“I do not despair” makes it into Italian national media

Hey “I Do Not Despair” made it into national Italian news about cycling. Sadly I think my two appearances on stage at Italian bike shows were not the cause for the use of the quote that headlines my blog. But it was good news all the same.

National newspaper La Repubblica reported yesterday that in recently published figures 2011 bike sales beat car sales for the first time since the second world war. “Le biciclette sorpassano le automobili”. Print version below, with good graphic.

But more importantly for “I do not Despair” I learned H. G. Wells might have said “Ogni volta che vedo un adulto in bicicletta penso che per il genere umano ci sia ancora speranza.”

Although Google Translate doesn’t offer the word “despair” anywhere I was really pleased to see the quote in use, it felt so topical after my recent trips to Italy.

I hope the Italians are able to use this momentum too, The President of my hosts FIAB is quoted saying “I do not think that Italy will return to the levels of car sales prior to 2008. It is an opportunity to change lifestyle” Because this is almost old news in northern Europe, even less confident British cyclists bought about a million more bikes than cars last year.

Lots more work to do in Italy!

 

Padua is a great place to be a cyclist – and with added Cycle Chic

Padua cycle rideAlthough it is much less well known than some of its more famous neighbours Venice and Verona I think Padua is a great place to ride a bike and should make a good stopping point for any passing cycle tourists or advocates interested in seeing a fully traffic calmed city in Italy. (Thinks out loud “Padua for my English readers or Padova out of respect for its proper name? No idea – use a bit of both.”)

Last week in Verona I was lucky enough to be guided and helped by the cycle tours organised by local volunteers but here in Padua the local FIAB volunteers were flat out proving cycling fun for children visiting the Padova Expobici cycling show so I was a bit more on my own.

However they did provide the equipment, a mountain bike that was a reasonable steed for the cobbled streets throughout the city centre. Unfortunately when I first collected it from the hotel baggage room it had a flat which did lead to one of the most entertaining misunderstandings of my ventures into Italian.

My hosts asked me to bring the bike to the children’s try out area at the show where the volunteers had said they would stick in a new tube. So of course along I pop pushing the bike and wander up to the desk. Unfortunately the chap on the desk was the one person not in the know and he was convinced I was a 50 year old juvenile who wanted to play on the kids track! I was sent off to play with the big kids despite all my attempted explanations.  It was all resolved with considerable amusement a bit later by the rest of FIAB Padova.

Arch in PadovaAnyway back to my trips into the city.

The photos here come from two excursions into the town which I fitted around my work at the Expobici. On Saturday morning when the flat tyre was discovered I walked the city which led to my early discovery of the great contrast with Verona that I blogged about last week.

I keep mentioning in my posts how much  I like mornings, there is something quite different about a city waking up, especially when the dominant noise is the rattling of bicycles and the shouts of the market traders , not to mention the fact that you can actually smell pastries and coffee everywhere.Padua cobbles

On Saturday evening I also had a ride into town but unfortunately no time for photos as I was off to dinner with my hosts. This gave me a ride through the city from north to south and a great chance to zig zag around the narrow alleys and short cuts. However I was stopped in my tracks when I emerged into Piazza Prato della Valle. It is the most enormous open square that I have ever seen in a city of this size. I was immediately reminded of Plaza de Espana in Seville but this seemed even bigger.

This gave me the itinerary for my Sunday morning ride because I really wanted to see the Piazza in daylight, even if the morning was a bit gloomy. But this time because I had a bike I was able to take a slightly longer route and I decided to circle around the branch of a river which serves as a historic moat around the inner city. Riding along waterways you often see bits of architecture and heritage that survive from different eras and the water itself can be great. Turned out that Padova was no exception, the western branch of the river took me along quiet streets with some gorgeous old bridges, buildings and perspectives on the city.Padua cycle ride by river

padua architecturePadua housesPaduapadua by bikeWith time running out I swung back towards the centre of the city along the ample cycle lanes and came to Piazza Prato della Valle again. The translation is “Meadow of the Valley” so I can only imagine that at one time this was a vast open space leading to the river. Today it is a formal square with a ring of water features, statutes and seats in the middle and a vast open expanse of walking and cycling space. At one end Abbazia di Santa Giustina is a huge church and abbey but even it seems lost in the corner of the open space.Padua

The cyclists mooching through the square just showed the scale, they looked tiny and even a club group of 20 road riders turned out in immaculately matching club colours could not make it look busy.Cycling Club group Padua

A check on Wikipedia after returning tells me this is indeed the largest square in Italy, some claim when you consider something like St Peter’s in Rome.

