Old Bologna

Old Bologna

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

Not far from the library where I volunteer there is an entrance to an underground area that once was a passageway to the other side of the street. It had shops inside like some subway stations in New York. Now it has become an exhibit space. I pass it every day when I leave the library to catch the bus back to where I’m living. So finally I decided to take a look at the exhibit. The earliest photographs are from 1875 and show the city much as it is today. There were some very interesting videos of two photos taken from exactly the same location and time of day that gradually transitioned from the old to the new. I can’t share those with you but I did take photo of photos that show much of the “recent” history of Bologna.

The entrance to the show

Piazza Maggiore in 1877. A huge open air market in the piazza.

The photo above shows this great piazza, the very heart of the city with the basilica of San Pietro (the patron saint of the city) on one side and Palazzo D’Acchursio (the seat of city government) on the other with a huge open air market occupying the piazza.

On the side of the city hall – still in Piazza Maggiore – a market for crockery. Taken in 1875


Piazza Maggiore in 1904 – there was a statue of the first king of Italy after the unification of Italy. San Petronio is on the right and I don’t know the name of the palazzo on the left.


The fountain of Neptune in 1904. Sala Borsa, then a financial center and currently the central library is on the right.


Removing the statue of Neptune for safekeeping during the second world war.

Photo of the bombing of Bologna during WWII. Made by the British.

During the bombardment of the city over 1000 civilians were killed. Some areas of the city were clearly heavily bombed (via Marconi for example) where all of the buildings are new (well, newish). Also many historic buildings were fully or partially destroyed but since they were historical were rebuilt and are almost indistinguishable from the originals.

Some photos of the destruction due to the bombing of Bologna. I recognize where this is and never knew that it was heavily damaged.

A plaque that is still on via Santo Stefano – “Request for aid during the air raids” along with an address and 3 phone numbers.

Posters for elections in the early 50s

Post war and post Mussolini the country returned to the voting booths.

Photos from the top of the highest tower – Asinelli – in 1958

A striking picture. The area is little changed today other than the absence of the tram tracks.



Leave a Reply