Bologna’s Porticos, Knobs and Porticos

Italy 2014 1510This one goes out to all those readers with those special needs, sufferers of Porticos and/or Door Knob fetishes.  You know who you are and you should also know that you are not alone.  Tens thousands of people with such infliction flock the porticos of Bologna annually.  They tell their friends and neighbors that they go to the food capital of the world, the place that invented the Bologna Sandwich (neglecting to explain the intricacies of the Mortadella and its bastardized American version to the clueless neighbor.  Smart move savvy traveler, smart move).  But what they dont tell their friends, because they cant comprehend, is all about the joy of running around through Bologna’s 40 Kilometers of Porticos, with minimal clothing sometimes.  But who am I to judge.

Those same Porticos have been around for hundreds of years (some since the 12th century), and while other Italian cities outlawed them at some point, Bologna continued to Portico itself to become the Portico capital of the world.  That includes of course the longest Portico in the world, 3,796 meters running from the city walls up to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca.  Not quite the climb for us (hey, I’m on vacation, not competing for the biggest loser)

And as to the door knobs all over the historic center, well, they are just pretty door knobs.

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Categories: Emilia-Romagna, Italy | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Bologna’s Porticos, Knobs and Porticos

  1. Tanya

    Amazing photos. Your camera takes a brilliant photo, even the food photos in your previous post from Trattoria La Coccinella. Very clear and detailed.

  2. Randall Forbes

    One of the reasons the doorknobs are so pretty is that there was in a time in Bologna when owners of palazzi were forbidden to elaborately of their publi facades. It was felt at the the time that ostentations displays of wealth in other cities and towns had been obnoxious, uglifying, and fostered civil discontents. Doorknobs became an expression of style, as did beautiful interior courtyards if you were able to peek into any passing by an open door.

    The portici of Bologna were in many places an outgrowth of a housing crisis that occurred when the university attracted so many students. Property owners built porches and rented them to students. A lot of them were incredibly unsafe, but when fortified, they became a permanent part of the city, and people appreciated the protection they offered from sun and rain.

    Or so I have heard from Italians…. could be leggenda metropolitana

    • Thanks Randall for that great explanation. Interesting re the renting of the porches. I also heard the canals at the time had something to do with it

  3. Randall Forbes

    Never heard anything about the construction of the portici being connected to the canals, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t. I googled around, and in the middle of this blog post I found a more detailed version of the portici starting out as cheap student housing

    http://www.marytolaronoyes.com/bologna/porticos.html

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