Barbara & Heather - Croatia & Italy 2017 travel blog

Chapel in San Martino

Bologna from top of observatory

Bologna from top of observatory

Bologna from top of observatory

Grilled cuttlefish at Battibecca

Band in front of St Petronio

Flag throwers

The Due Torri - symbol of Bologna

Thursday: When we set out the target today was the university area but we got waylaid by two more churches. The first was San Martino Maggiore which was inviting and had a very nice feel to it. We have developed a kind of rating system out of ten for churches (nearly all do above five out of ten). This one was about eight. The second was the much bigger San Giacomo Maggiore begun in 1257. In spite of its size it did not appeal as much (6/10) but its reputation rested mainly on one chapel built by the Bentivoglio family to celebrate the family's victory in a local feud. Its frescoes were very good.

We made it to the main building of the university, the Palazzo Poggi, in time to join a guided tour of the Specola, the 300 year old observatory. There were stops at each of the six floors along the way, fortunately, as in all it took nearly 300 stairs to reach the rooftop. On the various levels were fascinating old instruments of astronomy including some controversial models of the solar system made at the time of Galileo. Because Bologna was governed by the church at that time, such models still had to show the earth as the centre of the system. When we finally reached the rooftop of the observatory, the view of Bologna in all directions was well worth the climb.

By the time the tour finished it was 1pm and we had to make a quick dash back to the restaurant around the corner from us called Trattoria Battibecca which we had chosen for lunch. It was a good choice although the service was a bit slow. Then it was rest time back at the apartment catching up on some emails, etc. Late in the afternoon we set out to do a small amount of last minute shopping and then stopped at the Signiorvino bar on Piazza Maggiore. Opposite on the steps of the big basilica a brass band was playing and alternating with them on the stage was a group of flag throwing gymnasts. This and a couple of glasses of wine wiled away the time until we picked up a light meal from the supermarket.

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