Postcard from Bologna, Italy: A place to hang our hats

Bologna proved a great place to hang our hats for a month – both figuratively and literally.

We always travel with our sombreros. Although they fail to make a positive fashion statement, they are dermatologist prescribed.

But in Bologna there was scarcely a need to lift them off their hooks in our apartment. Close to 25 miles of arcades shade the sidewalks in Bologna. Rain or sunshine have little impact on your wanderings except when you cross streets.

Few porticos are alike, distinguished by varied treatments of columns, ceilings and sidewalks, which often are finished in artful patterns of terrazzo tile. Arcades were incorporated into the handsome architectural schemes of palaces and allowed landowners to maximize square footage on the upper floors above the public right-of-way.

San Antonio certainly would have benefitted from a program granting air rights in exchange for sheltering pedestrians from that strong Texas sun. Instead of gracefully incorporating porticos into their designs, many of our landmark structures originally had awkward awnings tacked onto their facades. Most of these did not age well and have been removed.

Alas, in San Antonio our sombreros are mandatory.

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