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Jean Urry's blog: the experience of studying in Bologna told a South African schoolgirl/Her experience at our Italian School in Bologna

  • The wonder ... Where did it all begin/I wonder where and when it started

    A great love of the Latin language, renaissance art, ancient history, Italy and a desire to study Italian led me to Dante Alighieri in Houghton Johannesburg./Un great love of Latin, Renaissance art, ancient history of Italy and a desire to study Italian, led me to Dante Alighieri in Houghton, Johannesburg



  • Preparation for my adventure.. ../La preparation for my adventure. ...

    This time next week I will be in Bologna. I am busy trying to learn how to use this blog more efficiently with the help of Martin/ fra una settimana saro’ a Bologna. Cerco in questo momento di usare piu’ efficientemente questo blog, con l’aiuto di Martino

    Rosebank/Martino da Nino a Rosebank

  • Beautiful Bologna!

    After a long flight, and a full body search at Frankfurt Airport, we arrived safe and sound in Bologna. I took a taxi to my accommodation and the driver, Davide, taught me a new word. There are trees all over, and I told him about dry Joeys. He said that Bologna had just “rinverdita” ( regreened) after the long winter … I liked that! We found my accommodation and it is amazing, everything I need, including wifi. I unpacked and then got lost in this truly beautiful medieval city. Ther are porticoes everywhere, magnificent churches, towers, books, art, clothes to die for, shops full of interesting things, friendly people and ICE CREAM ….. MMM ….. More tomorrow

    Bellissma Bologna

    After a long flight and a complete control at Frankfurt airport, we arrived healthy and Hello Bologna. I went by taxi to my accommodation and driver taught me a new Word ... There are so green trees everywhere and we talked about Jo'burg so dry right now and he said that Bologna is just after the long winter rinverdita ... I liked this word. We found the hotel and perfect for me. It's all there and then there's also free wifi. I have undone the suitcase and then I met myself in Bologna. It is a medieval town and really nice, full of porticoes, ERS, wonderful churches, ' to die for ' as they say in English, books, people friendly and ice cream ... MMMM ... Until tomorrow then ...

  • Bewitched!/Incantata!

    I have been bewitched by Bologna and her porticoes, the porticoes and the light together. What a sight!! The weather here is beautiful, and so I headed off early this morning and climbed one of the towers. The view from the top is spectacular. I then went to Welcome Bologna, and they were very helpful. I came away with lots of literature. I visited The basilica of Santo Petronio in the Piazza Maggiore – it is enormous and was built to house the whole population of the city at the time. There are works here by Jacopo della Quercia that inspired Michaelangelo when he was painting the Sistine Chapel. Lunch was very good, at a little restaurant on the Piazza Santo Stefano. This is one of my favourite places so far – it is so old and has the most beautiful basilica, in fact, 7 churches together. The shopping is something else – beware Martin! It is so difficult to resist … Arrivederci ….

    I was enchanted by Bologna and its porticos, porches and their light. How wonderful! The weather here is beautiful, and so I started my day early and I got on one of the towers. The view from the top was wonderful. Then I went to Welcome Bologna, and helped me a lot. I have many brochures to read. I saw the basilica of San Petronio in Piazza Maggiore – it is huge and was built to hold the entire population of the time. Is there a masterpiece by Jacopo della Quercia – he inspired Michelangelo when he painted the Sistine Chapel. The lunch was delicious at a restaurant on St. Stephen Square, so far, one of my favorite places – the place is so old and has a beautiful basilica, in fact 7 churches together. Shopping, what else can I say, it is wonderful – I am sorry, but I have Neven use this word – Martin, and attention is hard for me to resist!

  • The Dante in Bologna

    Today was my first day at The Dante Alighieri in Bologna. There are four guys in our class, all young Asians, Justin’s sort of age or younger, who work in the tourist industries of their countries, and me. Our teacher’s name is Angela, and she is lovely. She is busy doing a Masters’ degree in translation. We did 4 hours straight of Italian. In the afternoon I felt a bit tired, and so took a walk in the lovely Margherita Gardens, just up the road from Bologna home. On the way, I picked up a delcious pear ice cream from the local gelateria … Immagine that! I decided to eat in tonight as well. There is a a very good restaurant at San Tommaso and their gnocchi is excellent. I also had a glass of white wine, bread sticks and a limoncello – wow for 8€. No lessons tomorrow, as 2 June is Republic Day for Italy …. Will decide what to do in the morning … Good night and deams of gold …. Arrivederci

