Thursday, October 22, 2009
On Day 2 of our tour through Italy, our bus broke down, leading to an unscheduled pit stop in Dolo. That's our bus driver, the amazing Pepe, trying to figure out what's going on.
However, it turns out that Dolo is on the river Brenta, and was used by wealthy Venetians as a summer getaway, like the Hamptons. So there are many lovely villas there, like this one.
We also spotted some of the local fowl.
Then it was on to Padua. You know, until this trip, I really didn't appreciate how important and wealthy Italian cities such as Padua, Mantua, Verona and Venice were. Really, Two Gentlemen of Verona? Would be like Two Gentlemen from Manhattan, whereas I always thought of it more like Two Gentlemen from Milwaukee.
(That's me in the white hat on the right.)
Next that day was Bologna. I think we lost time here because of the earlier delay, but it was still interesting. They have a lot of covered walkways in Bologna.
There were a few surprises when it came to street names there. Like this one. What's the story with Via Malcontenti, I wonder?
Being Canadian, naturally I couldn't pass this without a photo!
There are lots of fountains in Italy, but this one was one of the more...ahem...unusual.
On a historical note, this is the Basilica di San Petronia and you can see what a building looks like under the marble cladding. See all those holes in the bricks at the top? That's for the bronze pins used to hold the marble in place. The Colesseum used to have marble on it, too, but it was taken to use for the Vatican, and the bronze pins used to hold it in place were melted down.
So why wasn't the basilica finished? It was started in 1390 and work continued for over a hundred years, when a proposal was made to enlarge the church so that it would be even bigger than St. Peter's in Rome. The pope at the time (Pius IV) wouldn't allow that, so work on the exterior was stopped.
We ended the day arriving in the independent republic of San Marino, which is on top of a very high hill. We took lots of pictures there, so I'll save San Marino for another blog.