About the book

"It's an improbable city, Bologna - like one you might walk through after you have died." The red Tenda of Bologna is a dreamlike meditation on memory, food, paintings, a fond uncle and the improbable beauty of Bologna, from the visionary thinker and art critic John Berger. The pocket sized book is the ideal travel companion as it uncovers and distills the essence of Bologna.

ISBN: 978-0-241-33901-5

The red Tenda of Bologna is John Berger's fragmented memoir about the food, art, people and beauty of Bologna as well as an intimate tribute to a beloved uncle, Edgar, about whom he writes: "I should begin with how I loved him, in what manner, to what degree, with what kind of incomprehension.” Bologna was a place dear to Edgar, and after his death Berger decides to visit the city, describing it in dreamy little vignettes: "In the Piazza Maggiore some steps lead up to the east face of the Basilica of St. Petronius, which, like many of Bologna's historic buildings is constructed in brick. For centuries people have sat on these steps to watch what's happening in the square and to notice the minute differences between yesterday and today. I'm sitting on these steps." The title of the book refers to red linen ubiquitous throughout the city: "I want to buy a length of this red tende linen. I'm not sure what I'll do with it. Maybe I only need it to make this portrait. Anyway I'll be able to feel it, scramble it up, smooth it out, hold it against the sunlight, hang it, fold it, dream of what's on the other side." "And in the evenings Pleasure and Desolation take their evening stroll along the arcades and walk hand in hand."

Sonja Junkers

Sonja Junkers



in the Literature Atlas

Lit Cities uses cookies to improve your experience and assist with our promotional efforts.

I accept