    Today I went for the first time at Dante Alighieri in Bologna. There are 4 young Asians in our group, the same age maybe Justin, or otherwise younger, working in the field of tourism in their countries, and I. Our teacher, named Angela, it's wonderful. Is now a master's degree in translation at the University of Bologna. We did 4 hours of Italian. Later, I felt a little tired and so I took a walk in the beautiful gardens near my Daisy "Bologna home.". I also bought a PEAR ice cream so good. I decided to eat at home tonight – there's a St. Thomas restaurant and the food is very good – dumplings, buns, grisini, wine and limoncello – 8 €. There are no classes tomorrow – June 2 is the Republic day here in Italy. In the morning I decide what I'm going to today ... Good night and sweet dreams ...

  • Buses, trains and dear friends/autobus,treni e cari amici

    Today I tried the public transport for the first time. I took an early bus to the station and a train to Modena, where I was met by Reanda, her son Diego and her daughter-in-law Judith. We spent a lovely day together in the countryside of beautiful Emilia Romagna. First we had a look at Pavarotti’s home and then drove past the Ferrari factory – I saw where it all happens, Alistair and Andrew! We also explored the beautiful village of Castelvetro and I bought some basamic vinegar – the real thing, and afterwards we lunched at a superb restaurant nearby, Le Casette. I tasted tortellini for the first time – wow. The entire meal was mind blowing – there were so many courses. To help our digestion, we went for a long walk around Arceto, Diego and Judith’s village, and then on route to the station stopped at Scandiano – a lovely place with a huge castle. In the square there is a statue of the scientist, Lazzaro Spallanzani examining a frog with a magnifying glass – google this guy

    Today I used public transportation for the first time. I took a bus to the station, and then went by train to Modena. Here I met and I knew Neven his son Diego and his daughter-in-law, Judith. We spent a beautiful day in the beautiful countryside of Emilia Romagna. We saw Pavarotti's villa, and the Ferrari factory – the place where everything happens, Alistair and Andrew! We explored the beautiful village of Castelvetro and I bought a bottle of balsamic vinegar, the real thing, and then we ate so well in a nearby restaurant called le Casette and I tasted for the first time in Italy the tortellini – mamma mia that food – many dishes. To aid digestion, we took a walk to the village of Grou, Diego and Judith and then we left for the station and we made a stop at Scandiano – a beautiful place with a huge Castle. There is a statue in the square of a famous scientist, Lazzaro Spallanzani. He examines a frog with a magnifying glass – you have to google this man – it is interesting. I took the train to Bologna and then I come back home on foot. What a beautiful day with beautiful people – thank you all – Martin and Odoardo we felt your absence. Tomorrow ... Dante Alighieri ... Good night, or I say good morning ...

  • A pilgrimage and Escher/Un pellegrinaggio e Escher

    I set off early this morning, hoping to find a bus to take me to The San Luca church, but there wasn’t one, so I walked … Mamma mia … There and back was about 20 ks, but what a beautiful church and almost the entire route is “porticoed” – my fellow pilgrims told me that the portico is the longest in the world, and that all people who originate from Bologna go back to the church when they return to their city – Reanda, is this true? I went to the mass – it was packed, and then I wended my weary way down, and in via Saragozza discovered the Escher exhibition – always had a soft spot for him, so joined the queue – it was worth it. I found a whole lot of Italians interested in South Africa and we chatted. Before we knew it, we were in and what an exhibition it was … tesselating fish and birds, and staircases that go on for ever … I am now home and quite exhausted … I think I will go and have an ice cold beer somewhere …. Arrivederci …

    I started early in the morning – I wanted to find a bus to San Luca, but there wasn't one, so I took a walk. Goodness me... I think I walked today almost 20 km! Thank goodness, there was always a portico and so always the shadow and the pilgrimage was very interesting. Other pilgrims have told me that the portico di San Luca is the longest in the world and that the Bolognese who left Bologna, when they return, they return to San Luca also always – it is true Neven? What a beautiful place and beautiful church. I went to mass and then they slowly drop from the Hill and via Zaragoza I found the view of Escher's art. I like a lot his paintings and so I joined the queue and it is worth it. I found a group of people interested in South Africa and we talked a lot. The view was wonderful – fish, animals and birds together as in a mosaic and stairs that continue forever. I'm at home, but I'm tired. ... I think I take between not much a cold beer ... Good bye...

  • New friendships, books and happy hour Italian style/Nuove amicizia, libri e “happy hour” stile italiano!