Great place to ride a bike. And on a human level some final thoughts. When Venice was a city state Padua was its university town, a tradition it keeps up today. So the first thing I noticed about the cyclists and pedestrians was the large numbers of young people, something cycling shares with other great university centres, surely something we must keep building on throughout the world. Padua

And also in keeping with the great cycling centres of Amsterdam and Copenhagen I am sure that a significant majority of the cyclists I saw were women. Padua

PaduaAs advocates we are always told that when you make your cycling cities female friendly you are on the right path, Padua cycling culture must be a great example because it is young, female and wearing ordinary clothes.. The Cycle Chic movement writ large, excellent.

Now if only the cycling shows could understand that ….. But that is another story.

Verona cyclists – thanks for the hospitality

BikeI have been pretty rude about the politics of transport in Verona in my previous post, especially when compared to Padua which has taken a completely different path.

However in typical contrary style the negative conditions for cycling have resulted in a strong cyclists’ movement with the Verona branch of Federation Italiana Amici della Bici (FIAB) having its largest branch in the city, over 2000 members.

It also has a really strong sports cycling tradition too having hosted the world cycling championship twice in modern times. (2004, 1999)

I was there to work at the EICA trade fair and to have meetings with some of the national leadership of FIAB but the local members were such excellent hosts I have to give them a write up, especially as they gave me a great insight into their city, warts and all.

Bike VeronaFirst up was Giorgio, president of the branch who turned up at my hotel first thing on Saturday to provide me with a bike for the weekend and set me off to the show. As I have written many times, it’s not about the bike and the fact that he gave me his careworn town bike with its rattles and pannier meant that I wasn’t too worried about where it got locked up or how I rode it.

In the afternoon I was invited down to the city centre to meet the local branch who were launching the first weekend of European Mobility Week by holding a series of guided rides. No prospect of a Car Free Day here so this was an exercise in grabbing the city’s attention. I could soon see why this group was well established in the city. The agenda for the day was to invite different professional groups to come for a guided ride at a set time in the day, either professions that were supportive of the group or some groups of friends. Simple, but so effective because it encourages existing networks to encourage their friends and contacts to come along.

I went out with the teachers and thirty minutes later our tour was followed by the bio-architects, which apparently translates organic architects, a new trend in the profession. (Means nothing to me either!)

The ride itself was a tourist tour but it was also to boldly go through the streets in bunch and be proud to be cyclists whether it was on the one or two pedestrianized streets or out into the busier roads. That was made clear by the bibs with slogans we were asked to wear, and because Paulo our guide had a PA rigged up to his bike. I assumed this was because he was going to give us a tour. Oh no, he was using the PA to shout to the crowds, not just us. My Italian is non-existent but it doesn’t take much to hear the word “bici” repeated with great enthusiasm and to get warm smiles from the pedestrians to see that the man is a natural entertainer.FIAB

A nice ride, repeating some of the areas I had walked the previous day, but great fun from the saddle and with company. Oh and here’s a thing (not one for my wife). I had to ask why the group of teachers were all women? I was astonished to be told that all teachers in Italy are women. I checked that this didn’t just mean primary schools like many countries but I assured that almost all teachers in Italy are female without really being able to understand why.

The professional groups idea was certainly a success, a group of up to 20 every half an hour meant that there was a steady flow of people through the day learning about cycling in Verona.

There were also quite a lot of cyclists around in the town and I was just generally snapping a few as a backdrop to for a blog post. I was just snapping this chap when I realised a group of sports cyclists were passing by in the background – none other than the bike show test ride coming back from their spin with Mario Cipollini who as if to order had popped into the corner of the frame. The test circuit let show visitors take a huge range of road, electric and mountain bikes out for a spin of up to 15km around Verona returning through the main square.

Mario Cippollini

Who’s this just passing by on his bike?

As well as the group rides I was also told I had been invited out to a concert in the evening by one of our local hosts. “Concert” I ask, “what sort of concert?” Nobody actually knew, other than it was going to be at a building called Lazzaretto outside the city. From what I could briefly glean on my smart phone I thought it was some sort of restored stately home. About the music, no idea.

