Exploring a City Hidden in Plain Sight - Under the skin of Bologna

Nov 19, 2021 352

In terms of sheer scale, Bologna’s porticoes are unique. Dating from 1100, they were originally constructed to help accommodate scholars pouring into Europe’s first university as landlords built additional rooms over public land. In 1288 they were established by a municipal bylaw, which not only ruled that all new buildings had to be built with a portico, but existing ones had to add them.

This policy continued through the Renaissance up to the present day, with the city – which boasts the second largest historical centre in Europe after Venice – displaying a stunning range of porticoes, from those along the main thoroughfares constructed according to the regulation that they should be high enough to accommodate a horse and its mount, to the humble, low slung dwellings you can imagine unscrupulous medieval landlords packing students into (in fact, because each property owns the space outside, they would on occasion even partition off the area outside the house and the poorest students would bed down upon the pavement). 

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SOURCE: https://italicsmag.com

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