Friday, April 19, 2013

Bella Bosa

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A banner near the old bridge that leads into town declares Bosa to be one of the prettiest cities in Italy.  The Ajimi Team hasn't seen every town in the country but it would be hard to argue with that assessment.  The buildings rise up from the edge of the river to the Malaspina castle at the top of the town.  The structures themselves vary in style from 19th-century palazzi with Baroque accents down near the cathedral to colorful adobe-like structures up near the castle that remind us of Luis Barragan.

It's a town -- like many others in the world -- that's benefited -- architecturally, at any rate -- from adversity.  The stench of the tanneries that once lined its river meant few people were willing to come to invest here, to demolish and rebuild.  After the tanneries were shut down in the mid-twentieth century, there was no local money to invest.  So the old town remains intact with just a few jarring reminders of what century you're actually in.

But now the tanneries are out of business, although their landmarked structures remain, one an interesting municipal museum.  Tourism is the main industry these days, largely in the summer months.  We pretty much had the place to ourselves during Holy Week.

Except for an elderly woman we encountered in a medieval lane.  After we bid her good afternoon, she looked me in the eye and said, "I think I've seen you before.  Have you ever been to Montenegro?"   I told her I hadn't but Nick and I agreed the line would make a good code phrase should the need for one ever arise.

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