So that’s how I ended up at a sort of modern jazz outdoor concert for the Italian National Trust to promote the fact that they had acquired the grounds and ruin of a former isolation  hospital and military base that had been partly blown up by anarchists. “Concerto in Bronze” had a celebrated percussionist beating out music on the bronze statues of Gino Bogoni while a dancer and narrator telling the story of the sculptor’s life. I had the introductory speech by the National Trust translated so I learned a bit about the rotunda that had been at the heart of the old hospital. But I didn’t understand a word of the narration and I have to admit that a grown man lying on a bronze statue shaped like a melted bar of chocolate hitting it with his fists stretches my definition of music.

Verona

But how can I top sitting in open parkland with a slight chill in the air surrounded by people who really cared about the place we were in and the city they live in, listening to tawny owls hooting in the trees around us. Magical.

And on the way home I was treated to a trip up to the terraces of an old castle which sat above the Roman theatre I had been on earlier in the day. Fantastic views of the city from above.

On Sunday the lure of the test ride circuit and the views from the castle drew me and I couldn’t wait to get out in the early evening and do a proper tourist ride. Even better I was told that the circuit was actually part of the world road race circuit used twice in the past. I was soon zigzagging up the hairpins on a good climb out of the city, bit of a challenge on the single chainwheel of Giorgio’s bike but certainly rideable.

Before long I was up to a good height and able to look over to the valley beyond as well as great views back over the city itself. On one side the old city with its mediaeval roofs and Roman origins, but it was easy to see on the other valley why this is also a strong industrial area too.

The road itself kept the higher ground and looped round above the city until I came down to the Santuario Madonna Di Lourdes, a domed church set high above the city and one of the most distinctive sights on the city horizon.

View from Santuario Madonna Di LourdesVeronaIt was a stunning spot and I got some great views from its terraces, including a nice view back across to the previous climb. But even here I could not resist a mental rant that they just could not keep cars out of what should have been an oasis of silence.

However the café behind the Stantuario did offer a very tasty espresso and tiramisu, a classy step up on the coffee and cake at home.

Then a great descent into town at 50kmph before rolling back through the old streets.

In fact, I enjoyed it so much I went back again in the early morning for an final spin, a bit cloudier than the previous day but still a lovely ride.

Thanks to all the FIAB members in Verona, your hospitality made it a very special visit. I wish you every success in your frustrating battle to create a cycle friendly city.

A tale of two Italian cities – removing the tyranny of the car transforms the visitor experience

Padova cyclingI am currently processing a whole sequence of photos and stories about my visits to the two Italian cities of Verona and Padua (Padova).

But here is an opening thought. They are only 50km apart, they share many aspects in common in terms of size, culture, antiquity. But in just one aspect of policy one has been returned to us as a liveable, likeable vibrant city. The other is being strangled to death by laissez faire.

Verona is still gripped by the absolute tyranny of the car. There has been almost no attempt to restrict the disfigurement of the city by congestion, parking, noise and fumes. The restricted area in the city centre for motorised traffic is tiny and any priority given to alternatives is minimal. There are almost no cycling and bus lanes. All but one main square has full access to cars all day.

But of course in true “I do not despair” spirit this doesn’t stop me finding cycling in and around the city being an uplifting feeling, not least because it is a beautiful place, but by far my best moments were quite roads and corners, where I could find them.

A week later Padua. Nowhere near as celebrated as Verona internationally and with much fewer tourists.

Yesterday morning I wandered into the city early on foot and last night I was able to shoot around the streets on a borrowed bike from my local hosts.

Immediately outside the hotel I came across the first of 150km of cycle paths. And then once I had slipped past the boundary of the old city walls I was almost immediately into the extensive pedestrianized centre. It isn’t entirely car free, there are designated through routes and access is allowed to some areas. But at 8 o’clock on a Saturday morning the contrast is just incredible.Padova market

The streets were not silent – oh no. But the sounds were precious. Firstly people talking – as they walked and cycled and opened the many market stalls. But best of all the almost permanent sound of rattling metal – bicycles on cobbles – the endless array of cheap town bikes that dominate the Italian domestic cycling market bouncing their way around the streets.

