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Bologna's Attics

Another blazingly blue sky, and equally blazingly hot sun. We had another day on our Bologna Cards, so museums seemed a good use of the day.

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We began at the Archaeological Museum, housed in yet another palazzo near Piazza Maggiore. The lower floor starts you off with the Egyptians, a small though nicely presented collection. Afterward, we walked through the lovely courtyard, and up to the Paleoithic exhibits. Here we felt firmly in the 19th century, with acres of glass cases housing brown pot after brown pot, with hundreds of arrowheads thrown in for good measure. The labels are typed, looking to be from the 1950's. After that, you land in the Etruscans, with more cases crammed with jewelry, funeral pots, all manner of brass gizmos, funeral steles, and the occasional skeleton. Lots of interesting little bits and pieces, tiny animal figures, lovely carvings on stone. The Greek rooms had case after case of pottery, many of the cases so badly lit you really can't see what's inside.

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The Roman rooms had fascinatingly painted cases and pots, though I made some unscholarly observations about the nude men and clothed women who decorated most of them. Gorgeously delicate animals painted on vases, interesting bronzes, detritus of daily Roman life, and Larry was fascinated by the collection of Roman locks.

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We walked through Piazza Maggiore, which as usual during the day was being crisscrossed by trailing tour groups, most of whom were speaking Italian or French. We walked around a bit, finding the base of one of the two towers, which has been turned into a B&B. Which looks extremely cool, unless you're in the room on the 11th floor! the B&B hosts cocktail hour on their top terrace, which we'd consider climbing up to on a cooler evening.

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Found a pizzeria I'd seen recommended, Scalinatella on Via Caduti di Cefalonia. It is right next to the base of the tower.We decided to sit inside, where it was considerably cooler and quieter. Our table was right against the wall of the tower, which was fun.
We enjoyed good though not knock-your-socks-off pizzas, and a jug of slightly frizzante house wine. A good choice for a simple meal if you're in the area.

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From here we walked over to the Museum of the Middle Ages, housed in, you guessed it, a palazzo. The first small rooms had a collection of "curiosities", things lime carved ostridge eggs and Venetian platform shoes. Lots of strange and fun things to look at. Then room after room of carvings, stained glass, metalwork, textiles. What we found most interesting were the large carved tombstones for famous professors at the University.

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The museum's publicity spoke of a new exhibit showcasing their large textile collection, but there was only a teaser room open so far. Worth seeing if only for the exquisite golden-thread lace trim.

As we walked down the street, Larry noticed one of the palazzos had the Genus signs that it was covered by our Bologna card. We stopped into the Palazzo Fava, and learned that upstairs are frescoes. We took the elevator up, and a helpful guide showed us a large terminal where you can view the fresco cycle with English captioning. There are several rooms, with 16th century frescos telling the myths of Jason and the Argonauts, Medea, and Dido. Gorgeous, and worth seeking out.

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Went home, soaked the feet, made a nice dinner of tortelloni with sage, butter and parmesan.

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Comments (4)

I am so excited to be able to visit Bologna again through your blog. You are bringing back so many wonderful memories for me. Enjoy!!!

Mindy:

I'll have to write down Palazzo Favo frescoes for my next visit. Sounds like you're having a wonderful (albeit HOT) time in Bologna.

I am really enjoying traveling vicariously through your blog!

LOL at Mindy. Hot indeed. I think Bologna is far nicer in the spring or fall.

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