Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bologna, Italy - Medieval City and Modern Home

I mentioned earlier that my anniversary was in May.  I
am thinking that I need to make this a yearly trip 
to celebrate our anniversary -
a late spring trip to Europe - it is fun to dream!

We loved every minute in Paris and crammed in everything
we could but now it was time to head to Bologna to visit
Tonya and have some cooking classes.

Click here to learn more about Tonya, my husband's cousin,
who grew up in Seattle and studied design, then went to
NYC and studied and became DKNY's design director
before she was lured away by the Italian company Furla. 
She now lives there in Bologna
and is a freelance high end shoe and
purse designer

Bologna is a medieval city and is known for its covered porticos
or walkways.  They have 23 miles of covered porticos.

  You can
literally traverse the whole city and never be uncovered except
crossing the streets in the old part of Bologna.  Each building
has it's own style of portico and columns vary from wooden
beam ones as pictured in the center of the collage
(a very old medieval building)
to square stone columns, corinthian columns, etc. 

 It is such
an architectural treat to see them. As one building ends
and another starts their columns may differ even though the
buildings touch.

Some of the details under the porticos are just magnificent.
Here you are walking outside and as you look up it is
absolutely palatial.

I have to show you  a couple of
my favorites.  This one is hand painted.  
Oh, how I would love ceilings
 like this, and aren't those
groin vaults magnificent?

This one is raised plaster fresco and was so unusual
and simply elegant.

I have to admit to you here and now that in another life
I would have become an architect.  I just marvel at beautiful
architecture and would rather look at architecture than 
paintings any day.  I am fascinated with detail and workmanship.

Bologna as in most of Italy has the most fascinating grand doors
and knockers and handles.

Inside many of these magnificent and huge doors you find
incredible gardens .

During the day many of
the doors are open and you can peek in.

A lot of them have been turned into parking but there are
still many many gardens and an aerial view of the city 
shows the gardens.  Tonya said there is a day when many of
the city's gardens are open for tour.  Wouldn't I love to be 
there for that.

                                              The balconies are fascinating too, - rustic...

 quaint and charming....


and magnificent. 
 Don't you love the pink detail around the windows?

  I just adore how they create small gardens on their balconies.

I just had to throw this one in from Paris.  This is the
Hotel Plaza Athenee.  What gorgeously planted balconies
it has.  I can just picture the room maids coming out to
water these plants daily.

After our city tour we headed home to Tonya's place to
start our cooking classes.

When we visited in 2007 they had just purchased
two condos in this old traditional building and had
torn down everything to the brick walls.

Now they have created a wonderful four bedroom and four bathroom
home in that space.

Tonya has invited a couple of her friends, Victoria
and Antonella to come and teach us traditional
Bolognese cooking right here.

Here is a closeup of the fridge and freezer
combination which is unheard of in Italy.
A four bedroom home is huge too.  

This is a peek down the hall into the living room.
They have placed low lying leather chaise lounges in
front of the modern fireplace.  She is still finishing
the fireplace.  

Notice the traditional herring bone pattern the wood
floor has been laid in.  It has been stained dark and
then they oil it once a year.  It was so beautiful and
wonderful to walk on.

I also loved the low level lights that accent 
the flooring.

This is the television viewing area of the living room
just adjacent to the fireplace area.

Here is a peek at my tablescape for Thursday.
She found this massive wood table in Bali and
had it shipped to Bologna.  Much of her art
and decor has touches of her trips to the Far East.

They have three balconies leading outside
and one has a nice sized sitting area.

The four baths are stone, floor to ceiling.
Each one was different and so elegant.

This was our shower and had two rain heads
and a hand held shower.
It also had blue lights that you could turn on -
really fun mood lights.

This was the sink in another bath.

It is so fun to experience architecture that
is centuries old and brand new at the same time.

Next I will share with you our first 
cooking class in Bologna.

I will be posting this with 


Chocolat - French for Chocolate. I adored chocolate from a young age when I had to sneak in the cupboard to find where my mother had hidden the Nestle's Chocolate Chips. Having read about the famous chocolat shoppes in Paris, when I finally got there I was determined to try a chocolate from every Paris shoppe. I invite you to share my adventures in creating, in travel, and in life.


  1. Oh dear, how glorious all of those groined ceilings, and then the living space with the gorgeous aged and oiled herringbone floors, love, love!

    Art by Karena

    I have A New Giveaway from the artisans at Novica. You will love it.

