Bologna really is the city of porticos. There’s roughly 38 kilometers of them (about 23 miles) covering walkways around the city. I took full advantage of them on a rainy Sunday afternoon as I spent about four hours exploring the city, only putting up an umbrella to cross the street.
You might think that these lovely archways were constructed to provide shelter from the weather, but in fact they were originally created to expand living quarters in what was then becoming a crowded city. Beginning in the 1100s it was mandated that existing buildings had to increase their size by adding on rooms over the walkways.
The original porticos were made of wood and there are only a few left in the city. In the 1300s the use of wood in construction was discontinued and eventually the wooden ones were replaced.
The following two photos are from the neighborhood where my hotel was located. Even these smaller three and four story colorful buildings had lovely porticos.
In other parts of the city there were some pretty splendid looking ones, like this one with a terra cotta design.
And my absolute favorite lines a beautiful street where I passed by each day on my walk home. There was no way that I could walk through here without looking up to enjoy the artistry. Boy, do I love Italy!