    Today we had another lesson, and what a lovely class I have – friendly, handsome young guys, what more can one ask for. Angela is also great – we discussed Bologna and Verdi, and listened to some wonderful music. I saw Reanda, Edera, Reanda’s sister, and Renata, her friend, briefly – lovely to meet them, and then I had some lunch and headed for the city centre. The bookshops are very good – I went to Feltrinelli and to another store, and bought a dvd – Montalbano, the famous detective. It is hot, so hot today, so I had a beer at a lovely restaurant on Piazza Galvani – it arrived with many excellent snacks. I heard a familiar accent and met two South Africans from Cape Town – power cuts seem far away! I am now back home and ready for bed – it is still sunny and bright…. Arrivederci …

    Today we had another lesson. I have a wonderful group – 4 young boys, friendly and beautiful, I can't ask for more. Also really like Angela. We talked about Bologna and Greens and we heard beautiful music. This afternoon I saw Neven, her sister and Renata, her friend, only briefly – good – then I ate something and went to the city center. Libraries are excellent – Feltrinelli and co-op Bookstores. I bought a dvd of Montalbano, the Commissioner so famous. It's hot, very hot today, so I took a beer in Piazza Galvani, and delicious assaggini are also arrived. I heard a familiar accent – two South Africans in Cape Town – we stuck button! Current problems seem so far – I'm at home and I lay there, soon – yet the Sun ... Good bye...

  • A day full of wonderer….ful things/ una giornata splendida

    Today was wonderful …. I saw, and learnt so much about beautiful Bologna. Classes started at 9.30, and Angela gave us all an article to read on “The Sala Borsa”. We discussed it, and then set off to explore. Our first stop was Il Palazzo dell’Archiginnasio – the university began here. We then headed for the Sala Borsa. Today, It houses Bologna’s public library, and what a library it is, but over the years the building has had many uses. Google it and have a look. There are wonderful ruins beneath it which date from 189 BC – immagine that. We managed to have a close look at them, and in general, saw a lot of the library. At around 1, we said our farewells and I wandered around a bit and found Lucio Dalla’s house. Then I went to see The Archeological Museum … Wow, I was blown away – I only examined part of it, and will have to return and spend a day there. Remember, I Giardini Margherita from about two blog posts ago .. Well, they have full human skeletons discovered inthe gardens that date from 550 BC … Incredible, and many more amazing artefacts. Lunch was at my favourite restaurant on Piazza Santo Stefano, and then I returned home for a rest. At about 4, I set off to find one of Bologna’s hidden waterways … See the photo … There is a tiny window with a beautiful view. Thank yoy my fellow explorers for a splendid day … See you all tomorrow … Buona notte …

    Today it was wonderful ... I saw it and I learned a lot of Bologna so beautiful. Our lesson is begun at 9.30, and Angela gave us an article to read on the Sala Borsa. We talked a little bit about this building and then we went exploring. We passed the Palazzo dell'archiginnasio, where it started the ancient University. Then, we went to the Bag Room. Today, there is a public library in Bologna, and that Library ... Mamma mia ... but with the passage of time the building had many uses. You must googlarlo! There are the wonderful ruins which date back to fund 189 BC. We managed to see them well – usually we saw much of this beautiful place. The one we ended our tour. Then I took a walk on the streets and I discovered la casa di Lucio Dalla, and I went to the Museo archeologico ... Wow ... How do you say in English "mind blowing". I've only seen one and I'm going to have to come back soon. Remember the gardens Margherita of 2 or 3 blogs before? ... Have discovered human skeletons dating back to 550AC in these gardens ... Amazing, and there are many other artifacts. I ate a sandwich in St. Stephen's square and are returned home to rest. 4:00 I went out and found a hidden water in Bologna ... There's a picture ... There is a window with a beautiful landscape ... Thanks to my friends ... A wonderful day ... Tomorrow and Goodnight ... Perhaps many mistakes because I'm tired.

