Tuesday, September 26, 2006

My Bologna

città rossa Most travelers en route from Venice/Milano to Firenze Santa Maria Novella station never get off the train at Bologna. That's one good reason right there to visit the 'red city' città rossa.
37 kilometers (almost 23 miles) of arcades to walk through - another reason. The Museo Morandi is the best reason.If you turn some Morandis upside down you'll see classic arcade shapes in the negative areas around the objects. Bologna's neutralized ochres, burnt siennas and raw siennas gave Morandi his palette too. 
"It takes me weeks to make up my mind which group of bottles will go well with a particular coloured tablecloth. Then it takes me weeks of thinking about the bottles themselves, and yet often I still go wrong with the spaces. Perhaps I work too fast?"

a window into Morandi My friend, Maryann, has a "Morandi" sitting on her window sill and she didn't go to Bologna to get it...just to the flea market for wooden dowels. The postcard size calendar on the right is best souvenir I got in Bologna - photos of Morandi's still life objects. Morandi's objects, the flower vases, bottles, jars, pitchers are sitting on pedestals in the gallery, like guests of honor, among the paintings. Many are painted flat white or greyish to destroy all reflections. He often painted the same setups over and over, just stepping a few centimeters to the right or left. The calendar page shows Morandi's paint-glutted palette and the closeup shows you how lush his tranquille still lifes are. Every brush mark is visible.

The museum has a "study room" , a reconstruction of his studio. It's full of 100s of his objects plus his narrow camp bed. Morandi rarely left the house. He painted his landscapes looking through binoculars from his window... Gelateria Gianni is another good reason to visit Bologna. Chef Mario Battali trained with Gianni, and his cookbook hangs on the wall over the long case of 20 - 40 delicious flavors. And don't miss salsamenteria Tamburini at lunch time.
Did I convinced you to get off the train at Bologna?


  1. Anonymous4:51 AM

    Oh, I love Italy in general, Carol, but I think if I get a chance to go back in the near future, I will DEFINITELY stop in Bologna! I already have wanted to go there for some time, but for another reason: Bologna has Europe's largest annual children's book expo! And I'm mad about children's books... But your descriptions and sketches have given me even more reason to try to make it there one of these days...

    You inspire so many people! Such beautiful work... I've enrolled in a drawing class (finally!) here in Paris, so I hope to at least start getting pencil to paper in the coming months. We'll see what happens!

  2. I've stopped through Bologna (train station) on my way to Ravenna.

    Ravenna is absolutely gorgeous too...

  3. Burnt sienna like carmel butter, the taste swirling around in my mouth! Italy is a place where my senses wake up. Thanks Carol!
    Tell me will you get off the train and come see me in Marseille?
    My cupboard is waiting!

  4. I recently met someone from Bologna so I know who I'll be visiting soon! Also, Bologna has the oldest university in the world and Umberto Ecco teaches there!

  5. I recently met someone from Bologna so I know who I'll be visiting soon! Also, Bologna has the oldest university in the world and Umberto Ecco teaches there!

  6. Anonymous7:22 AM

    Thank you Carol for including a link to my blog - much appreciated. I love the Morandi/Bologna Blog - a wonderful artist in what sounds like a wonderful place, good words and pictures. I hope this doesn't breach etiquette but my old website with a number of sketchbook pages can be found at www.tomwoodportraits.net in case you're interested,
    best wishes
    ps. you're not the only one with a restless screensaver habit!

  7. O dear Carol,
    how could you! :-) Bologna yours? Mine, too! (So sorry).
    Have you ever been there at Christmas time? Evening walks are magical, with artists illuminating the arcades with homemade candles. I love the covered greenmarkets, scented by fresh Sicilian oranges, painstakenly arranged into piramides (don't try to touch them! I tried once and felt a long wooden stick coming down on my fingers, wielded by a vendor who throned God-like high above me behind the oranges, scolding me, "A Bologna non si tocca!" *g*). I also love visiting the churches at dusk, the last light visible through the stained glass windows. And better not even start dreaming about the favolous food there! Bologna is not for nothing called also "La Grassa", "The Fat One", for centuries in competition with the rival city of Florence. Try eating a Lasagna in Bologna without being told that, of course, in Florence, they only do a very poor imitation of this dish, and vice versa.
    Every day, I enjoy your pictures and stories, thank you,

  8. I'M CONVINCED!!!! AND OH MY GOSH! THOSE BOTTLES!!! I think I'm in love!!!!

  9. Anonymous10:50 AM

    You clever woman, you. Full of the most interesting theories! No, I've never been to Bologna, but I love bolognese sauce, does that count?

  10. Anonymous11:50 AM

    My brother and his Icelandic wife and two small kids lived in Bologna one autumn a few years ago. There they met Paolo and his wife and daughter, the owners of Nati House in Venice. My brother introduces us to Paolo, and now we are frequent guests in Nati House :-)
    One day we MUST stop in Bologna.

  11. My favorite artist. Thanks, Carol, for bringing Morandi and a slice of Bologna to the people.

  12. Carol, you've convinced me. You are right, I always blew by Bologna without a thought while heading back to Vevey. Next time...

  13. I lived in Bologna for a year and I am always trying to convince people to get off the train when they go to Italy...Now I can just direct them to your post:-)

  14. 2018 Bologna Children’s Book Fair will be held from 26th to 29th March as a four-day event in Bologna, Italy. Bologna Book Fair is a highly regarded event, popular for showcasing products and services related to the field of digital media, publishing, and licensing, along with discovering new market trends in children’s book industry.


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