The University of Bologna was founded in 1088 (which makes me think Holy Crap that’s just after the battle of Hastings every time). Its not a campus so much as its the woven through the entire old city. Students don’t live in dorms but in rental units throughout the city – one of the reasons behind the piazzas which are the cities classic architectural form is that they were an easy way to add a few extra rooms for rental to your house. The university specialized in Law, Medicine and Engineering (back when physics included most of the natural sciences. Famous students and professors include: Francesco Petrarca (aka Petrarch), Leon Battista Alberti, Nicolaus Copernicus, Dante Alighieri, Paracelsus, Giovanni Cassini, Luigi Galvani and Umberto Eco.
The tower where Copernicus made his first astronomical observations.
Just one of the old professors.
Some of the older classroom buildings (now a museum and library)
Not the fossils – very educational.
These are the crests of some of the students’ families.
The dissection theater ceiling – one wonders if these are all anatomically accurate.
Of course, the modern classroom buildings aren’t quite as uplifting on the inside.
Some of her ladyships churches, for she has several. First and foremost is San Petronio, which is definitively NOT the cathedral – it was conceived of and paid for by the city. The city of Bologna was trying to build a church bigger than St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. This plan was scotched when the pope commissioned a new University building in the path of its construction and you can still see where they had to cut off the arms of the latin cross plan.
The facade is unfinished and, nothing much to write home about.
Although there are some very beautiful details.
And some fascinating unfinished ones.
I really loved the turned brick segments, which, I am given to understand, were intended to hold a stone facing when the building was “finished.”
The interior is stunningly simple.
Here’s where they had to leave an unfinished side chapel because another building was built across the street.
The cut off nature is pretty clear even today.
San Giovanni may have a different facade …
but it features the same interior arch structure as its predecessor.
I loved these frescos on the brick columns.
San Stefano is actual seven churches which interconnect with eachother.
The site was actually considered an alternative pilgrimage site for those who couldn’t make the journey to Jerusalem.
The “front” church is the most modern and most used.
This one has bits of tile floor which date back to the Romans.
But this was my favorite church in the city. San Giorgio is desanctified and has now become a library of art and history.
The new entry!
The blond wood was so unexpected but I loved it.
My last stop in the city was the Museo Civico Medievale which is probably the only medieval history museum in Europe which has more non-religious art than religious art. There’s so much content from the university – sculptures of students studying, famous scholars rather than famous priests or religions icons. You can’t have one entirely free of god, of course, but it was a pretty astonishing collection. Don’t miss the scroll down flashing Jesus. He’s pretty astonishing too.
The students at their studies.
These illustrated manuscripts were choir music – done in large so that they could be read by the whole choir at once.
In Bologna, even the columns can be brick …
… even though that’s not always the best idea structurally. These straps are preventing it from buckling.
My travel spoon is slightly less ornate than this one.
Am I the only one here who is reminded of Kel? KJ, Roshni?
And is it just me or does this Jesus have rather more exposed bits than the norm?