Via Bolognese

To get into downtown Florence from where I’m staying, I take the 25 bus. I love the bus ride because sometimes, if there’s not a lot of traffic, the driver just rockets down the hill. The other day, I decided to walk the route to see what I was missing when zipping by on the bus.

Although there’s a stop at the end of my street, I usually walk to the La Lastra stop because there’s more room to stand and it’s easier for the driver to see people waiting. It’s also where the small commercial center is. Here, the road north splits into Via Bolognese Nuovo and Via Bolognese. On the Via Bolognese side, there’s a small grocery store, a tabaccheria (where we go for aperitifs!), and post office. Where the road splits, there are recycle bins. While waiting for the bus, I often see someone pull up on his/her motorcycle with bags of recyclables on the footboard – now that’s a balancing act! On the Via Bolognese Nuovo side, there’s an elementary school and a gas station.

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From here, the bus takes Via Bolognese Nuovo south. Via Bolognese was once the main road from Florence to Bologna.

This style of sign indicates that one is leaving the town or village, but it always makes me think that the town is being barred from existence. After leaving La Lastra, I discovered a church. I’d noticed the building before, but never realized it was a church.

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I love this sign – it looks so happy!

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I would never have seen this from the bus. It’s steep, but interesting-looking – sort of a ‘yellow brick road’ feel to it.

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This is Il Cionfo. Coming the other way, this is the stop before La Lastra, so it’s the one to listen for so as to ring the bell for my stop. I was glad to find this small store one recent evening when the one in La Lastra was still closed for the midday break and I needed bread to go with my soup.

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Walking gave me a chance to take note of this sign. Turns out that’s the name of one of the oldest publishing houses in Italy. Who knew?

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This is my least favorite section of Via Bolognese Nuovo – there is no sidewalk and it makes me nervous when people get off at this stop  (Bolognese 10) and the stop on the other side of the road (Villa Finaly). There’s a reason this woman is waiting at the corner for the bus!

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La Pietra is another neighborhood. It’s also the name of a nearby fifteenth-century villa that was bequeathed to New York University by Sir Harold Acton and is home to NYU’s Florence program.

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Villa Triste is a stop with sad connotations. It’s named for the building around the corner that was the headquarters of the Nazi command and the Fascist police in WWII. Many people were tortured and killed in that building.

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The bus turns off of Via Bolognese at this point, onto Via Trieste and then onto Via Trento. There’s a nice view of Florence at the top of the hill on Via Trento. Walking along Via Trento, one can see down into the Orti del Parnaso (Gardens of the Parnassus) and Giardino dell’ Orticultura (below). As I discovered last year via a geocache, the Orti del Parnaso contains a “Garden of the Righteous,” with a tree dedicated to Gino Bartali. Bartali, an Italian cyclist and winner of the 1938 Tour de France, aided the Jewish rescue network by conveying forged documents and papers in the tube and seat of his bicycle while training.

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At the end of Via Trento, the bus turns back onto Via Bolognese Nuovo. It wasn’t until I was writing this essay and looking up the names of the stops, that I realized this stop is not named for the mineral water (which is “San Pellegrino”). ‘Pellegrino’ means ‘pilgrim’ and was the name of a town that took its name from a nearby pilgrim’s hospital in Porta San Gallo. The town hall was located on Via Bolognese.

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After this stop, the bus  crosses the Ponte Rosso and heads towards Piazza della Libertà, the northernmost point of historic Florence. Once at the piazza, Via Bolognese Nuovo ends. The bus goes around the piazza and exits onto Via Camillo Cavour before coming to its terminus at Piazza San Marco.

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It was an interesting walk. Between seeing things from a different perspective and researching what I saw along the route, I learned a lot. I hope you enjoyed the walk too!

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