Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Scalette of Bergamo – Take 2

Left: Our walk route today, the red point on the left is our starting and ending point at Piazzetta del delfino; the scalette are one of our favorite aspects of the many walking routes around Bergamo. Right: Via del Paradiso, one of the scalette of Bergamo.
Our walk route today; There are many hike routes around Bergamo using the scalette. Via del Paradiso one of the scalette of Bergamo.

One of the interesting aspects of Bergamo, and a reason why we choose it for a sabbatical, is its hilly terrain. (See Perché Bergamo for other reasons.) Today, we tackled the scalette – stairs – which surround Bergamo. On a bright and sunny day last February, we took a walk out to the Monastero di Astino via the scalette – see Scalette di Bergamo. Today, gray and foggy as it was, we had no particular destination in mind other than to get out for some exercise.

The scalette are useful for getting around the steep geography, as well as great way for locals and visitors to enjoy views and perhaps a physical challenge. So much so that we immediately worked up an appetite and stopped mid-walk for lunch at Ristorante Pizzeria San Vigilio. What did you expect with Travelmarx? We’ve been wanting to try this place for a while and today was as good of an excuse as any. The pizza and pasta we had were great. While we had only a view of dense fog out the window, the jocular Italian Sunday lunch crowd more than made up for it.

Our starting and ending points were Piazzetta / Fontana del delfino. Why? Because we live nearby. We set off after our morning espresso macchiato and gossip at the always-interesting Caffè Papavero.

Length: 15,4 km (9.6 miles)
Duration: ~3.5 hours walking time, plus time for lunch
Elevation: total gain 803 m (2,630 ft), starting/ending 282 m (930 ft), max 500 m (1,640 ft)
Location: Italy, Lombardia, Bergamo, Colli di Bergamo

Views of Salita dello Scorlazzone.
Views of Salita dello Scorlazzone.Views of Salita dello Scorlazzone.Views of Salita dello Scorlazzone.

Left: Lunch at Ristorante Pizzeria San Vigilio. Right: Sentiero dei Vasi - oops closed for today. No worries, there is always another way.
Lunch at Ristorante Pizzeria San Vigilio.Sentiero dei Vasi - oops closed for today. No worries, there is always another way.

Signs describing the Sentiero dei Vasi.
Signs describing the Sentiero dei Vasi.Signs describing the Sentiero dei Vasi.

Left: Start of the hike Via del Cornasello. Right: Via Salita della Scaletta.
Start of the hike Via del Cornasello.Via Salita della Scaletta.

Left: Via Santa Lucia Vecchia. Right: Via del Paradiso.
Via Santa Lucia Vecchia.Via del Paradiso.

Left: Via Ramera. Right: A trail in the Parco dei Colli di Bergamo.
Via Ramera.A trail in the Parco dei Colli di Bergamo.

Trail Via Roccolino. Left along the trail. Right: Bottom of trail with cabbages.
Via Roccolino.Bottom of trail with cabbages.

Green Way del Morla.
Green Way del Morla.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Bergamo – Street Sign Language Lesson XIV

Street Sign Language Lesson 13 < Street Sign Language Lesson 14

In this episode of Street Sign Language Lesson, we examine two lost cat posters, learn what a fessura is, and get the low down on what to and what not do in the public swimming pool.

Left: Former board school (convitto) sign on via Pignolo, Bergamo. Right: Information about the fascist occupation of the school.
Former board school (convitto) sign on via Pignolo, Bergamo.Information about the fascist occupation of the school.
convitto – boarding school
The place where we live, via Pignolo, reveals its secrets bit by bit. During one of our morning coffee-talk sessions at Caffè Papavero, we learned that the current University of Bergamo building at Pignolo 123 was once a boarding school. When we walked up the street later, indeed we saw a sign explaining a little of the history of the building: Convitto – del r. Istituto Tecnico Industriale Pietro Paleocarpa. Pietro Paleocapa (1788 – 1869) was an engineer, scientist, and politician born in Bergamo. For the record – and because I’ve made this mistake too many times – his surname is pronounced as “pale ee OH cappa” not “paleo CAPpa”.

A nearby sign explains about the Nazi occupation of the building in 1943-1945:
In questo convitto violentemente occupato negli anni 1943-1945 la polizia nazista infierì con furia selvaggia sui nostri fratelli migliori la libertà germogliò in virtù del loro sacrificio. 
In this boarding school, violently occupied in the years 1943-1945, Nazi police acted savagely towards our good brothers. Freedom sprang by virtue of their sacrifice.
There are two uses of passato remoto in this text: infierì (inferire) and germogliò (germogliare). The passato remoto conveys distance in time, adding emotional weight to the subject matter compared to using the passato prossimo. And the passato remoto is shorter to use: less space on the sign I suppose is a good thing.

Left: Funicolare San Vigilio. Right: Cheese window at Ol Fromager, Bergamo.
Funicolare San Vigilio.Cheese window at Ol Fromager, Bergamo.
macchine in movimento, vietato il transito ai pedoni – moving machinery, access is prohibited to pedestrians
We were ambling up via S. Vigilio one day on our way up to Castello di San Vigilio and we saw this sign on a side street. The photo shows the sign with the Funicolare San Vigilio in the background. There are two funiculars in Bergamo. One from Bergamo Bassa to Bergamo Alta called the Funicolare di Bergamo Alta, and the San Vigilio funicular which takes you from Bergamo Alta to Castello di San Vigilio.

si prega di non appoggiarsi vetro sensibile – please do no lean against the sensitive glass
This sign was at Ol Fromager, a cheese shop located a few minutes from our apartment. The cheeses look so good that you can’t help but put your face up to the glass. But this glass display is sensibile – sensitive in the physical sense, not sensible as in practical. Si prega di is a formal way to say please. Informally, you could use per favore.

Left and center: Lost cat signs in Bergamo. Right: Postal opening on a door (fessura).
Lost cat sign in Bergamo.Lost cat sign in Bergamo.Postal opening on a door.
smarrita gatta, [gatto] scomparso – lost cat [female], lost cat [male]
They are just lost cat posters, but are the kind of thing that stops me in my tracks and sets me to wondering about the words used. What if I lost my cat, what words would I use? Smarrita is an adjective which comes from the verb smarrire, to lose or misplace. Scomparso is an adjective which comes from the verb scomparire, to disappear or vanish.

Where the adjective goes is one of those areas of Italian grammar that I never seem to get right. When I first started with the Italian language, I learned that adjectives follow a noun. Later, I learned that this isn't always the case, and that, adjectives can come before a noun. Adjectives following a noun restrict or further qualify the noun. Adjectives preceding a noun describe or give another sense or valuation to the noun. A classic example is: mio vecchio amico versus mio amico vecchio. The former is my old friend that I’ve known for a long time. The latter is my friend who is old.

You could go either way with the adjectives for the cats. For example, smarrita gatta sounds to me like the cat lost itself, while gatta smarrita is more like the owner lost the cat. Here’s hoping Avi (gatta) and Chicco (gatto) made it home.

fessuraopening
I always think this word sounds dirty, but it is quite innocent. It means crack or fissure. The sign posted on this door reads: Per il postino: depositare tutta la posta nella fessura – For the postman: put all the mail in the mail slot (or opening).

Left and center: Signs at the Centro Sportivo Italcementi in Bergamo. Right: Toilet sign on a train.
Sign at the Centro Sportivo Italcementi in Bergamo.Sign at the Centro Sportivo Italcementi in Bergamo.Toilet sign on a train.
vietato entrare con le scarpe – It is forbidden to enter with shoes
We went swimming at the Centro Sportivo Italcementi, and oh boy, new signs. This one is pretty straight forward. You have to immediately take your shoes off when you enter the locker room. The sign continues emphatically: è obbligo togliere le scarpe qui e rimetterle prima di uscire sempre qui! – you must remove your shoes here and put them back on, always here before leaving!


