Bubble architecture in Domodossala – 7

The bubbles!  The bubbles!  Oh, the stories about bubbles that I could regale you with!

But this post is not about bubbles, but rather bubble architecture. And more specifically, Italian bubble architecture.

I’ve said that France is the all time master at turning beautiful historical buildings into hideous monstrosities by encasing parts of them – or sometimes all of them – in giant glass bubbles.  There are very few exceptions where they get this mix right.

The Italians, it seems, have learned from the French mistakes and are creating their own beautiful bubble architectures, such as this one that I spotted in Domodossala:

For me the absolute nicest touch of the bubble is its base, which is a very smooth segue between the existing concrete paving blocks and the bubble itself.

Well, done, Italy!


Domodossala is a small kind of a village in Northern Italy, more specifically in the Piedmont region, just across the border from Switzerland. It’s famous for its marble production, where huge slabs of marble are carved out of the local mountainsides. Although to be honest, “just across the border from Switzerland” is misleading. There are the massive Swiss Alps sitting between the tiny Italian village of Domodossala and the next closest Swiss village of Brig – so unless you are prepared to get on a train and travel in a tunnel so long it would blow your mind (as well as your eardrums, from the Venturi force), then actually Domodossala and Switzerland are not so close.

Anyway, here is some street art in the Northern Italian village of Domodossala. Since it looks like a horse, I am calling is a horse-o-dossala:

Riomaggiore – is there where I got Covid?

Continuing the series, a snap of colorful hillside village of Riomaggiori in the Cinque Terra region of Liguria,

Interestingly, I was here during late December 2019 when – unbeknownst to anyone at this time – Covid was beginning to ravage North Italy. Around 2-3 weeks later after returning to Switzerland, I suddenly came down with all the classic symptoms of Covid. But this was weeks before the disease was even recognized in Europe, much less had the name Covid-19!

Unfortunately, I cannot put my finger on exactly when and where I was infected. I also have no evidence to prove I was really “Patient Zero” for Switzerland – although in terms of timing, I certainly could have been.

While in Italy not only did I have a few strange encounters with people who were coughing – but I also stayed in Alsace, France, in hotels filled to the brim with Chinese tourists. In fact, at once hotel in La Spezia I was checked in by a woman who had to step away from the computer, just to cough.

The Ligurian coast

OK, not strictly the Ligurian coast. In fact, I am not quite sure where the Ligurian coast actually begins.

But nevertheless, a nice snap looking south from an Autostrade in Italy on my way to Genova, which is where the Italian region of Liguria officially starts:

Garbage in Liguria

Continuing the series, I took this snap in the Ligurian coastal city of La Spezia,

I think people often don’t stop and think about sights like this.  Each country – and quite often, each region within a country – makes a slightly different decision about what it finds worthwhile to recycle. What I find particularly appealing is the first container on the right – the yellow one. The city is collected used plastic and metal containers. Sadly, there is no way for me in Switzerland to separate out my used plastic and metal containers

Cinque Terre on the Ligurian coast of Italy

For those that don’t already know it, this is the European country of Italy:

And for those that don’t already know it, on the Northern Coast of Italy is the region of Liguria:

And for those that don’t already know it, scattered along the coast of Liguria are five very colorful villages, known as the Cinque Terre (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarolo, and Riomaggiore):

Please be a bit careful here. That last image has the words Five Villages but in fact the word Cinque Terre in Italian is translated as five lands.

Regardless if they are villages or lands, nevertheless they are an important tourist destination – to be honest, I’m not quite sure why, other than they are colorful, old, and you can easily visit all villages by taking a train from either Genoa or La Spezia.

In upcoming blog posts I’ll share some snaps that I took when I visited the villages during the off season.

La Spezia – two views

La Spezia is a smallish city in the south of a smallish area called Liguria, which is a smallish region in the northern part of the smallish country of Italy, along the coast.

Here is the business part of the city:

And here is the leisure part of the city:

Although I never captured one of them on camera, the mosquitos were the size of small birds – and, they were the anopheles species known for carrying malaria. However, there is not much malaria in Italy these days, so a major loss of blood is about the only thing to worry about if you get bit by one of these giant flying velociraptors.

The 20th of September: Italian Risorgimento

The wonderful thing about photography as a hobby is that you always get to learn new things.

I saw this sign for a street named “20th September” (Via XX Septembre) in many, many Italian cities, this one being La Spezia at the furthest tip of the Italian Ligurian coast:

This is to highlight an historical event that took place in the year 1870: Italians completing their conquer of the Italian peninsula.

Interesting aside: I find it quite interesting that many countries name streets after important dates in history – but not the Americans. To my knowledge, there is no “July 4” street – at least not anywhere that I’ve seen.

So the very interesting question is: do other cultures feel inspired — or worse, perhaps obligated — to commemorate events in their history?

Milan Panoramic

Taken with the famous Duomo di Milano at my back, the Galleria is on the left:

Interestingly, this hidden cathedral behind me, which you cannot see in this shot, is the largest cathedral in Italy, the third largest cathedral in Europe, and the fourth largest cathedral in the world! You can get a sense of just how big, when I simply turn 180% and take this shot:

A very impressive view of the unimpressive

In case you wondered, a panoramic shot of the Duomo central square in Milan.

What’s so impressive about it is that this snap is taken from the center of the direction outward. So the truly impressive, spectacular view is behind the camera and not visible.


On the left is a piece of the famous Galeria shopping mall – the first Galeria after which all the others were designed.

The Real Galleria

Most all Americans have heard about shopping malls called The Galleria.  I don’t know a large city in the U.S. that doesn’t have one. But what hardly any Americans know is that this concept dates back to an original Galleria, in the north Italian city of Milano.  If you go there, you will not just be impressed – if you are an American and not accustomed to sights like this, there is a danger your eyeballs might explode:

Officially it’s known as the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and it is actually quite a recent building, dating back to around 1867. Inside, its filled with very high priced boutiques. But the real tourist attraction is a tile inlay of the Bull of Turin in the middle of the mall, shown here:

It is widely believed that if you spin around the bull with your heel three times, you’ll receive good luck.



Milan Tram

Nothing special, no interesting story behind it, no mind-boggling trivia. Just wanted to show off one of my favorite snaps that I took when my Dad and I were visiting Milan in Italy:


Amazing Bologna

While most tourists flock to Florence, I’ve always found Bologna to be more fascinating.

Here’s a good example: any visitor to Bologna would surely see this sight and think they are looking at Saint Petronius:

It even says so right above his head: Petronius, Protector and Father.  But in fact this is a statute of Pope Gregory XIII!  When the French invaded Italy in 1796, the locals took to subterfuge rather than destroy what, even at that time, was a very precious piece of art. Later on, after the French left, nobody bothered to change the inscription in the plaque.

You can also find plenty of gruesome statues in Bologna, like this one: