Walking through the streets of the historic center, everyone will have happened to pass by Via Piella and see a group of tourists intent on spying on the famous “finestrella”.
Yes, because this has now become an inevitable destination for those visiting the city and is reported in all the main guides. But the spectacle of the Reno Channel that runs through the heart of the city, at the only point where it emerges, is visible only during the day.
Starting from this observation and from the desire to enhance what is, after all, one of the symbols of the historical-hydraulic heritage of Bologna, Città d’Acque, the Consortiums of the Canals of Reno and Savena in Bologna, have decided to realize a project of artificial lighting that can enhance this place even at night.
Work will begin in October, when there is no water during the dry season. The inauguration of the illuminated canal is scheduled for December instead.
Taking into account the historical importance of the site, the lighting project intends to enhance and emphasize the presence of water without resorting to forcing and emphasizing. It will be a non-invasive, almost pictorial, low light intensity intervention, which will fundamentally make use of the reflective power of water, distributing almost soft and sparse brush strokes along the canal in the direction of the current and creating a slight reflection and movement of shadows on the lower part of facades facing, in correspondence of the cellar rooms. The sub-arches of the three bridges (on via Malcontenti, via Piella and via Oberdan), illuminated with led profiles above the surface of the water, will double, reflecting on the surface of the canal.
In the area of the old “Guazzatoio” three light fixtures will be placed near the façade that can be seen from the view of Malcontenti, which will remind you of torches and evoke an old type of lighting. Furthermore, to evoke the presence of the laundresses and the milling activity, temporary images evocative of the past that will interact with the spectator will be projected, with the aim of leading the eye of the evening visitor to some focal points able to tell the story of this place. The site specific artificial lighting project is designed by the architect Giordana Arcesilai.
Some historical notes
The roads corresponding to the current streets of the Grada, Riva di Reno, Capo di Lucca, Castiglione and Rialto flanked the uncovered canals of Reno and Savena. In these spaces the activities of the common everyday life coexisted with the work activities. Until the early decades of the twentieth century in these canals many drew water, washed clothes and animals, swam regardless of the repeated prohibitions of the authorities. Already at the beginning of the 20th century, but especially after the war, the sections of the still-open, open-air Rhine canal along the streets of the Grada and Riva di Reno were covered. Only two very short sections were spared, one place among the vie Augusto Righi and Bertiera, the other between via Alessandrini and Capo di Lucca, remained the only witnesses of a vanished urban landscape.