Monday, March 13, 2023

[BOLOGNA] UNIBO and Neptune's Ass


The original Bologna itinerary was not affected. The only difference with the detour that happened was the morning tour of Verona. In short, all good. I was surprised that Italy has those red bullet trains that can shuttle you from one city to another in less than an hour. Perhaps it’s because I’ve always associated that with Japan and whenever I’m in Europe I rely on the mercy of cheapo airlines all the time. The 55 minute train ride from Verona to Bologna was not bad and only cost EUR 20 (~PHP1,200) last minute.


The Airbnb I got is small but has its own bathroom and is literally a five-minute walk from Piazza Maggiore which is a tourist hotspot in the city. This was good news considering how the cold weather finally caught up with me and decided to punish me for not wanting to wear more layers. I don’t believe this will all lead to flu, but my nose is already clogged, and I just can’t function well when I’m in such a condition. Good thing, the sun came out to play at 4 PM when I logged out of work, just perfect for sightseeing time.


There are many things to see in Bologna but for someone like me who only has a few hours to spare, I split two hours between Piazza Maggiore and the University of Bologna. It’s not difficult to spend an hour at that plaza because there is a photo op wherever you look. Neptune’s fountain is on the northwestern entrance with a public library housed in a majestic old building as its backdrop. Next to them is the Palazzo d’Accursio which serves as the city’s town hall. All three are photogenic in different angles so you will already be spending a lot of time in this area alone.


Head towards the square itself where you will then be surrounded by the Palazzo Re Enzo, the Bologna Tourist Office, the Basilica di San Petronio as well as the ever imposing Torre dell’Orologio which I believe can be climbed to see a panoramic view of the square. To your right is Via d’Azeglio which stood out when I was there because of those twinkling lyrics of John Lennon’s Imagine straddling the walls of the narrow alley, creating a cute illusion that I suppose is better viewed after sundown.


You can basically just get lost and follow random alleys once you reach Piazza Maggiore. This is the crux of the old town so there is something to discover in every turn. Head east or towards the northeastern entrance along Via Ugo Bassi and you won’t miss the two towers next to the Basilicata Collegiata dei Santi Bartolomeo e Gaetano. This trio is usually used by locals and tourists alike to orient themselves as to where they are in the city and where they want to go. It’s a popular landmark and its imposing height makes it your de facto north star.


The University of Bologna was next on my list. Touted as Europe’s oldest university, it was established in 1088 and never ceased operations since then. There are no strict campus grounds per se, because the uni’s buildings just flow into the city proper and form part of it. As such, there’s no such thing as visiting UNIBO unless you have a specific college or landmark in mind. What I did was just walk towards its direction and stumble upon whatever I could stumble upon.


One recommendation was the university’s library which I did find. However, visits have to be scheduled so they can put you on a tour. The thing is, the old lady at the entrance was asking me whether I was there to study and for some reason I chose to be honest saying NO. Had I said yes, she probably would have let me in since I looked like a student anyway. I guess I was a bit apprehensive because campus and library tours like this always reignite my longtime unfinished business of wanting to go back to school.


In any case, I liked Bologna. It seems way bigger than Verona and more vibrant for being a university city. Just walking under the porticos of the university already fills you with so much inspiration, or makes you feel depressed for being old AF. Hahaha. There was a graduation ceremony at the Faculty of Law when I was there, by the way. I wanted to welcome them all to the wonderful world of unemployment, but then again my unsolicited opinion wasn’t welcome since I’m neither family nor friend. Next stop, Rimini!

[BOLOGNA] UNIBO and Neptune's Ass

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