My horizons have broadened a little more after our week spent in Northern Italy. It’s no surprise that those 17th, 18th & 19th century aristocrats, aesthetes, and architects were so inspired by what they found there. We based ourselves in the beautiful and prosperous city of Modena, not hugely well known in the UK, other than for its association with balsamic vinegar and Ferrari. In addition, did you know that a Queen of England & Scotland also came from Modena?┬áNamely, Mary, second wife of James II, and grandmother of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
During our stay, we made trips to Bologna, Ferrara, Padua, and Venice. Armed only with my iPhone, I’m afraid I got a little carried away with it all!

MODENA

The Duomo in the centre of the city, and its leaning Ghirlandina bell tower

The Duomo in the centre of the city, and its leaning Ghirlandina bell tower

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Gothic arches inserted between the bell tower and duomo to prevent collapse.

Gothic arches inserted between the bell tower and duomo to prevent collapse.

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Not only is the bell tower wonky, the duomo itself has a distinct lean.

Not only is the bell tower wonky, the duomo itself has a distinct lean.

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Catherine & Jochen on the steps of the Duomo

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Via Emilia, the Roman road that not only bisects the city, but the whole country too.

Via Emilia, the Roman road that not only bisects the city, but the whole country too.

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The irresistible combination of yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and sky blue

 

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VIGNOLA & THE MODENESE COUNTRYSIDE

Just south of Modena are the hills which spread south to Tuscany, here you will find archetypal Italian villages set among the vineyards.

Levizzano Rangone

Levizzano Rangone

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Vignola

Vignola

Rocca di Vignola

Rocca di Vignola

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The Coat of Arms room, Rocca di Vignola

The Coat of Arms room, Rocca di Vignola

BOLOGNA

I was totally captivated by the scale and intensity of this city. While Venice has it’s canals, Bologna has colonnades. Almost every street in the historic centre is lined with them.

Cafe overlooking the Piazza Maggiore

Cafe overlooking the Piazza Maggiore

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Bologna's own, slightly leaning tower

Bologna’s own, slightly leaning tower

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Chiaroscuro in San Petronio

Chiaroscuro in San Petronio

 

Staircase in the Museo Internazionale e Biblioteca della Musica di Bologna

Staircase in the Museo Internazionale e Biblioteca della Musica di Bologna

 

Memorials in a courtyard of Bologna's university

Memorials in a courtyard of Bologna’s university

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FERRARA

A stunning and buzzing city of which I knew nothing. Well worth spending time here.

The candy striped cathedral

The candy striped cathedral

Shops built up against the cathedral walls

Shops built up against the cathedral walls

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Castello Estense

Castello Estense

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Palazzo dei Diamanti

Palazzo dei Diamanti

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PADUA

Brief pitstop in this pretty city en route to la Serenissima!

Quite possibly the oldest clock in existence

Quite possibly the oldest clock in existence

And finally, VENICE

My second visit to this wondrous place, already planning the third.

A first glimpse from beneath Calatrava's new bridge

A first glimpse from beneath Calatrava’s new bridge

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On the Canale Grande

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Fondamente de Canaregio

Fondamente de Canaregio

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Being eyed up during breakfast on the canal

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Decay in Venice

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The church of San Polo

The church of San Polo

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Busker in Campo San Barnaba

Busker in Campo San Barnaba

Our 'campo' hotel room

Our ‘campo’ hotel room

A favourite cafe

A favourite cafe

The Gritti Palace

The Gritti Palace

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From the terrace of the Gritti Palace, this scene unfolded like a renaissance painting. Unforgettable!

From the terrace of the Gritti Palace, this scene unfolded like a renaissance painting. Unforgettable!