The new house in Bologna

The new house in Bologna

Monday, September 7th, 2020

I’ve been pretty busy here in Bologna since Laura’s move here on July 20th. First there was the unpacking of a huge number of boxes, putting everything away somewhere, installing the bookshelf on the wall, clothes in the armoires, etc. The list was a long one but now the house is pretty well organized. Still we need to put a bunch of pictures on the walls. So finally I can show a glimpse of the house.

First a photo of the exterior of the house from across the street.

Our apartment is where there are three windows, one of which is open.

You can also see 3 smaller windows under the 3 big ones. That’s also part of our place. It’s like a mezzanine with a guest room and laundry room (that also has a bathroom.

Two plaques on the right side of the main door.

The larger one beneath the window is from World War II. It says “Help request during air raids Via Zamboni 13 telephone number 33 516 – 23 190 – 34 076” (3 telephone numbers). Parts of Bologna were heavily bombed during WWII because it is has a major railway station. The allies tried to not bomb much of the city but the bombing technology in that period was not terribly accurate so there was quite a bit of damage in some other parts of the city.

The smaller plaque says ” The facade, recently remodeled, retains capitals from the 16th century portico. Inside there is a monumental staircase by Alfonso Torreggiani, built in 1732, when Lorenzo Panzacchi transformed the inside of the building.” So the building has been here since the 16th century – about 500 years ago. Torreggiani must be the name of the architect and Panzacchi the owner at the time (he was a nobleman- a Count).

Another plaque – a sort of eulogy for Oreste Regnoli, written by Giosue’ Carducci

Carducci was a very influential Italian poet who was the first Italian to win a Nobel Prize in literature. So it’s a pretty big deal to have a eulogy on the wall written by him. It was pretty difficult to translate so it’s a bit of an approximation. The plaque says:

“Here lived and in February 20, 1890 died Oreste Regnoli , who honored the jurist legal profession with interpretation and righteousness, university professor, instructor who served the homeland, fighter, legislator and ruler in difficult and glorious years with an ancient soul who gave to all the height of courtesy of manners. He was born in Forli ‘on February 24, 1816”

Giosue’ Carducci

The huge hallway inside the portone (big front door).
Looking back from the hallway. That’s some door! I guess you could ride your elephant into the building! Or with your son on your shoulders when riding a horse.
360 degree view of the entrance starting from the open door facing the street

First you see the electric meters (which are hidden inside and accessible only with a key. Then there is the big gate and a view of the long entryway with high ceilings and big chandeliers followed by the mailboxes.

Who knows where the count lived. Usually the first floor (not the ground floor that you see here) is considered the prime location.

Certainly an impressive stairway and the LARGE decorative window one the left shows a large terrace.

The elevator. I say that it’s big enough for two people and a sandwich, well maybe two sandwiches. Also you can see the foot of the stairs.

Our apartment is on the 1st floor but since the ceilings are so high it is effectively on the 2nd floor, i.e. you go up two flights of stairs but press 1 in the elevator for the desired floor.

The door to our house (apartment). There is no distinction in Italian for “house” and “home” they both translate as “casa”.

Last Saturday evening I took a video from the window facing the street. Life is almost back to normal now. People wear mask at least when near others and it’s obligatory in any enclosed space, stores, autobus, taxi. So hopefully the virus will stay under control here until an effective cure and a vaccine are readily available.

Stay tuned for part 2. And of course I love comments!

10 Responses to “The new house in Bologna”

  1. Joy O'Neal Says:

    What a beautiful building! My townhouse was only built around 40 years ago. It is comforting to see your 500 year old building with all of its history and with remarkable people living there. It is beautiful and solid and you paint such a wonderful verbal picture, enhanced by the photos, that I can imagine walking into your building and going to your front door. Keep the narrative coming! I am really happy that you and Laura are beginning your lives together in Bologna. Much love to you! Joy

  2. Joe Says:

    Thanks Joy, maybe you can come visit someday. Italy is great in so many ways, the history, the food, the people….


  3. Cynthia Salamy Says:

    Nice to get an update, Joe. I actually had thought of you yesterday for some reason, and wondered how you were. I really like seeing the wonderful building and hearing some of it’s history. You always make it interesting.
    We’ve had some terrible fires here (don’t know if you watch any US news or not) and the smoke is pretty awful. It seeps into your home through the windows and under the doors. Luckily, I do have an air purifier and that helps. The fires are all over…North, South and East. We even had a few small grass fires here about 2 miles from my place. They’ve been raging for over 3 weeks, and with the really hot weather we’ve had it’s taking it’s time to get under control.Many people have lost homes and a few have died. Heat lets up a bit tomorrow. Glad you’re mostly settled in and I can’t wait for the pics of the inside. Hugs, Cynthia

  4. Joe Says:

    Hi Cynthia, yes, I read the New York Times online everyday. A lot of mayhem going on in the U.S. just now. There have been several articles on the fires in California and of course much about the media hog Trump. Never a dull moment there. Let’s hope that a change of leadership will cool things down.


  5. Susan Frey Says:

    What a beautiful building. Can’t wait to see your apartment. Glad you have a partner to share this adventure.

  6. Joe Says:

    Thanks for the comment Susan. In a couple of weeks I’ll do another one for the interior of the house. We should have more pictures on the wall by then. Hope things are going well for you in California.


  7. Peter Hillen Says:

    Hi Joe,
    Your place has a quiet serenity about it – – a big difference from the fire, smoke and heat here in Silicon Valley.

  8. Joe Says:

    Hi Peter. It’s pretty different from the housing in the U.S. I’ve been keeping up on the news since I read the NY Times every day. Quite a disaster in California. Actually with the pandemic and mister orange it’s pretty bad in general. I’m happy to be in Italy.


  9. Victor B MIller Says:

    Molto bella…Moltissimissima

  10. Joe Says:

    Thanks Victor. I really like it here. We’ll see how the winter goes. It’s a pretty open floor plan so it’s either going to be a bit chilly inside or the gas bill is going to be pretty high.


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