It reminded very much of my trip to Bologna in May, again not such a celebrity city as Verona but one where civic pride manifests itself in giving the streets to its people and its visitors. As an international advocate for cycling and sustainability the most important lesson I keep being given is that we spend a lot of time addressing national and even international policies that affect cycling. But within the same country, the same funding climate, the same road laws, the same culture local political will is the determining factor in whether a city wants to be liveable or not.

I will be posting a few more highlights from my visits in the next week or so, but I’ll complete this post with two photographs.

Both are cathedral squares. Which one would you like to spend time in?

 

No better way to see a new city than #cycling

Thank you FIAB Verona – great fun, great hosts.

Kevin Mayne partecipa a Inbicianch’io – Oggi tra le 16 alle 17 in via Roma a Verona

Kevin Mayne, responsabile Sviluppo di ECF, European Cyclists’ Federation, organizzazione che riunisce le associazioni dei ciclisti urbani europee cui aderisce anche la Fiab, parteciperà oggi alla bici-staffetta Inbicianch’io organizzata in via Roma dagli Amici della Bicicletta di Verona. La gara a squadre toccherà il suo clou tra le 16 e le 17 quando sfileranno i gruppi dei medici, degli architetti, degli insegnanti e dei soci Fiab cui si unirà anche Mayne. Il dirigente ECF è a Verona per la Fiera della bicicletta Eica, alla quale interverrà domenica mattina alle 11 con un discorso pubblico a VeronaFiere.

Ufficio Stampa Amici della Bicicletta-Fiab Verona

Wandering Verona – first impressions

I wandered Verona in the late afternoon – still probably 25 degrees temperature and a glaring sun.

Odd mixture of a place – the main central attractions were interesting enough, but slightly lost in people and traffic, not least the terrible tourist trap that is Juliet’s house and balcony.

But on the banks of the river Adige I found some wonderful spots – the old roman theatre clambering up the hillside with multiple layers of medieval development on top of the roman base. Views across the river to St Georgio church and a tower way up on a hill beyond. The Castelvecchio with its calm inner courtyard and then access onto the delightful walled bridge the Ponte Scaligero which was wonderfully picked out in the evening light and thronging with walkers and cyclists using it to get home. If I lived here I would go a long way round to use this traffic free route on my way home to avoid the busy streets.

View across River AdigeAnd of course as always in Italy the gems. Tucked away in side streets are tiny scenes of calm, balconies and porticoes with tables to eat and swathes of greenery.

My favourite so far? The Roman Theatre is set up as an amphitheatre for plays and music and while I was wandering up its many layers a band was doing sound checks and playing odd tracks through the speakers. The sound was muffled outside, but as I climbed up the many chambers, cloisters and secret gardens the perfect acoustics of the theatre forced it to well up and drifted through windows, around corners and into private corners where I was almost alone and away from the city. Precious.

Verona

Mario Cipollini – new “Bond” movie from cycling’s best showman

I was going to publish a few pictures from the Eurobike trade show over the weekend.

But probably the best show of the week was on a giant screen set in a large stylish black booth in the Italian hall. It takes a lot to overshadow Colnago and Pinarello, but if anyone was going to it would be Super Mario.

Us cycle racing fans of just a few years back just loved the Saeco red train which was virtually the first time we saw the mass leadout on our TV screens. And the emotion of the Italian team when they finally united behind him to win the world champs at Zolder was great.

Some may think he was just a showman – but I think he was great for the sport, so this one goes in the video library.

My best day’s photography ever? The light of Venice

My old camera died last week, probably battered to death by the constant bashing in and out of pockets when cycling. A sad end to a regular companion of nearly eight years, but I can never say that I didn’t get value from it. Birthday coming up, so the present is decided.

It seems amazing to me that I have only been blogging for less than a year and already I can see a change in my photography, thinking of more interesting approaches and images than I did before so I can describe my travels. I feel quite embarrassed when someone asks about how I took a shot or what camera I use because I really cannot compare to the work that I see on the web and I am using a small eight year old camera. But there are shots from earlier years that I am quite pleased with and I thought I might put together a self-indulgent set that deserve to join more recent ones in the blog to close the door on that camera.

However when I was looking I came across just one set of shots that stood out above the rest and deserved a post of their own. So indulge me – RIP Fujifilm Finepix E550.

Spring three years ago I went to Venice for the first time.

We arrived on a horrible wet day and stayed in a hotel on the mainland. In the evening we took the train over to the island city. I must admit I was completely underwhelmed as our hosts dragged us through a maze of dark, rainy and graffiti strewn alleys to a restaurant and then back in the evening. Clearly a place that was over-rated and ruined by its own reputation.

