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.
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.
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.
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.
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. :)