This time it was 5 years in the making. For a variety of what seemed like compelling reasons at the time, (remember, it was a terrible winter) in the spring of 2015 we headed for the hills (or rather the plains) of mostly Northern Italy: Ferrara and Bologna, with side trips to Venice and Ravenna, We knew the food would be good (although in Ferrara the "Salama da Sugo" and the "coppia", small panini types with twisted horns on top, can be skipped.) I also knew the history and art would be good.
No grand narrative yet, and the pictures are, mostly, less than breathtaking (with one or two exceptions.) Links to the galleries are below, along with brief introductions of each city.
The historic home of the formidable Este family, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site (if you care about such things) this is a very nice little city. With a real city plan, it is walkable, with lots of attractions worth walking to. Ferrara was the birthplace of Savanarola, but its University was also a base for Copernicus and Paracelsus.
The pictures don't really do it justice, especially the ones of the Flag-Throwing team competition, which is associated with the annual Palio. Here's the Ferrara photo gallery, and below a little supplemental video of the flag throwers in action. (Turn it up loud and feel the drums!)
Video courtesy of THE FAB&PP Video Production Division.
One has to go, I imagine, if you're in the vicinity. We took the train from Ferrara on a day trip. Much changed since my brother was last there around 50 years ago and, yes, mobbed by tourists, it's still something to see.
Here a link to the Venice Day Trip photo gallery
This is a city that's a bit difficult to get to know, and a bit difficult to like, but it does have splendid history. We recommend the red bus tour to get acquainted and generate a list of "we need to visit that" places. And the monastary/complex of Santo Stefano is a great place to start.
Here is the Bologna photo gallery.
An art historian's delight, and like Venice, if you're in the vicinity, you have to go. We drove, and we went on a Monday so the main museum was closed, but the churches were open, the crowds not unreasonable, and 'Byzantium West' was impressive indeed.
When I was an active student of Art History, way back when, my teachers always told me to go to Europe, that you had to see things for real, that photos didn't do them justice. Quite right. Nevertheless, I humbly present this gallery of Ravenna photos which does not do the place justice.
These are three sets: my cell phone pictures, Dorothy's digital with my old camera, and my digitals with a newer camera. The cell phone took most of the pictures, and you can tell. No selfies, though!
There is, however, a nice supplemental group of Dorothy's graffiti pics, which are always fun.
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