However I went back on the Saturday morning with a free day and the most extraordinary light burst from a cloudless sky, especially out on the ferries from the Grand Canal into the surrounding lagoon. From a photographic point of view the best opportunities I have ever seen, and a small chance to capture why Venice is “Serenissima, Queen of the Adriatic”. Possibly my best day with a camera. So far?

VeniceVenice Grand CanalVenice

Campagnolo – centre of world domination?

Campagnolo original delivery cartA couple of enquiries from followers about my trip to the Campagnolo factory last month which I never reported.

It was rather overtaken by the earthquake in Bologna, and also because it was actually somewhat underwhelming.

I don’t know what I expected exactly. In my mind’s eye the same engineers that built gears for Coppi, Bartali and Merckx are handcrafting bike parts like Swiss watches in a factory that has carries the heritage of Italy. I conceived that at least the boardroom would be a shrine to one of the greatest cycling brands. And I might have put a small dab of chewing gum on my shoe in case just a single ball bearing stuck as a souvenir.

The reality was very different, but  perhaps in its own way a reflection of 21st century cycle engineering. In a pelting rainstorm we drove out to an industrial area on the edge of Vicenza where an anonymous road was the site of a large unmarked grey factory. I had no idea we had arrived until we passed a relatively discrete sign and passing through security to a modern, minimalist reception area. At least in the reception area there was a picture of Tullio Campagnolo and a group set, but up in the board room ……. Nothing. Niente, Nichts, Rien.

Except outside the door one of the original carts that the family used to deliver parts to local shops in the 1930s. My one souvenir photo of a visit to a legend.

There were some very substantial cabinets closed behind wood panels which could easily have hidden some glories, but overall the impression was discrete, sleek, wood, leather and stone. Actually the boardroom of a company that prides itself on being modern, discrete and efficient. Heritage, what heritage?

And as we drove away I remembered where I had seen that image before. SPECTRE. The boardrooms in which Ernst Stavro Blofeld plotted to rule the world, only to be foiled time and again by James Bond. Perhaps our gears are programmed to rise up against us one day. And now they are electronic. Isn’t that how it starts. Tullio Campagnolo – Blofeld – who knew?

Giro D’Italia more fun than the The Tour?

After last year’s brilliant Tour de France I really thought the event had got its mojo back – best in years.

But I have to say for consistent excitement the Giro organisers seem to come up with the goods regularly and the riders respond with attacking riding almost every day. Can’t wait for tomorrow, the event going in to the final time trial genuinely in the balance.

I loved stages like the day into Assisi, those short sharp uphill finishes into the old cities and towns make the race. I just can’t imagine the Tour de France going into a place where the streets are so narrow there was room for just one rider, rewarding the bold, but creating narrow margins that change almost daily.

And today – just a brilliant ride by the new Belgian star De Gendt over an astonishing course. I wish I could read the Flemish papers when I get back to Brussels, but I guess I’ll be able to pick it up from the headlines and pictures. Shame Cav has lost the red jersey by a point – lost it all on the day that he was brought down in the bunch.

Bring it on………..

Porticoes of Bologna – symbol of a city

Bologna portico

The city of Bologna has over 30km (20miles) of porticoes, the covered walkways in front of its shops and city buildings, perhaps the most distinctive feature of this former walled city which grew rich on trade routes of northern Italy. I had always heard of Bologna as an industrial town, giving it a somewhat dreary image that meant I had missed it for Rome, Venice and Florence.

But of course I have been distracted by guide book tourism. Outside its old centre Bologna is part of Italy’s industrial north and the roadsides have many factories and warehouses. But in a country like Italy, bursting with gems of antiquity and culture, it is easy to overlook places that in any other country would be star attractions. It was only after visiting the centre this weekend that I found so much more.  As a morning person I loved the tranquillity and the hazy sunshine as the city came to life. Bologna Portico

At the weekend Bologna’s mediaeval streets are closed to traffic and after slow relaxed early morning the city gradually starts to bustle and then bursts out into lively evenings as the student population of the oldest university in the world hits the streets. The porticoes themselves create an interplay of light and shade which lends itself to photography and the weekend scene is wonderfully undisturbed by engines.