in piscina – in the pool area
All the rules for what to do and not do in the pool:
  • Fare la doccia prima di entrare in acqua – shower before entering the pool
  • Non portare oggetti di vetro vicino alla piscina, mettere la cuffia – No glass objects in the pool area, put on a swimming cap
  • Non sputare – no spitting
  • Usa la toilette non la piscina – use the toilet not the pool
  • Non spingere – no pushing
  • Non correre – no running
  • Chi non sa nuotare rimanga nell’acqua bassa – Those who don’t know how to swim, stay in the shallow end
  • Non tuffarsi vicino ai bagnati – no diving near swimmers
  • Non tuffarsi nell’acqua bassa – No diving in the shallow end
Interesting words in the rules include: la cuffia (in this context it means swimming cap), tuffarsi (to dive), nuotare (to swim), and sputare (to spit). Also, note the common use of the verb sapere fare qualcosa (to know how to do something), in this case sapere nuotare.

toelette - toilet
Speaking of toilette, on the train from Bergamo to Milano, this little sign caught my eye. It's a sign pointing to the toilet or bathroom. At first, I thought toelette was misspelled, but later realized it is correct. It's sort of a classy (and maybe outdated) way of saying bathroom.

Left and center left: Flyer for the Longaretti Exhibition. Center right: Outside the Museo Bernareggi. Right: Inside the Longaretti Exhibition inside the Museo Bernareggi.
Flyer for the Longaretti Exhibition.Flyer for the Longaretti Exhibition.Outside the Museo Bergnareggi.Inside the Longaretti Exhibition inside the Museo Bernareggi.
Longaretti, lungo un secolo – Longaretti, century-long
The Italian painter Trento Longaretti, born in 1916, just celebrated his 100th birthday. We stopped by the Museo Bernareggi to see his retrospective (September 28, 2016 to January 29, 2017), and were quite impressed.

Left and center: Flyer for the Mushroom Exhibition. Right: Example mushroom model.
Flyer for the Mushroom Exhibition. Flyer for the Mushroom Exhibition. Example mushroom model.
Funghi, storia e scienza da un altro regno – Mushrooms, history and science from another kingdom
The Sala Viscontea in Bergamo Alta hosts interesting plant-oriented exhibits. Early this year, there was Seduction Repulsion: What Plants Don’t Say. This time around we have mushrooms. As usual, it’s free to enter and it is choc-full of information and includes some cool historical mushroom models. Definitely worth a visit or two.

In the photo of one of the mushroom models, the word mangereccio, or edible, can be seen. The word derives from the verb to eat, mangiare. You could also say edible using commestibile.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Two Spectacular Days in Bolzano, Soprabolzano and Renon

Left: View east from Soprabolzano with fall colors. Right: Earth pyramids near Longomoso (Renon).
View east from Soprabolzano with fall colors. Earth pyramids near Longomoso (Renon).

Left: Route to see earth pyramids near Soprabolzano (starting from cable car station). Right: Route to see earth pyramids near Longomoso (starting from Collalbo).
Route to see earth pyramids near Soprabolzano (starting from cable car station).Route to see earth pyramids near Longomoso (starting from Collalbo).

We were last in Bolzano when we passed through last June on our way to Germany. That afternoon, we ate at Albergo Signaterof. (See this post for images of the stube and some of the food at Albergo Signaterof.) Before that, we spent a glorious Fall weekend there in 2007 (see the post Bolzano = Bozen). When we were thinking about a quick 1-2 day get-away, the idea of Bolzano popped up, and it was a done deal.

We decided on one night and 2 days so we could travel with backpacks. We took the train from Bergamo to Bolzano, and with just four hours and 2 train changes (Brescia and Porto Nuovo Verona) we were in Bolzano on a bright sunny Monday morning. We spent time relaxing at the Stadt Hotel Città, walking, and then had an early lunch at the Ristorante Kaiserkron before we headed into the hills.

There are three different funivie from Bolzano up into the surrounding plateaus: Funivia del Colle, Funivia del Renon, and Funivia di San Genesio. In 2007, we spent time in the city of Bolzano as well as time in Jenesien (San Genesio Atesino), above Bolzano, using the Funivia di San Genesio. This time, we visited the Renon area.

The lower station of the Funivia del Renon is close to the Bolzano train station. The upper station is in Soprabolzano (Oberbozen). The Renon Funivia is 4.5 km (2.8 miles) in length, taking passengers up 950 m (3,100 ft), and in only 12 minutes. Not a bad deal. You can also walk up.

