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Spofford, New Hampshire, United States
Jeff Newcomer had been a physician practicing in New Hampshire and Vermont for over 30 years. Over that time, as a member of the Conservation Commission in his home of Chesterfield New Hampshire, he has used his photography to promote the protection and appreciation of the town's wild lands. In recent years he has been transitioning his focus from medicine to photography, writing and teaching. Jeff enjoys photographing throughout New England, but has concentrated on the Monadnock Region and southern Vermont and has had a long term artistic relationship with Mount Monadnock. He is a featured artist in a number of local galleries and his work is often seen in regional print, web publications and in business installations throughout the country. For years Jeff has published a calendar celebrating the beauty of The New England country-side in all seasons. All of the proceeds from his New England Reflections Calendar have gone to support the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the Cheshire Medical Center. Jeff has a strong commitment to sharing his excitement about the special beauty of our region and publishes a blog about photography in New England.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Bologna and Lake Como

Plazza d Accusio Bologna

Towers of Bologna
With winter seeming to drag on endlessly, it is a good time to look back to another part of our wonderful tour of Italy last fall.  I still have thousands of pictures which require editing.  I completed a bunch celebrating Rome, Tuscany, and Florence, so it seems a good time to show some of my images from the next phase of our trip, Bologna and Lake Como.  It is frustrating that I have so many pictures that I haven’t had the chance to work on, but I want to show a taste of the rest of our trip, Bologna, Lake Como and finally wonderful Venice.


Street Market, Bologna

Four days exploring Florence wasn’t nearly enough and I was reluctant to board the train west to Bologna.  For some reason I pictured a dull, working city, but Bologna was the biggest surprise of our trip. 

Bologna is a relatively quiet University town with a wealth of well preserved Medieval and Renaissance architecture.   It is home to Italy’s oldest university, founded in 1088, and currently has over 8o thousand students. Bologna is also famous for its nearly 40 kilometers of porticos.  In medieval times, these were built to expand the floor space of upper stories, but they became a valuable addition to public space. In 1288 the city passed an ordinance requiring all new houses to have porticos.  The structures were required to be tall enough to allow a man to ride through on a horse.

Basilica di San Petronio Festival

Soaring, Basillica di San Petronio
On our first night in town we were on hand for a religious procession as hundreds of priests carried relics from the  Basilica di San Petronio around the Piazza Maggiore.  After escaping the ring of priests, we explored the wonderful web of ancient narrow streets lined with open air markets and cozy restaurants.  We returned to the Piazza to try to shoot the full rise, but given the height of the surrounding palaces, I could only capture the moon long after the blue hour had faded.

Moon-Rise Piazza Maggiore

Dissection Theater
On our second day we had a private tour of the city with Giamoco, a wonderfully friendly and knowledgeable native of the city.  The tour was as much about the local food as the architecture, but I especially enjoyed a tour of Bologna’s old medical college.  The elegantly wood paneled dissection theater was a tasty supplement to our dining stops.

Garisenda and Asinelli Towers
Bologna is known for its many towers.  In Medieval times a family’s status was often measured by the height of the tower on their house.  During the 12th century Bologna had over 100 towers of which 24 are still standing.  The two most famous are the Garisenda and Asinelli Towers, both of which are leaning.  They are still safe to climb, but there was no way I could convince Susan to scale one, even if they weren’t leaning.

Student Parade, University Quarter
The greatest attraction of Bologna was the chance to wander the ancient narrow porticoed streets.  We explored the large University District and met Abby and Grayson for a drink at a bar which was converted from an ancient church.  From here we finally broke away from the kids, but it was wonderful to share so much of our journey with our children.  Bologna was a pleasant surprise and, as was true for all our stops, we could have spent much more time there. 

Endless Street Cafes

The next morning we got up early for a train to Milan and then a car to beautiful Lake Como.  


Como  and Swiss Alps from Brunate

Lake Como 
Como Harbor
Lake Como is located in Northern Lombardy close to the Swiss border and the Alps.  It is of glacial origin with steep surrounding mountains and is about 146 Square kilometers in area.  

Lake Como Ferry
We stayed in a lovely hotel on the lake.  It was just up the shore from the town of Como and had panoramic views up the lake and to the town.  On our arrival the winds were quite blustery and it kicked up a serious chop on the lake. On the next day, the winds had calmed allowing a comfortable boat tour up the lake.  The cozy villages and extravagant lake-side villas were lovely. 

Torno, Lake Como

Brunate in Moonlight
 After more exploration of Como, I was actually able to get my height adverse wife to ride the Tram up to the hill-top village of Brunate.  The view took in Como, the lake and the snow covered Alps and Susan actually survived the trip. Lake Como reminded us of the mountains and lakes of New England.  

We were beginning to feel ready to get home, but there was one more stop on our itinerary, wonderful Venice.

Basillca di San Petronio
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