My host was proud Bolognese Moreno who was determined not only to give me the tour but to represent the sights as a symbol of the city’s population – hard working and business-like, none of your fancy types of Florence or Milan here.

Bologna porticoes

He identified the porticoes as the symbol of this industrial culture. Today they are shopping heaven. Each portico has its own character, differing slightly in the height of the arches, the spacing of the columns of the colour of the plaster. But they provide the model for the shopping mall of the 20th Century – cool in the heat, dry in the rain or snow, cover for eating and drinking. Bologna Cafe and porticoes

Their origins actually are in sales, but the portico itself was the sales space, craftsmen acquiring a bit of the street to lay out their wares while the building behind was the workshop and store for each craft. Fed by the trade routes between the many cities there was an abundant supply of material which the craftsmen converted for sale. Each street has its own trade, from fishmongers to jewellers, bakers and woodworkers.

Bologna Sala Borsa - original stock exchange

Bologna Sala Borsa – original stock exchange

This trading pattern also brought us other features of modern commercial life. Bologna has one of the first stock exchanges in the world, financing the business ventures of the larger families and merchants, not to mention the towers they built to show off their power and status. And I learned the origin of two of the most feared phrases of commercial life – “bankrupt” or “broke”. When you defaulted on your debts in mediaeval Italy the bankers would come to the display in front of your workshop and break your shelves to stop you trading. The bank “ruptures” your shelves and you were indeed “broke”.

Bologna - Older portico in wood over traditional shop

Older portico in wood

The very oldest porticoes surviving today didn’t have the more modern columns, they have just timbers or arches supporting the lodgings above the store. You can see examples down some of the narrower side streets and over the older shops. But gradually the city insisted that property owners build and maintain the columned walkways which feature today. However to underline the workmanlike image which Bologna cultivates the columns here were built of brick, not the marble that adorns Rome and Florence.

Heavily damaged in the Second World War many have been restored.The more pretentious arcades are clearly prized by the most aspirational brands, but of course there are just a few that really feel like they shouldn’t be here.Bologna Disney PorticoGucci Bologna shopfront

OK call me a culture snob if you must, but it just isn’t right – is it?

After trade the other cultural icon of the Bolognese is food. The city has apparently been called la Grassa or “Fat one” and all food lovers know Bolognese sauce. But other pasta such as filled tortellini have equal billing here. Without understanding a word of the Italian it was enough to listen to Moreno and our waiter argue about whether it was ever acceptable to serve tortellini with sauce to know that this really matters in Bologna. Moreno lost the argument too, a rare occurrence.  The restaurant would clearly rather we left than defile the tortellini with sauce, but the broth in which they came was exquisite, a delicate clear consommé.

Bologna bakersBologna "Cross" LoafThese bakers making the craft breads in front of the old church on Sunday morning were representing the artisan bakers of the whole district with a constant bustle of locals buying by the bagful to go with Sunday lunch.

I could get very, very attached to a historic and attractive city that has thousands of bicycles, clears its streets for its people and places such value on community, work, food and education.  Bologna has clearly been hard-done-by in the competition for guide book reviews, it provided a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

Earthquake in Bologna, 5.9 on the Richter scale…er, that would be here then!

4 am this morning I woke up to a weird experience.

It appeared that somehow in the night I had managed to turn on a vibro-massage feature in my hotel bed that I didn’t know I had. Given the running feature on this blog about dodgy hotels I was really willing to blame the fact I was in an overly pretentious design hotel that I got cheap for the weekend.

And it wasn’t the vino, I had a relatively early night in watching the football and sorting out photos for the blog.

It dawned on me somewhat slowly that this was possibly an earthquake, or just possibly something to follow the bomb in Brindisi yesterday.

I heard a bit of shouting in the corridor, and then I went back to sleep because it didn’t seem to come to much.

Bit of a shock to turn on the news and discover that the news is saying earthquake in Bologna, I was 20km from the epicentre of a 5.9 quake, 4 dead up in Ferrara where a factory collapsed and lots of old buildings damaged.

All seems extraordinarily matter of fact here in Bologna, I have wandered the streets of Bologna for a couple of hours, sipped an espresso in the square and the town is coming to life and filling the streets. No damage at all.

Very odd, it seems normal doesn’t come with this job.

Trust you are all well and having a boring Sunday!

Cafe in Bologna after earthquake

Just another Sunday in an earthquake zone?