Italy Part 2 – The Venue

I have been to a fair few conferences in nice venues around the world, but I am pretty sure this is the most spectacular.

On Wednesday I tweeted that the landscape in Italy is very like parts of California, but with more sheep and castles. Something else I should have noted is that Californians mostly build on the flat because that’s easier for cars, but Italians, more particularly old-time Italians, build on the top of hills because that’s easy to defend.

Sometime in the 10th century, maybe earlier, a warlord build a castle on top of a hill in Bertinoro, a small town between Bolonga and San Marino. It continued to have a military role up until the 15th century, and at one point in 1302 Dante Alighieri found refuge there. From 1581 it became the palace of the local bishop, and it remained as such until 1969. In 1994 it was purchased by the University of Bologna and converted to a conference center.

Quite aside from being in a fabulous medieval building, the views are spectacular. On a clear day, which yesterday was, you can see the Adriatic and the Croatian coastline in the distance. My phone camera doesn’t have a good enough zoom to show the coast clearly, but look!

And here’s the room where I gave my paper today:

The residential area is in a former seminary just down the hill from the Palace. I confess that I am well out of breath by the time I have walked up the hill in the morning, but I am sure that the exercise is good for me.