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Home page. This is the beginning of our travel...

The "portico" (arcades) started to become important in solving the housing problem caused by the rapidly increasing population. This solution was imposed by the Commune. This also spread round the Bolognese area, especially in the plain.

Standing below the portico of Casa Isolani, 19 Maggiore street, and looking up, you can see that the ceiling of the portico consists of a forepart adjoining, on one side, the facade of the house; on the other side, towards the street it is supported by long tarred wooden beams. In fact, this ceiling corresponds to the floor of a new lodging, added to the existing facade of the house. There must be many reasons for the origin of the Bolognese portico. The diffusion of porticos received a great impulse when it was decided to solve the housing problems (caused by the University, and the immigration from the countryside because of the social changes in progress) by using new front parts adjoining the facades of the houses; so they became new "suspended" lodgings which allowed transit in the streets and at the same time consented the creation of new walls to shelter the population. In that period the edicts of the Commune made porticoes compulsory fixing the minimum height (the transit of a man on horse-back) and laying down rules for their use. From then on the solution of the portico would assert itself during the centuries. In fact Bologna is today the city with the greatest number of porticoes in the world (over thirty five kilometres).The portico offers shelter from the sun and the rain, creates safe areas for pedestrians away from the traffic in the streets, promotes trade as it offers quiet places to stop in front of the shops, links the houses with its series of arcades, and above all, it connects the private areas of the houses with the public areas and this fact greatly helps social communication. The portico, together with the entrance-hall/corridor very often if not always found in important and not so important buildings - gives a simultaneous view of the inside (courtyard and garden) and the outside (portico and street).

All the pictures in the top of these pages are from the arcades in Palazzo Torfanini  (XVI century) a positive catalogue of esoteric symbols
 

Related links

porticoes

esoteric guided tours

 

 

 

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General - Environment - Iron and Etruscan Age - Roman Age - Patron Saint- The Commune - Alma mater studiorum - Re Enzo - Porticoes - St Peter - Gothic - 14th Century - Piazza Maggiore - Aristocratic palaces - Brick and other stones - Early 15th Century - Archiginnasio - Counter Reformation Renaissance - 16th Century - Great portico ribbons - Frescoes in palaces - The "scenographic" cityNapoleon's republics - Fall of Church power - The Restoration - Haussmann style - The new Century - Floreal style - Rationalism - World War - Active preservation - Around 2000

 
       

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