This blog post is about my short visit to the beautiful Italian city of Bologna, a variant of whose name inspired the type of sausage that, in the US, is called “baloney”, which has also become a synonym for nonsense.
On the advice of a native of the city, a fellow photographer, I headed for the old town, which is centered around the Piazza Maggiore and the beautiful Basilica of Santo Stefano, parts of which date from the fifth century.
Bologna boasts several magnificent cathedrals but, unfortunately, photography is not allowed inside any of them.
Nevertheless, I did find plenty of interesting subjects to photograph, from the imposing staircase at the city hall (lead image) to the simple scene of a chained bicycle, to the intricate patterns of the door knockers on ancient buildings.
Inside one grocery store, where I stood for a good twenty minutes, white-aproned assistants outnumbered customers by three to one, counters were laden high with pungent cheeses, fresh fruit still packed in wooden boxes and bottles of local wines, while large hams hung overhead on metal hooks. It was the kind of shop I hadn’t seen since my childhood and thought no longer existed. I just stood in a corner and took in the pleasing sensations of sight, sound and smell.
As my visit was timed at the end of November, the city streets were filled with people preparing for Christmas, with municipal workers putting up the town’s Christmas tree and stall holders setting out their seasonal goods, including tree ornaments, elaborately decorated chocolates and glühwein. A German-sounding oompah band, made up of men wearing Tyrolean hats, played Christmas carols, reminding me go how close this part of northern Italy is to the Alps.
My morning walk around Bologna also reminded me of how beautiful Italy is and that I had left it far too long since last visiting in the early 1990s. I hope to return in February, 2014.
(click on an image to enlarge it)