  • 7 June/7 giugnio – a hot and steamy day in Bologna/afa a Bologna

    This morning I wanted to see San Michele in bosco, but when I arrived it had just closed. I did, however, see the superb views of Bologna and will return tomorrow. Couldnt face the walk down, then luckily a bus arrived, so decided to head for the station where I picked up a train for Ferrara. Marco who works at San Tommaso lives there and recommended it. It is a lovely place, much smaller than Bologna, but the weather was steamy, so I explored the cathedral, some of the lovely streets and the market, then noticed a wonderful art exhibition in the castle and decided to go there. Works by an Italian impressionist artist, Boldini. The castle, itself, is also very interesting. Afterwards went to the station, caught the train, then the bus and was home in no time. It all works so well, and my transport-catching skills are improving. Air conditioning came on here yesterday. Have just done the washing and am off to bed. Baci e buona notte xxx forgot to mention that there are heaps of bikes in Ferrara – city of bicycles

    This morning I wanted to go see San Michele in Bosco, but when I arrived, it was closed. I saw, however, a beautiful view of Bologna, and return tomorrow. I didn't have the energy to do a walk so I took a bus to the station and went to Ferrara, because mark, who works at St. Thomas, lives there. It's a beautiful place, but it was so hot ... I explored a little narrow streets, the Cathedral and the market and then I saw an art exhibit at the Castle – an Italian Impressionist paintings, Boldini – that paintings – after that I took a train and a bus and are returned home – everything works so well here. Since yesterday there's air conditioning in the hotel. I just did the laundry and so good night and kisses xxx I forgot – Ferrara is a city of bikes!

Modena and Bologna and Bologna/Modena

On Sunday we went to Modena. James asked for some balsamic vinegar and so we decided to get him the real thing. The city is beautiful and there is a beautiful church in the square – it is a world heritage site. We climbed the tower – Ghirlandina. We also had a look at the Ferrari museum and thought of Alistair and Judy. This morning, I climbed Bologna’s tower for the second time with Martin. It is high!!! We have been resting this afternoon and are off to Florence tomorrow for 2 days. We have just heard that Beppe and Vera will be here on Thursday and Friday, and Rosie and her family arrive on Saturday. I can’t wait to see them all. I really love this city full of porticoes!

Sunday afternoon we went to Modena. James wanted the balsamic vinegar and wanted to buy the real thing. The city is beautiful and there's a beautiful Cathedral in the square – a world heritage site. We climbed the Ghirlandina Tower and we even saw the Ferrari Museum and I thought about Alistair and Judy. This morning I climbed the Tower in Bologna for the second time with Martin ... Mamma mia. We took a NAP this afternoon. We will go to Florence tomorrow and Wednesday and we just heard that Beppe and Vera are Thursday and Friday. Rosie and her family arrive Saturday. I can't wait to see them again! I love this city and its arcades.

Castiglione dei Pepoli

Today we went to Castiglione dei Pepoli with Mauro – it is so beautiful. 401 South Africans who died during the 2nd World War are buried in the cemetery here – if I were to choose a place to rest, I would choose this place. There is also a wonderful museum nearby specially about the South Africans and put together by Mauro and his friends. We had dinner at a charming country restaurant called Antica Hostaria della Rocca di Badolo – the food in Emilia Romagna is excellent – thank you Mauro for everything – much appreciated.

Today we went to Castiglione dei Pepoli with Mauro – it is very nice. 401 South Africans are buried in the cemetery – died during World War II. If I had to pick a place to rest, then I would choose this place. There is also a Museum near the cemetery – the work of Mauro and his friends. We ate at a restaurant in the countryside – Antica Hostaria of B – the food of Emilia Romagna is yummy. Thanks Mauro for everything that you did for us – much appreciated!

Driving ../abbiamo driving in Italy.

Yesterday we hired a car from the airport – a Fiat 500 – so cute – I wanted a Ferrari, but Martin wouldn’t hear of it, and we drove to the sea – Lido degli Scacchi. We do not understand the toll system here, very confusing. We, however, arrived safely and met up with Reanda and Edera. We had a wonderful lunch together and then explored beautiful Colmacchio and Lido Garibaldi. Sadly, we then had to return home – dropped the car at the airport, then took the bus into Bologna … Stopped for a beer. Thank you for a wonderful day! Today we are going to Castiglione dei Pepoli, outside of Bologna. Talk tomorrow … Love Jean ps the statue – Garibaldi and his wife Anita hiding from the austrians in 1849 – google and read more

Yesterday, we rented a car at the airport – a Fiat 500 – so cute, I wanted a Ferrari, but Ben didn't want to. We drove to the sea – Lido degli Scacchi. We did not understand well the tolls, but arrived safely and met Neven and Ivy. After a wonderful lunch together we explored Comacchio and Lido Garibaldi – both are beautiful. Unfortunately, we had to return to Bologna. We left our car at the airport, then took the bus to the Centre. Later, I got a beer. Thank you so much – a wonderful day. Today we are going to Castiglione dei Pepoli. Jean with affection the statue – PS Garibaldi and his wife Anita hid by the Austrians in 1849 – googelate!


