Bologna: The city

When G and I first arrived in Bologna, the first thing he said was “Bologna is like Munich in a lot of ways. The Munich of Italy, if you will.” And it wasn’t very hard to see why.

볼로냐에 대해서는 사실 아는게 없었다. 볼로네즈 스파게티 정도? G의 말에 의하면 볼로냐는 독일 뮌헨과 비슷한 정도라고. 관광 정보 센터를 일단 가보니 저절로 끄덕끄덕.

bc2The tourist information center was the cleanest, most organized one I have ever been to. (In Italy, that is) All the pamphlets, cards, maps and posters were organized depending on the area, date and topic (business, restaurants, culture, etc) and because it was so organized, nobody seemed to have the courage to mess it all up. Another similarity to Munich or the Bavaria region of Germany would be the automotive industry. Bologna is the capital of the Emilia Romagna region which is home of Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati and Ducati while the Bavaria region houses big names such as BMW (Bavarian Motor Works) and Audi. (FYI, the Bavaria region is also the home of Adidas and Puma.)

내가 가본 센터 중에서는 가장 깔끔하고 정리된 곳이었다. 모든 팜플렛과 지도들이 카테고리별로 정리되어 있었고 이탈리아하면 떠오르는 정신없음을 찾아볼 수 없어서 감탄해버림. 독일의 뮌헨과 비슷한 점 한가지 더가 있는데 바로 자동차 산업. 볼로냐가 있는 에밀리아 로마냐 지방은 람보르기니, 페라리, 마세라티 그리고 두카티의 HQ, 뮌헨이 있는 바이에른 (독일어로는 Bayern, 영어로는 Bavaria) 는 BMW (Bavarian Motor Works) 와 아우디의 본고장.

Bologna is one of the wealthiest cities in Italy and often ranks as one of the top cities in terms of quality of life in the country. According to the Italian Inland Revenue, or simply taxation office of Italy, Bologna ranks sixth, while the richer five are all linked to Milan. (Milan is the richest) Thus, it is one of the least affected by the financial crisis and because it’s a university city, it was so dynamic, young and very colorful. I was very pleasantly surprised.

대학도시라 그런지 굉장히 젊고 다이나믹한 느낌. 사실 볼로냐는 이탈리아 도시들 중 여섯번째 부자도시. 실질적으로는 두번째라고 볼 수도 있다. 나머지 5군데가 모두 밀라노와 관련된 도시이기 때문에. 1등은 밀라노, 2-5위는 모두 밀라노와 가까운 도시들.

bc3Mr. Neptune and his entourage. The first thing you find in the city center, also known as Piazza Maggiore, is the Fountain of Neptune. The ladies, or mermaids were quite amusing and really did catch our attention. Especially G’s. There are a couple of other famous Fountains of Neptune in Italy, including the one in Rome, Florence and Naples. There’s also one in Berlin. But then the most popular and famous one would be the Trevi fountain in Rome (It’s different from the one mentioned before). Yes, the god in the middle is none other than Neptune himself. Most of these fountains featuring the Roman god also feature horses, but for good reason. He was also known as the god of horses under the name Neptunus Equester.

넵툰 분수. 볼로냐 중심가에서 가장 먼저 볼 수 있는 분수. 사실 넵툰은 여기 말고도 로마, 피렌체, 나폴리 등에서도 찾을 수 있다. 심지어 베를린에도 있음. 하지만 제일 유명한 분수는 뭐니뭐니해도 로마의 트레비 분수. 이름은 트레비지만 분수 한가운데에 있는 신이 바로 넵툰. (옆에 있던 인어들의 포즈가 굉장히…특이해서? 계속 쳐다보고 있는 남자들 발견. G도 포함.)

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bc5You can also take a tour around city hall near Piazza Maggiore, better known as Palazzo Comunale. There’s the council hall and great paintings around the walls, so it seems like a miniature museum. Which is probably why it’s open for tourists. It was raining when we were there, so it was also a great place to hideout while we waited for the rain to stop.

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bc7There tends to be a lot of towers in Bologna. Historical records state that there were possibly up to 180 towers in the city. The reason is a bit vague, but the possible guess would be that they were used for defensive purposes by rich families. The most famous are the Two Towers, the Asinelli Tower and the Garisenda Tower. I’ve not yet been to Pisa to see the famous leaning tower, but considering that the Garisenda is also tilted, I believe I can wait a bit. It’s 48 meters so quite difficult to take a good shot of its entire… tilt, but this was the best I could do. Plus the additional photo down there. They were both used for defensive purposes and also represented the social prestige of noble families. It was so amusing, Dante even wrote about it in his Divine Comedy.

단체의 신곡에도 등장하는 가리센다 타워. 피사의 탑만큼 기울어져서 볼로냐에서는 유명한 탑이다. 개인적으로 피사에는 아직 가보지 않았지만 일단 이걸로 일년 정도는 더 기다릴 수 있을듯. 히히. 옆에 있는 아시넬리 탑도 약간 기울어졌지만 가리센다가 훨씬 많이 기울어져 있어서 티는 안난다. 볼로냐에는 탑이 특히나 많은데 역사적으로 180개 정도가 있었을거라고 추정. 현재는 20여개가 남아있다고.

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bc22A very handy guide to the famous towers of Italy. We decided that the the one in Pisa is much more famous because it’s so much prettier.

예쁜걸로 치면 피사의 탑이 훨씬 예뻐서 더 유명해진걸로 추정해버렸다.

bc16The Asinelli Tower is 97 meters and was built by the Asinelli family in 1109 and yes, you can climb up (498 steps to be exact). But only climb up by feet. I climbed up the Duomo in Milan and I recall it wasn’t as narrow and scary as the Asinelli. The tower was once used as a prison and you can find some remnants of that period here and there. And it’s SO narrow and high. It takes about 10 minutes to go up, but may take longer if there are more people because you have to wait your turn if you meet anybody in the middle. The Asinelli is also a bit tilted, but you can’t really tell, which was a good thing for me because I was already a bit nervous of walking up anyway.

아시넬리 탑은 97미터인데 걸어서 올라갈 수 있다. 한때 감옥이어서 그런지 엄청 좁고 깜깜하고 약간 무서운 분위기였다. 한 10분정도 걸리는데 내려오는 사람이 있으면 기다려야해서 (그만큼 계단이 좁다) 더 걸릴수도. 내려올때 다리에 힘이 풀려서…

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But the view! Totally worth it. bc10

bc11A lot of the buildings are all connected through arcades, but this I will explain more in the Bologna: The university post. That’s basically why the roofs are all so close together.

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bc19(+) Bologna’s official website: As I mentioned in the beginning, Bologna’s information office was impeccable. And so I’m not surprised that its website is also very well organized and user friendly. Their MyGuide feature is very handy. It basically allows you to pick and choose the places you want to go (offered by the website) and save them to your own itinerary. The map allows you to check all of the locations you picked so you can get an overview. Many apps provide such services, but it’s nice to have an option on the website as well. The Verona website offered their own itineraries, with vague duration times like “2 hours, excluding the visits.”

All photos by rachelsanghee

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