  2. The porticos and balconies are amazing! It looks like you're having a great trip Jacqueline:@)

  3. Oh Jacqueline, this is heaven on earth. Italy in itself is a dream, but look at this too dearest, I wanted to be an architect when I was a teen, but I did not have the support to follow that dream. Look at that home. I just got my new stainless steel fridge delivered yesterday and it gives this sense of chic and class to my cottage kitchen. What fun for you, and with Italian cuisine, it just makes the fairy tale a reality. How fabulous...Anita

  4. Oh, it sounds like you're having so much fun! I can't wait to hear about the cooking lessons!
    I'm in total agreement about architecture! I'm working on a book right now about Italian doors/windows, etc. Their inherent beauty/forms/lines, etc. appeal to me immensely. As a journalist I wrote for years about interior design/architecture and if I were better at math (ha!) I would've been an architect instead of just writing about it!
    Have a fantastic rest of the trip/buon viaggio,
    Lana In Italy

  5. Wow. I am in awe. I think the detail they put into the ceilings is so amazing. I am so envious of your lovely trip :D Have fun!

  6. I love Italy but haven't visited this specific area yet. It looks like a dream! I love their heavy looking architecture. And gosh, what a gorgeous wooden table they have. Perfect for hearty Italian meals :)

  7. Thank YOU for commenting on my cookies today. I am such a huge fan and follower of your blog!!! Your trip pictures are amazing and I love them. ~ Trisha

  8. I am so enjoying "travelling" around with you!
    Everything is picture perfect...but the best is that dining room table...can't wait to see more of it on Tablescape Thursday...
    Thanks for stopping by.

  9. What an amazing city. Europeans have such an affinity for gardens. Beautiful!

  10. OMG, I'm completely in love with Bologna, and I never thought of going there! You have painted a beautiful picture for us. I wish I had a cousin in Italy, I would be on their sofa 1/2 the year. Wonderful what they've done with their apartment, isn't it?
    And 4 BEDROOMS, 4 BATHS, unheard of in the cities. Her job is perfect too. My hubby, Ned, loved France and had been there many many times (in fact, I think he took all 3 wives on the same honeymoon!) so because of him I became acquainted with so many beautiful places. I am so happy you loved you holiday...and yes it should be once a year, Jacqueline...xx's

  11. In the time it took me to read your post today, I felt as if I was standing there admiring all that fantastic architecture. I can't wait for the cooking post. That apartment is to die for, I don't know if I personally could ever live in a diffferent country at this stage of my life, but if an apt. like that is part of the deal, I am so there!! xo,

  12. OMG!
    Bologna is one of the best places on the planet and a well kept secret to boot. Yr photos are magnificent and masses of ppl. may be rushing there after seeing them.
    It was the highlight of my trip to Venice (just 2 hrs away).
    The Wayne Thibaud expo at the Morandi museum.
    And of course the gelato at Castiglioni!!
    Ages ago I used to design shoes in Italy and Spain for a US I miss the visits to Bologna..sigh

  13. I have the option of going there in a few weeks so this was wonderful to see! As always a fabulous post!

  14. What a wonderful trip. I absolutely love Italy...I have told brooks many times we should move there....for a year:)

  15. What a charmed life you lead my friend!!!!!! All the photos stunning... the home you stayed in is a dream for sure! That stone in the bathroom is AMAZING! And I also loved the wood floors! Enjoy! And I can't wait to hear about your cooking class. HUGS!

  16. Stunning pictures of doors and balconies. You should frame some of them! Love the interior pictures, they look magazine ready. The home was stunning though, what an opportunity to stay in a flat in italy that looks like that. It looks like something out of Architectural Digest.

  17. What a great home!!! Love the table. And the floor lights. wow. I too love the architecture of a city. Blows me away to see the the beautiful styles. thanks so much for sharing with us. Can't wait to see the table and the food! many blessings, marlis

  18. Beautiful pictures. I can feel your memories and know they were special. Eagerly await hearing about your cooking class.

  19. Your trip is so exciting. I've made many pictures similar to yours while traveling in Italy and I love the architecture just as you do. What a grand home Tonya has. It I'm sure it must be amazing to have a cooking class there. I just added my blog to your followers.
    I'll look forward to your future post from Bologna.

    The French Hutch

  20. I love all your pictures and trip. So enchanting!
    I am glad you had a great time and thanks for saying hi!

  21. Does Tonya want to adopt another cousin? What a beautiful place she has and Bologna looks gorgeous. I would have loved to see some of her shoes and purses though ;)

  22. WOW, amazing architecture! I'm going to have to show this post to my husband! He will love it!

  23. Almost as good as being there. Lots of lovely photos and the architecture is amazing. Love the porticos. Joni

  24. Any place in Italy is photo heaven, and I see you found that to be true. I have so many pictures of doors that I need to do a book! Wonderful place, wonderful pics.

  25. In another life I would have been an architect too! Something I adore doing is taking pictures of buildings too. I can't think of a better place to do that than Europe!

  26. What gorgeous photos! What a wonderous trip. Thanks so much for sharing it with Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

  27. Jacqueline, I am really enjoying your European vacation! Thanks for sharing the beautiful images and your thoughts on everything from macaroons to Tonya's beautiful home and baths. I'm loving it! Next I'm off to Lines from Linderhof, to read about Martha's extended vacation in England...such fun!
    Blessings, Beth

  28. just enjoying catching up, your trip looks fabulously fun!


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