Where do I begin? This city is… so much bigger than anything that I could even dream of doing. So many things have happened here, and the city just keeps moving, waiting for the next big thing. Nothing will ever even begin to touch the renaissance. Unbelievable. The only way to even begin and tackle the enormous task of explaining what I’ve been doing is to simply start from the beginning and hope that I don’t miss anything.
I’ve toured nearly the entire city, including museums, churches, academic halls, and public squares. I’ve been in its secret canals and best restaurants and perused the collections in its finest stores. My friends and I have taken trains to 3 beach towns – Riccone, Revana, and Rimini and yesterday I went to a concert in Ferrara! We’ve gone to Venice and Parma, and tomorrow we are going to Florence. This country is so filled with history its overwhelming.
Our tours, regardless of where they are or of what, are given ENTIERLY in Italian. So my plan of attack thus far has been to follow my friends that are fluent and have them translate what parts I didn’t understand while we walk to the next attraction. Its been incredibly frustrating as NO ONE in Italy (or at least Bolonga, Parma, Riccone, Ravena, Ferrara, or Rimini) speaks word one of English. It has made the immersion aspect a lot more relevant. Anyway, even today, Bologna is referred too as a medieval Manhattan, for obvious reasons. At any given moment one might run into anyone from Chanel clad supermodels and aristocrats to fat nona’s to bearded gypsies to protesting students to pot-bellied sausage makers. Around every corner is a new surprise or adventure. I’m not kidding.
The citys deepest origins are that of a place for advanced and radical thinking. It was the first place in Europe where men got together and chose to, in minimal accordance with the church, practice education. In 1088 the first real scholastic insitution was formed and it was the prestige of the law and medical school that attracted the worlds most brilliant minds. However, it wasn’t until 1563 that the first seat of the university was built. This building, or giant square really is called the Archiginnasio Palace and was built in order to concecrate in a single location the multiple schools that was the university. It combined the Legisti – the civil law school and the Artisti – the schools of philosophy, mathamatics, natural history physics and medicine. Pretty cool. I know. The coolest room in the entire palace was this GIANT wooden room that had ornate wooden scuptures of skinned gods surrounding the walls. It was in the shape of an ampetheater and in the center of the room was a marble table that was used for some of the first human dissections and studies ever!! You could feel the history in the room and I couldn’t help but imagine myself surrounded by all of the men who one day filled that very room, eager to see what a liver looked like. What’s even more interesting is that because this palace was the seat of the university – it also housed the most substantial “city” library in all of ITALY! To use statistical data from the tour, the Archiginnasio holds 800,000 books and pamphlets, 2,500 incunabula ( I still don’t know what that is) 15,000 sixteenth century books, 12,000 manuscripts, 50,000 letters, and 15,000 drawings and designs. His words not mine, but let me tell you, that’s certainly what it looked like.
At the moment there is a film festival going on in the Piazza Majjore, the main square in town and that has been incredible. The cobblestones are still warm from that day’s intense heat, and we all trek into town with wine and food and lay claim on a swath of it for several hours while the movie plays.
I’m sorry, I am dwelling too much on too little. There is so much to tell you about dad!!
Just to organize my thoughts I’m going to write a list of what I’ve seen:
Palazzo del Archigniassio
Piazza San Domencio – incredible church – WHERE CHARLES V WAS CORONATED!!! (I was scolded by an Italian man for wearing shorts inside of the church!) (( PLEASE READ THE ARTICLE I FOUND AT USC ABOUT HIS CORONATION !!! ))
Palazzo Comunale – (morandi museum – city art collection)
Piazza San Stefano – huge compound of 7 churches AD392 !!!
Pinacoteca Nazionale – national gallery – there was a REALLY bad earthquake right before I got here so much of this was closed, but one of Giotto’s SIGNED panels was in there!! HE ONLY SIGNED THREE IN HIS ENTIER LIFE !!!!!!
Parmigianinos statue and home
City center with sundial clock
National gallery of Parma – ENTIER ROOMS OF PARMAGIANINO AND CORREGGIO !!
St. Marks Basillica
St. Marks square
Torre dell’Orologio ( clock tower)
Took an elevator to the top of the Campanile 325 feet in the air !!!!! ill send you the pictures- I literally almost threw up.
Im getting overwhelmed, I swear Ill write more tomorrow – but that’s it for now.