Grand Tour of Italy Day 6 Venice to Bologna to Florence

Day 6 Thursday March 21, 2013
First Day of Spring!

We woke to a sunny but chilly day. From our window we can see about a dozen boats fishing in the Adriatic. There are also some massive barges too. Quick breakfast before check out then onto the bus for our ferry to Tronchetto. We board the bus and are greeted by some wonderful views of the Dolomites (They are a part of Southern Limestone Alps and extends from the River Adige in the west to the Piave Valley [Pieve di Cadore] in the east.)
We join the other ferry commuters for our trip to the mainland.
More images leaving Venice

Once we hit solid ground we make our way west towards Bologna. AS Misia points out, every inch of land is used for something, wheat, grapes, fruit trees.

Misia preps us for our visit to Bologna explaining the school system in Italy. For example when you are 13 you you can have access to various university course to help you make you future career choice. When you are 18 you generally leave home to study in a University that "specializes" in your area of interest. Bologna is known for medicine (Rome for Law and Milan for Economics). Bologna was the site of the 1st European University in 1100 with 10,000 students. The University's motto is Alma mater studiorum (Latin for "nourishing mother of studies".)

We meet our guide Isabella and we are off.
We visit the 5th largest church in the world, Bologna Cathedral (Cattedrale Metropolitana di San Pietro, Cattedrale di Bologna) No photos inside...
What we found most interesting was Cassini's Sundial. The church hosts a sundial in the form of a meridian line inlaid in the paving of the left aisle; it was calculated and designed by the famous astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini, who was teaching astronomy at the University. At 66.8 meters it is the longest sundial in the world, following measurements that were for the time uniquely precise. Cassini was the first to observe four of Saturn's moons.
Next we make our way to the Archiginnasio Palace. The Archiginnasio of Bologna is one of the most important buildings in the city of Bologna; once the main building of the University of Bologna, it currently houses the Archiginnasio Communal Library. The library contains over 800,000 books making it the largest library in Italy.
Note the cannon ball in the lower left of the image...if covers a drain and prevents rodents from climbing out into the courtyard.

The highlight of the visit is the Anatomical theater built in 1637 by Antonio Levanti.
It is overlooked by the ornate seat of the professor, topped by a baldaquin and supported by the statues of two naked and skinless men, known as "gli spellati" (the skinned ones), made by Ercole Lelli.
Some of the bodies that were used could be on the table for up to 15 days, therefore most of the dissections occurred in January and February when it was coldest. Students were know to have stolen bodies from graves and the nearby hospital.

The ceiling is very ornate and decorated with the constellations. The God Apollo is in the center directly over the table.

Many sculptures decorate the walls; these represent doctors from ancient and modern times: the busts are of people considered of lesser importance, while the most revered are represented in full. The two main statues, from left to right, represent Hippocrates and Galen, the most prominent physicians of Greece and Rome, respectively.
Another statue on the wall opposite the chair represents a medic holding a nose in his hand: it is a portrayal of Bologna native Gaspare Tagliacozzi, an early pioneer of rhinoplasty.
The only woman depicting in sculpture in the room is directly above the professor's chair  above the gli spellati. (see image above.)

It was also fun hearing Isabella describe how the church elders would come to complain about the body dissections and science being taught in the theater; they would appear in a window across from the professor's chair and sometimes students would throw rotten vegetables at them. As students would graduate they would have their family crests painted on the walls and ceilings of the building.
More images from around Bologna

Bologna once had over 200 towers, now it has just 10 remaining. Towers were built to protect your family members from invaders.

We continue or walk around the city and end up at A.F. Tamurini for lunch.
I had the tortellini special with a side of fried eggplant and Jay have the Insalat di Mare, with beer and bread the bill came to 23,50 euros.

Another stroll around after eating before we board the bus for our journey to Florence.
More images of our ride to Florence

We cross the Apennines or Apennine Mountains and descend into the Arno River Valley. We arrive at our hotel , Hotel Ricasoli and immediately head to the ticket office to purchase tickets for David and Uffizi, The Accademia Gallery. We are hoping to do both on Friday afternoon but we find out that David is SOLD OUT so we purchase tickets to view Friday evening. No photos allowed , although I think Jen and Morgan got a bunch. These two museums were not included in the trip pricing so we purchase are tickets and line up for David.

The Accademia Gallery has some beautiful works but the highlight is Michelangelo's David.
From Wikipedia
David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created between 1501 and 1504, by the Italian artist Michelangelo. It is a 5.17-metre (17.0 ft)[1] marble statue of a standing male nude. The statue represents the Biblical hero David, a favoured subject in the art of Florence.[2] Originally commissioned as one of a series of statues of prophets to be positioned along the roofline of the east end of Florence Cathedral, the statue was instead placed in a public square, outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of civic government in Florence, where it was unveiled on 8 September 1504. Because of the nature of the hero that it represented, it soon came to symbolize the defence of civil liberties embodied in the Florentine Republic, an independent city-state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states and by the hegemony of the Medici family. The eyes of David, with a warning glare, were turned towards Rome.[3] The statue was moved to the Accademia Gallery in Florence in 1873, and later replaced at the original location by a replica.

 We meet up again with the group for dinner at Ristorante Da Mimmo
We had a wonderful thick zuppa made with beans (lentils) and served with bread. Followed by ziti with meat sauce. Then roasted pork with potatoes an arugula. Chianti wine was served and assorted cakes arrived at the table for dessert.

After dinner some of us stopped by Finnegan's an Irish Bar with Scottish and Swiss bartenders.

Somehow we made it back to the room and crashed at 22:30.
 Next up Florence!
Pubblicare domani!!! (Post tomorrow)

Bologna March 21 Day 6
Grand Tour of Italy
Go Ahead Tours
March 16-30, 2013
Copyright ©2013 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy
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