Today we took the train to Ravenna, and beautiful Italy delivered yet again … we saw the most wonderful mosaics. Ravenna is not far from Bologna – about an hour and a half on the regional train, and is a world heritage site. Have a look at the photos … Dante Alighieri (1265 – 1321) is buried here. Our school is named after him. He wrote The Divine Comedy in the dialect of Florence, and the modern Italian language is based on the Italian he used… It was very special for me to be photographed here!

Today we went by train to Ravenna and saw the beautiful mosaics. The city is perhaps an hour and a half by train from Bologna and is a world heritage site – see photos! Dante Alighieri is buried here, and our school is named in memory of him. He wrote the Divine Comedy in the dialect of Florence, and the modern language of Italy is Italian-based using ... It was very important for me to have made a picture here!

Out with friends/friends out

Last night Martin met my friends from Dante Alighieri Bologna – Lucia Gaudenzi, Angela, Bridget, Nat, Emm, Ringo and Phing. Good luck to the guys – they write their exam soon. I will miss you all.

Martin knew last night for the first time my friends from Dante Alighieri Bologna – Lucia Gaudenzi, Angela, Bridget, Nat, Emm, Ringo and Phing. Good luck guys – write the exam on Friday! Feel your absence!

A new arrival/qualcuno arriva

Yesterday I didn’t do much, as I had to prepare to change rooms, but I did go back to see the beautiful St Paul’s church, a gem – small and covered in frescoes. The artist was a master of perspective. Guess who I found at San Tommaso at around 12.00 this morning…. See photo! We walked around the city, had some pizza at the Sala Borsa restaurant and then trekked up the hill to see the view from San Michele in Bosco. Martin also thinks the city is beautiful. He has just passed out – not yet Bologna fit and suffering from jetlag … More tomorrow when we get going …..

Today I didn't do much because I had to prepare to change rooms, but I came to see the beautiful church of SanPaolo, a treasure, small and full of frescoes – the artist was a master of perspective. You have to guess what I found at noon in St. Thomas ... See the photos! We strolled about the town, ate a piece of pizza to the Bag Room – Martin thinks that Bologna is beautiful! Then we did some hiking – wanted to see the view from San Michele in bosco – sleep now – it's Bologna and jetlag sofre fit .... See you tomorrow ...

Bologna with Beatrice/ Bologna con Beatrice

I spent the day with Beatrice, and it was lovely and a great privilege. She lives in Bologna, so knows it very well. She took me to see beautiful churches like Corpus Domini, San Paolo Maggiore and the Church of SS Salvatore. We wandered through narrow streets where we found ancient pharmacies and lovely buildings and shops. We ended up near the university, and had some lunch, then went to the Botany department, one of the places where she studied, and afterwards to the Department of Anatomy, where she worked for many years. Here, there is a wonderful museum, il Museo delle Cere Anatomiche Luigi Cattenao and Beatrice organised for me to go on a tour of it with Professor Luisa Leonardi, and Christian Mancini. Everything was so interesting. In this department, for the first time in the 1600s, they used bees’ wax models of various parts of the body showing veins, blood vessels, organs and various types of medical problems, to teach the students. The models were used together with a text book, and Bologna University was said to be the best university in Europe, especially for medicine. It is still very highly rated today and is the oldest university in Europe. Thank you for a wonderful day. The medical photos are for James, Cathy, Lucy, Grant and Wilma.

Today I spent a wonderful day together with Beatrice – what a privilege! Lives in Bologna and so is familiar with the city. We have seen many beautiful churches – Corpus Christi, San Paolo Maggiore and San Salvatore. We did a walk through the narrow streets and we found the ancient pharmacy, beautiful buildings and shops. We ate anything close to school and then we went to the Botanical Institute where Beatrice studied for 2 years, and later at the anatomical Institute where she worked. There is a wonderful Museum, the Museum of anatomical waxes Luigi Cattaneo. Beatrice I arranged a trip to the Museum with Professor Luisa Leonardi, Christian M. It was a very interesting experience. In this Department of the University, for the first time in the 800, used wax models to teach medicine to students. Knowledge of the human body was much improved. Models made by Francesco Mondini, by Louis heat and Cesare Taruffi form today a collection of normal and pathological human anatomy a bit special! Bologna was considered one of the best universities of the world, especially for the medicine. Today the University is excellent and is the oldest university in Europe. Thanks to a special day ... I appreciate it. You have to see the Museum of anatomical waxes! Medical photos are especially for James, Cathy, Lucy, Grant and Wilma!