Bologna's Star-Crossed Lovers

I leave behind Damiano's world -- and Domenico's. Outside again in the bright sunlight I cross the piazza and Via Garibaldi and take Via Marsili, once called Largo di San Domenico, heading west. The Palazzo Fava-Marescotti at the corner of Via del Cane was probably designed by Francesco Morandi called the Terribilia about 1573 and today houses the Italian Red Cross. All of the streets in the neighborhood are narrow and porticoed and smell musty-old. Again I meander here and there, in the small alleyways and eventually return to Via del Cane, continuing toward Via de' Carbonesi amid the yellow stucco houses that crowd me on either side. Evidently, the street gets its name from the image of a dog carved into the back wall of the Palazzo Barbazzi, whose main entrance is on Via Garibaldi (n. 3/2).

Via de'Carbonesi

When I reach Via de'Carbonesi, I recall the legend of Alberto Carbonesi and Virginia Galluzzi, star-crossed lovers like Romeo and Juliet. I cross the street and turn left onto the via, thinking of "poor Alberto and his Virginia." They were the children of rival families in the war between the Guelphs, supporters of the Papacy and the Roman Catholic church (Galuzzi), and the Ghibellines, supporters of the Empire (Carbonesi), in thirteenth century Bologna. Alberto and Virginia fell in love and were secretly married. When her father Giampietro discovered the truth he killed Alberto, along with others who had aided the lovers. Virginia, desperate, hung herself from the balcony of a Carbonesi house. Treachery, intrigue and love in the thirteenth century.

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I invite your comments in English or Italian about what I have written.

Bologna Reflections: An Uncommon Guide by Mary Tolaro-Noyes.
Copyright March 1997, April 2008. All rights reserved.

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