Buona sera from Jen, around 6pm here in Padova.... another steamy sweltering day which erupted into showers around lunch time. Leaving school at 1pm many were concerned at not having an umbrella. But really, why worry, this is Italy and in Italy we have the .... 'portico'.
In Italian classes now for years I have heard the word 'portico', others referred to it as something common or garden to them as capuccinos are to me. But 'portico' never stood up and had a conversation with me. It did not capture my attention, it did not stick in my mind, nor did I ever understand its essence. That was then, and this is the now, and now we witness Jen's awakening to this thing called 'il portico'.
Having read a little more about my walk up to Monte Berico, I realize at this point that what I was in awe of, the endless row of columns, the colonnades, was in fact, the portico, in place to protect pilgrims caught in the rain during their journey to the santuario. Ahhh, the light bulb goes on again for Jen.
And here in Padova - everywhere I go, it's the portico, or plural form, I'd be thinking .... i portici.
A portico (from Italian) is a porch leading to the entrance of a building, or extended as a colonnade, with a roof structure over a walkway, supported by columns or enclosed by walls. This idea first appeared in Ancient Greece and has influenced many cultures, including most Western cultures.
Some noteworthy examples of porticos are the East Portico of the United States Capitol, the portico adorning the Pantheon in Rome and the portico of University College London.
Bologna, Italy, is very famous for its porticos. In total, there are over 45 kilometres of arcades, some 38 in the city center. The longest portico in the world, about 3.5 km, extends from the edge of the city to Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca. In Turin, Italy, porticos stretch for 18 kilometres.
Palladio was a pioneer of using temple-fronts for secular buildings. In the UK, the temple-front applied to The Vyne, Hampshire was the first portico applied to an English country house.
A pronaos is the inner area of the portico of a Greek or Roman temple, situated between the portico's colonnade or walls and the entrance to the cella, or shrine. Roman temples commonly had an open pronaos, usually with only columns and no walls, and the pronaos could be as long as the cella. The word pronaos is Greek for "before a temple". In Latin, a pronaos is also referred to as an anticum or prodomus.