Italia: Endeavour Language Teacher Fellowship


Monday, January 16, 2006

Sempre diritto: in Bologna

January 14th: Okay today I learnt a lot of things but mainly I learnt that "Sempre diritto" means "straight ahead"or "it's somewhere up ahead", or "I really don't have a clue but if you walk long enough I am sure you will find it."

Another early morning rise as we had to catch a train to Bologna. Kevin(Silvia's husband) was our guide for the morning and we wound our way through the streets of Prato to the Central station which is a twenty-five minute walk from the hotel. Goretti and I swore that the route we had taken on the previous Sunday would have been a short cut compared to this trek. The train pulled up some time later and we all hurried into the carriage, the wrong carriage, number 7, which was really just like a can of sardines. The coffee man couldn't move his trolley for some ten minutes. We spent fifteen minutes weaving through bodies and luggage until we got to the 3rd carriage where we had reserved seats. Kevin diplomatically regained our seats for us. The trip took about an hour.

A coffee break later we walked into the historic centre and entered Il Duomo di Bologna where were given a spiel about it. Kevin delivered his talks in both Italian and English. Normally I don't get too excited about churches but when viewing the Compianto su Cristo Marto (a section which is shown in the above photograph) I actually felt and understood some of the anguish which the people after the crucifiction of Jesus. This scene was done by A Lombardi. The one in San Petrono(the first photo) byNiccolò dell'Arca o Niccolò d'Antonio d'Apulia, o da Bariy... evoked a similar reaction from me. As you can see they have as many problems with names as I do remembering all the students in the school!

We then moved on to Plazza del Nettuno where the bronze Neptune atop of the fountain(see first photo) makes quite a bold statement. It was sculptured in 1566 by Giambologna. The four angels you can see represent the winds and the four sirens the continents known at that time.

It was then onto the tenth largest church in the world, San Petronio. The interior was most impressive with the huge, pitched arches dominating the main features, markedly Gothic. It is one of Italy's greatest brick-built medieval buildings. It was originally supposed to be larger than he first San Pietro in Rome but apparently the funds were diverted. A meridian line runs through the church.

Last stop was the University of Bologna which is the oldest in Europe. We sat in a very ornate lecture theatre with a marble slab in the middle where dissections were performed. Goretti decided to do a dissection of Aussie on the slab(see above left photo), her koala bear who goes everywhere with her in her day pack.

Kevin finished up the talk in front of the Twin Towers of Bologna (torri degli Asinelli e arisenda)where families took refuge in times of feuding or war. The taller of the towers is 97.6 metres. These towers are two of the few remaining towers begun by Bologna's important families in the 12th century. One towers had been truncated due to the fact that it was starting to resemble the Leaning Tower of Pisa and could have possibly toppled onto the other. Both certainly make a statement and make for interesting passage of traffic.

Then it was off for a quick snack with Goretti, Deb, Adriana and Cecilia. We looked at the markets and went to the tourist office to get a map. We spent a great deal of the afternoon walking sempre diritto in search of the elusive record store. After a few laps of the town centre we found a music outlet. I bought the DVDs Il Postino, Prima damme un bacchio and Io non ho paura.

Then it was back to the station where we had a few problems finding the right binario(platform) for our departure. It seemed that the train left from binario one, two and six! The express to Rome was running two hours late so we wiped that one off the list. A train official yelled at Adriana that it wasn't number one. So after some directions in German off we went in search of the elusive binario two. After a few more directions and misdirections we found it right up the end of the platforms tucked up behind number one. Anyway we took the regional and were back in Prato one and a half hours later. We dropped our gear in our rooms and then went across the way for a snack, something of a ritual lately. We ordered soup and pizzas. Then after a few beers and chamagne it was off to the land of nod after watching a movie called La finestra di fronte in Goretti's room. Now I would like to go buy this DVD as I thought it would be a good one to have in my foreign film collection. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz Time for bed, Goretti nodded off in the last ten minutes of the film.

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