After six days of riding in some of the most beautiful roads in Italy and southern Switzerland we again reached the city of Bologna, the hometown of Ducati and other notable neighbours like Lamborghini and Ferrari.
The weather of the city was a stark contrast to the Alps. It was hot and dry. Still I (Anurag stayed put at the hotel to rest and catch up with writing the blogs) decided to head out to see some of the city, especially the center.
But before that a brief background of the city. Bologna is one of the most developed cities in Italy, with big flyovers, cloverleaf roads with neverending bends and swamky cars and bikes. It hasnt got that small village charm of course, the one which we all desire for.
Bologna often ranks as one of the top cities, in terms of quality of life in Italy. It is also home to the oldest university in the Western world, University of Bologna which was founded in 1088.
In total, there are some 38 kilometres of arcades in the city’s historical center (over 45 km in the city proper), which make it possible to walk for long distances sheltered from rain, snow, or hot summer sun. The Portico of San Luca, one of the longest in the world (3.5 km, 666 arcades) connects the Porta Saragozza (one of the twelve gates of the ancient walls built in the Middle Ages, which circled a 7.5 km part of the city) with the San Luca Sanctuary, on Colle della Guardia, over the city (289 m.). I paid a visit to the Sanctuary of San Luca from where one can see a panorama of the city. The heat and sun was almost the same as it would be in Rajasthan – Deja Vu for us!
Photos below: Sanctuary of San Luca
Bologna also has a curious social and architectural phenomenon in the Middle Ages. Weathly families used to construct tall towers to mark their social status as well as to keep a guard on the ground below. Estimates have kept the count of the towers to be around 80-100 in total spread over a period of time.
The two famous towers existing in the center of Bologna (both of them leaning) are the Asinelli and Garisenda. Both of them names after the families who probably built them. probbaly because of the lack of proper paperwork which shows this. Public is only allowed to climb the taller (Asinelli) tower at 97.2 metres ASL because the smaller one has too much lean! I had to pay 2 euros for the entry and had to climb almost 500 steps to reach the top with a couple of breath-breaks.
Photo below: Climbing the taller Asinelli tower.
From the top I enjoyed a fantastic panoramic view of the city. With the 100-400mm it was a delight to shoot all this big and small below. (Photos below)
So today was our so called break from everyday riding, however the heat took its toll and I were dead tired by the time we returned.
Photos below: Via Rizzoli in the center
Photo below: A handicraft for sale in a shop in Bologna
Photo below: Cycles, even mangled ones are a popular mode of transport in the city center
Photo below: Cozy narrow lanes play host to huge buses and small vehicles like bicycles too. It is a bit like seeing our own small lanes in India but much much cleaner and quieter.
The Ducati Monster in one of the many kilometres