because I have no photos!) but just that one time.  AND...for the most part there is no entrance fee, or a very negligible entrance fee and one time I even got the senior discount (meaning free) even though normally that is only given to Europeans.  So that is a nice change from Florence, where you can go broke just visiting all the sites (let alone eating!)

So, yes, Bologna continues to grow on me.  Maybe they should just hire me to be an advisor on how best to present this very complex city.  Of course, first they'd have to show me where every single thing of importance is so I could then figure out how to make it all clear to confused people like myself. :)  


Christopher said...

Sounds (and looks) like that museum was really something, with those exhibits. And the courtyard is just beautiful! You know I love gothic, but when you see beautiful romanesque arcades, etc., it really is something, too.
Your yellow hue is likely do to a color balance problem... You may have inadvertently set your "White Balance" setting to something incompatible with the scene---such as using "Daylight" when you're inside under "Tungsten" lighting... Every light source has its own temperature, and the camera setting tries to account for that. Very hard to do, if you're inside, with mixed lighting sources (like tungsten bulbs + fluorescents, etc.)

January said...

I also think you should go back to Bologna! I could look at the pictures from it all day - the ceilings really are mind-blowing. I loved the skinless statues in the anatomy theatre too.
I was talking to a friend last night who lived in Rome for a couple of years and has been to Italy many times, and he says Bologna is his favorite city of all. Also, when he was there, he got to take a tour given by Umberto Ecco, who was teaching at the University! Crazy. Anyway, it looks lovely, crazy yellow pictures or not :)

From the Editor's Desk... said...

Well, sure, if I had someone like Umberto Eco showing me around, I'd probably get more out of the city too! :) He's a lucky duck.


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