Why is Bologna red?
Why is Bologna red? Or ranter why did Bologna develop a longstanding love affair with flaming orange and red colours that cover house walls and roof tops?
For obvious reasons Bologna deserves its nicknames ‘la dotta, la grassa e la rossa’ or ’the learned, the fat and the red’, but I can’t help wondering why the medieval city developed a longstanding love affair with the flaming orange and red colours that cover house walls and roof tops?
Was it a coincidence as in special offer, bulk sales and the unavailability of yellow, green and white house paint? Was the city coloured by design of a renaissance city planner with artistic aspirations? Or does the pallet convey a hidden symbolic meaning, red being the colour of courage and sacrifice, sin, pain, passion and anger?
All the explanations I have found maintain that Bologna is called ‘la rossa’, because it is … red, and appropriately left-wing, too. Noone seeks to explain why, which is nice, because it gives you a chance to develop your own theories, while you are walking beneath endless colonnades feasting your eyes on every shade of red from cardinal and carmine over orange, rust and scarlet to vermillion.
I think the red colour is meant to keep us warm in winter, when the ‘gran gelo’ descends over the Po valley. And to leave an unforgettable, overwhelming impression, making Bologna one of those cities that forever stays in the mind and merits another visit.