Thursday, January 5, 2012

The view from here

On Monday we hiked to the top of Asinelli Tower. It was Mike's idea and it seemed like a beautiful way to start the New Year together. Crazy at it seems, we hadn't yet been to top of the iconic structure and we've been here nearly a third of a year! We go to the top just as the sun was setting over the cold and foggy city below.

The main Duomo is the large structure. The orangey glowing lights are the buildings surrounding the Piazza Maggiore. The long straight road is Rizzoli/Ugo Bassi. We live just a little left of the Duomo in that mass of fuzzy structures.
If you've got a really good eye you can spot SAIS, where Mike goes to school. (If you divided the photo into four quadrants, it would be in the lower right-hand corner of the upper left-hand quadrant. Follow?)
Looking out the front side of the tower out one of the tiny "windows." Christmas lights are strung all the way down the front of it. You can see it lit up in the second photo down of this post.
The tower is nearly 100 meters tall (over 325 feet for you non-metric people . . . err . . . me) and built in the 10th century. Wealthy families built the towers as symbols of power and prestige. A local told us the tower is nicknamed "Donkey Tower" (asinelli means donkey in Italian) because the man who built it used all his money on it and all he had left after it was complete was his donkey.

In the 14th century, it became property of the city and was used for a prison, a watch tower to keep an eye on the Mercato di Mezzo (which is now via Rizzoli) where revolts and riots tended to spring up. During WWII it was used as a sight post to help direct rescue operations to places hit by allied bombs (Bologna was heavily bombed during WWII because of it's importance as a transportation hub in Northern Italy).

Now it has a radio tower on top and tourists climb up and down all day. But it sure provides a beautiful view. Even on hazy days.

Looking out a window on the way up.
My beautiful Ada Louise dangling in the Baby Bjorn on the way down a set of particularly steep and ladder-like stairs.
I'm struck with the thought, "I really live here" nearly every day. At the top of the tower it rang like an alarm clock in my head. It's incredible. But the chiming also made me feel like I need to get busy making the most of my time left in Bologna.

There was also something about being high in the air and taking in a long view that made me feel powerful. As I stood there and gazed over miles and miles of crowded medieval city, the thought struck me, "I'm going to own 2012."

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