Upon arriving in Soprabolzano, we set out for the earth pyramids (le piramidi di terra del Renon) in a loop walk as suggested on the Sentres site. It was an easy 5 km walk through countryside. Orderly farms, stunning countryside, fall foliage and earth pyramids made for a spectacular scenery.

We stayed one night at the Haus Rottensteiner. It was perfect for us, a comfortable place where we received a nice welcome from the friendly owner Helga. She helped us find a place to eat for dinner and encouraged us to jump on the train to get there. A small train connects Soprabolzano with Collalbro with many stops along the way. The RittenCard is included in the stay at the B&B, which we would use for the train, funivia back down to Bolzano, and entrance to the Ötzi museum.

For dinner, we walked from Haus Rottensteiner back into the center of Soprabolzano to catch the train to the Lichtenstern / Stella stop. From there, we walked in moonlight to Hotel Südtirolerhof and a perfect dinner. Delicious.

The next day, Tuesday, we took the train to its end in Collalbro and did another easy 5 km walk to see more earth pyramids. There was a dusting of snow which gave everything a glow. Perfect countryside walking. From Collalbro, we headed back down in to Bolzano for a quick lunch at Hopfen & Co. (nice dish of testina) and then off to see Ötzi for a second time (Museo Archeologico dell’Alto Adige).

Left: Coffee at Stadt Hotel Città. Center: Enchanting street of Bolzano. Right: Testina at Hopfen & Co.
Coffee at Stadt Hotel Città.Enchanting street of Bolzano.Testina at Hopfen & Co.

Church fix. Left and center left: Chiesa del Sacro Cuore (Bolzano). Center right: Convento dei Francescani (Bolzano). Right: Chiesa St. Georg und Jakob (below Soprabolzano).
Chiesa del Sacro Cuore (Bolzano). Chiesa del Sacro Cuore (Bolzano). Convento dei Francescani (Bolzano).Chiesa St. Georg und Jakob (below Soprabolzano).

Renon’s historic narrow-gauge railway - at night (at Lichtenstern /Stella station) and during the day (stopped at Soprabolzano station).
Renon’s historic narrow-gauge railway - at night (at Lichtenstern /Stella station).Renon’s historic narrow-gauge railway during the day (stopped at Soprabolzano station).

Left: A curious horse in Soprabolzano. Right: View east at dusk from Haus Rottensteiner.
A curious horse in Soprabolzano. View east at dusk from Haus Rottensteiner.

Haus Rottensteiner in Soprabolzano.
Haus Rottensteiner in Soprabolzano.Haus Rottensteiner in Soprabolzano.

Walking to Haus Rottensteiner. Spectacular colors and ambiance.
Walking to Haus Rottensteiner. Spectacular colors and ambiance.Walking to Haus Rottensteiner. Spectacular colors and ambiance.

Earth pyramids are formed by erosion of morainic rocks of glacial origin. They are ever-changing. Left: Pyramids near Soprabolzano. Right: Pyramids of Longomoso.
Pyramids near Soprabolzano.Pyramids of Longomoso.

Heck those earth pyramids are so darn fun to look lets have a couple of more shots of the pyramids to the north of Longomoso.
Heck those earth pyramids are so darn fun to look lets have a couple of more shots of the pyramids to the north of Longomoso.Heck those earth pyramids are so darn fun to look lets have a couple of more shots of the pyramids to the north of Longomoso.

Left: And one more shot of the Longomoso pyramids. Right: The town of Longomoso and its reflection.
And one more shot of the Longomoso pyramids. The town of Longomoso and its reflection.

Left: Ötzi examined - an interactive exhibit. Center: Ötzi realized by Kennis & Kennis. Right: Sign describing earth pyramid formation. Wonder if Ötzi looked at these pyramids?


Views from the Renon Funivia (cable car). Left: Midpoint of funivia near St. Georg und Jakob church. Right: I can't get enough of the manicured sloping vineyards around Bolzano.
Midpoint of funivia near St. Georg und Jakob church.I can't get enough of the manicured sloping vineyards around Bolzano.

Views from the Renon Funivia (cable car) over Bolzano.
Views from the Renon Funivia (cable car) over Bolzano.Views from the Renon Funivia (cable car) over Bolzano.