So for anyone who doesn’t know, this semester I was able to travel to Italy for a class, so that we could attend the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. It was only my second time traveling internationally (that I’m counting, since I was abroad when I was about 4 & 6 but don’t remember those trips) and it was absolutely wonderful.
It was really interesting to see the books that were translated into Italian. In terms of YA, there were a lot of really popular titles, but there were also some that I wasn’t expecting. I was so pleased to see books by Lance Rubin and Catherine Egan because I adore both of them. One of the bookstores we went into in Ravenna also had a Blind Date with a Book display, which was awesome to see (although I use lots more colors and sometimes doodle on mine so I like them more).
My first night in Bologna I was all by myself and stayed in a hostel. Had I not needed to wander to get food I would have just stayed in my room because I was so tired, but alas, I went to get food and then got lost afterwards! Obviously, I got un-lost because I’m writing this. The little bar where I got dinner was adorable, and the man working made me this flower out of a strawberry, though he told me it was a heart. Also got a cannoli that had tequila in it so that was different.
The Archiginnasio was originally the main building of the University of Bologna, but now houses the Library as well as the Anatomical Theatre, shown below. One of the really cool things was the original card catalog they used (though now it is all digital) [those are the top corner pictures)
Imagine my sadness when this is not actually a Theatre space. However, it’s still really incredible. It used to be used as basically a classroom for anatomy, and there is this marble slab in the center of the room where they would dissect bodies.
The book fair itself was pretty interesting. It was really cool to see what American publishers were promoting. Of course it was amazing to see a booth for Sourcebooks, because they are our local Naperville publisher! 🙂
My favorite thing about the book fair was that in the center of one of the buildings there were just tables upon tables of these magnificent pieces of art. I really hope the one above eventually becomes a book of some sorts because I would buy it in a heartbeat.
Since my high school was part of the Dominican order and my grad school is quite literally Dominican, we went to visit the cathedral where St. Dominic’s skull hangs out. In that gold thing, there is a skull. Pretty nifty. Also of note–Jesus’ abs look like a loaf of bread.
As an entire class, we journeyed to Ravenna on the train to look at some nifty museums. What I have determined is that I would last approximately 6 seconds as an artist in the period that most of these pieces of art were created–some of the mosaics have pieces so tiny that it must have taken ages.
We also got to say hey to Dante, which was pretty snazzy. I didn’t cry, the way I expect I would if ever told “hey this is Shakespeare” but it was still pretty “wow”
My little group took a day trip to Cinque Terre, which is five towns connected by a train on the coast. It is one of the most gorgeous places I have ever been, and you stand there and go “this isn’t real” but it is.
Plus, they are known for their lemons and their lemon sorbetto was killer.
One of the days after the book fair, that same little group went to Florence. The scale of the architecture (like the Duomo, seen above) is absolutely unreal. There was also a carousel in the middle of the square, which was random but cool.
Dogs of Italy
I took lots of pictures of dogs because I could.