Fourteen Months Abroad – Bologna, Italy

November 5.-We came from Venice yesterday in the rain, leaving our pension in a covered gondola. Emma and Valentino bade us a smiling good-bye from the stone steps,. partly, we thought, on account of the fees. Notwithstanding-the rain, we enjoyed our journey. The air was as clear as. it could be on a rainy day. The mountains were on our-right. We passed through the valley of the Po, where we saw many Lombardy poplars, some without leaves, others full of green leaves. After leaving Padua, when in sight of the mountains, we went through a long tunnel. A handsomely dressed Italian lady sang in the apartment of our car. There were many bright green umbrellas, and strange looking oxen. We left Venice at 9:50, reaching here at 2:30. We find that we are in a queer old city, entirely surrounded by a high brick wall five or six miles in extent. Every night after twelve o’clock the gates are all closed. This morning we walked to the post office, then to the two leaning towers and into two churches. First, into the church of San Bartolomeo, where we were again surprised by a beautiful interior. We admired the fine frescoes, the paintings, the remarkable ceilings, the delicate marble, the rich gilding and the quiet colors. In the church of San Petronio (named for the patron saint of Bologna) is a high altar rich with sculpture, very beautiful side chapels and exquisite stained glass. This immense church, Italian Gothic in style, has a miserably unfinished exterior. It is the largest church in Bologna and is said to be the finest. Between the chapels are four pillars with crosses.

Late this afternoon we rode in a street car to Porta San Stefano. In the Public Garden, or park, we saw weeping willows, hanging into a lake, and red trees, which appeared like evergreens turned red by autumn. This was outside the wall of the city, which has heavy iron gates. Arcades are on each side of the streets much of the way, and on the inside of some of the wall even. They seem to be a feature here in this medieval town. The two leaning brick towers stand nearly in the central part of the city, where several of the principal streets meet. L. hurries me to sit by our blazing wood fire which he much enjoys.

November 6. — We are stopping at the Grand Hotel d’Italie, and are using the last of Gaze’s coupons. Before we left America, Prof. P. told us we would freeze in Italy. It seems a little like it. No heat anywhere except in our room, in the fireplace ; a small basket of wood costs three francs—sixty cents.

This morning we walked to the mercato (market) and went into two more churches. First into San Francesco church, which seems like a monstrous ruin, but contains very beautiful stained glass. The other church (we do not know the name) has a remarkably fine frescoed ceiling. After-wards we went by horse tram to the Picture Gallery. The painting we wished to see was of course Raphael’s St. Cecilia, but other noteworthy paintings are there, about three hundred and sixty in all. We could only glance at them, as we found another cold gallery and were obliged to hasten away. We met there our two Danish friends with whom we became acquainted in Venice. The weather is cold and cheerless. This is “Sunny Italy!”

There were crowds of poor people in the streets today, some of whom were very disagreeable to meet, and gave me a homesick feeling. Others were handsome and finely dressed. School boys were out walking with a tutor. They all wore short circular cloaks, and appeared like little gentlemen. From the gallery we walked to another gate be-longing to the city wall—Zamboni gate. This afternoon another ride carried us to the church of San Domenico, which outwardly seems like a pile of old brick buildings of various shapes. This church, containing the shrine of St. Dominic, is full of beauty. Some of the very deep side chapels are filled with fine paintings. On the Piazza Galileo, on which the church stands, are two high pillars, surmounted by statues, and two elevated tombs under canopies. From this point we went to Porta d’Azeglio and then home by tram. We saw innumerable arcades, and long lines of stores, re-minding us somewhat of those in Venice, but not so fine. L. is sitting here in the easy chair by the open fire. This is the only place which seems homelike about the hotel. I am longing for bright weather. A poor dinner tonight.

November 7.—Much to my regret I took cold yesterday in the gallery. I remained in bed while L. went down to breakfast, and afterwards bought beefsteak, rolls and eggs. I cooked the steak in my tiny frying pan over our open fire and we had our lunch together in our room. During the three weeks at the pension in Venice, we had beefsteak only twice. There are old buildings here which look as if they might have belonged to the middle ages. The old architecture, however, does not compare with that of Nuremberg. The walls there are built of stone and the towers are large and impressive. Here the walls are all brick, and are not imposing. Many of the streets here are narrow and crooked. The street cars nearly fill some of them. Cows are yoked together here as well as oxen, which are white with black-tipped horns.

L. has been out walking alone today. First to the Promenade Park, on high ground near the railroad station, then into St. Peter’s Church, which is the Cathedral, and to an-other church near by; to St. James’s church, filled with fine pictures; and to St. Stephen’s church. St. James’s church has numerous statues in each side gallery. L. says he never saw such a church. Then he went again to St. Bartholomew’s (San Bartolomeo), close by the leaning towers. The main body of this church is nearly covered with domes, there being four small domes on each side of the roof.

Our dinner of many courses occupied an hour and a half tonight. The head waiter got furious, and made one poor man fly around until his face blazed. I have brought up from the table an orange with the leaves on. They grow near here, at Rimini, by the Adriatic Sea. L. went, this morning, into a small evangelical church with an audience of about twenty-five people. Again he is enjoying our delightful fire in the fireplace.