On our way home we stopped by Bologna for the afternoon. This is the government palazzo in Piazza Maggiore.
This is the facade of the city's basilica dedicated to its patron saint, San Petronio. We just happened to be in Bologna on his feast day, so there was quite a bit of festivity going on. This is one of the churches whose name you might have seen inscribed on the floor of the basilica of St. Peter's here in Rome. It is the fifth longest basilica in the world, stretching for 132 meters, and can hold more than 28,000 people. As you can see, the facade was never finished, which has left it with a rather strange look.
This is the vast, yet well-lit interior of the basilica. Elisa Buonaparte, Napoleon's sister just happens to be buried here.
The incredible baldacchino above the high altar.
The side chapels of the basilica are covered in priceless 15th century frescoes. Here is one of the most famous ones, a scene from Dante's Inferno showing Mohamed being tortured in Hell, an image which prompted a group of Muslims to attempt to blow up the basilica in 2006. Luckily the plot was discovered by the Italian police and thwarted.
A statue of the patron saint of Bologna, St. Petronius.
And this is the chapel where his relics are. The wrought iron work was stunning.
A rare sight in Italy, stained glass!
A closer picture of the crucifix above the altar.
Next stop was the church of St. Dominic. Finished in 1240 it is the site where St. Dominic de Guzman's relics are kept. (The founder of the Dominican order.)
The interior, showing the nave.
The elaborate tomb of St. Dominic.
One of the small marble statues on the front of the tomb, all executed by Michelangelo.
The intricate reliquary containing his skull.
This is an interesting photo. It is an X-Ray that was done recently of the tomb, showing St. Dominic's bones inside the sealed marble.
The cupola, painted with scenes from St. Dominic's life.
The chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Because many of Bologna's residents were wealthy and because of the quite harsh climate during winter, the city streets are lined with miles of porticoes to protect pedestrians from the elements. A picture of mom and the kids walking along one of these scenic porticoes.
Similar to San Gimignano was the desire of Bologna's residents to construct "skyscrapers". Luckily about 20 of them have survived in some form or another. This is one of the most famous, the Asinelli tower which is 97 meters high.
This is even more famous due to its sharp lean. Called the Garisenda tower after the family who constructed it in the first part of the 12th century. It is approximately 70 meters high. The tower is a more austere version of its Pisan counterpart, and has an overhang of more than 10 feet!
A picture of the tower's base showing you just how unlevel it is.
Leaving Bologna we passed through this piazza with a statue of Neptune.
On the autostrada on the way home - a Smart Car vending machine!