Observations: Two Weeks in Italy!

Every town in Europe seems to have a historic district, and while they are all, in a way, similar, many are also unique.  One unique example is the historic old town in Genoa, Italy.  Being quite hilly and stuck between the mountains and the sea are two things making the old town unique.  Also, it is massive and easily the largest old town district I’ve visited in Europe.

Modena, Italy…The City of Engines?  It has less than 200,000 people, but the area around Modena boasts a lineage of sports/super car manufacturers unrivaled anywhere in the world. Historically elite manufacturers Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini, along with relative newcomer Pagani each have headquarters, factories, and/or test tracks within earshot of Modena, literally.  One morning while relaxing in Modena’s Giovanni Amendola Park I could hear the fine tuned engines working on the test track a few kilometers away.  The City of Engines?  yes!

Milan, among other cool things, is the home of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting The Last Supper.  Who knew?  Not me….until the day before arriving in Italy’s second largest city.  Painted in the 1490’s in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria della Grazie and commissioned by Leonardo’s patron Ludovico Sforza (the Duke of Milan).  Fun fact #1 I didn’t know until visiting the painting: It is massive, about 15 feet high and 29 feet wide.  Fun fact #2: It is on a wall, and previously above the door to the kitchen.  While enlarging the doorway in the 1650’s Jesus’ feet had to go.  Long ago bricked up, the strange irregular shaped doorway arch is still part of the painting today.

Bologna, Italy is home to the oldest university in the world, famous for its towers, the home of Ducati motorcycles, and miles upon miles of awesome porticoes (covered walkways and building entrances).  The longest portico is two miles!

I’m no scientist….but Venice is sinking.  Or maybe sea levels are rising.  Either way there is some flooding going on in the City of Canals/City of Bridges/City of Water/City of Masks/The Floating (Sinking) City.  That said, it’s still pretty damn cool to walk around this city and if the flooding is only prevalent during  certain times of year (though each year it is getting a little more frequent and deeper!).  No worries though, bring some galoshes with you on your visit and you’ll have no problems!

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