Lit History: Cannabis, Italian Style Hemp is Protection

Lit History: Cannabis, Italian Design — In Bologna, Hemp is Protection

Lit History is a weekly series that tells follow that history by sharing some of the long-forgotten tales of weed’s contribution to science, medicine, and civilization. Schwilly examines the artistic representation of rsquo & Bologna; s hemp history, today.

Cannabis is so ingrained in Italy’s history that it is literally inscribed into one of its most famous walls.

Bologna is the capital city of the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy and among Italy’s oldest hemp-growing regions. Civic records indicate that hemp was among Bologna’s primary agricultural crops beginning in the 15th century.

The historical Via dell’Indipendenza sits in the shadow of Casa Stagni, previously called the Torre degli Scappi, among 20 ancient towers left standing from the Middle Ages. The tower’s had additional buildings added to the foundation during the 15th century and first structure was built by the Scappi family in the year 1220. These structures included an arched portico.

It’s in this arched portico which Bologna’s hemp history is detailed. The arched ceiling layout is dominated by cannabis leaves which are painted in stunning detail. The cannabis-leaf border and grape and wheat plants intertwine to complete the fresco’s botanical theme.  

Affresco dei portici di Via Indipendenza – Canabis Protectio. (Wikimedia Commons/Made by CristianNX and used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

The cannabis-themed fresco was added through an 1892 reconstruction of the tower by the Italian artist Augusto Sezanne. Potentially working from a pattern from the ancient architects, the cannabis-centric layout is an homage to when the building was used as a storage and textile area for the weaving of the region ’s hemp distribution.

Colorful murals tucked inside the roofing ’s arches further illustrate Bologna’s hemp history. For a cow plows through a hemp field in preparation for seed, A Bolognese farm is recreated in fresco. Another fresco shows a seated woman weaving hemp on a loom as an spinning wheel sits in her prepared.

Small paintings found in between the columns also indicate the building’s historical hemp history. The scenes come complete with prose.

Where cannabis leaves match the wheat, a hemp spool works with interlocking hemp. The prose, somewhat facetiously, relays the age-old groan of hard work, reading “io ruofo e tu sospiri,” or “I turn, you sigh. ”

Today, the historic building is home to restaurants and businesses, including the general store La Coroncina, established in 1694.   

When dining at one of the restaurants, like the Canton De Fiori, you are literally walking on cannabis history. The words “Canabis Protectio” are tiled to the dining room floor to remind patrons of rsquo & Bologna;s hemp roots.

Fittingly, the Canton de Fiori is the namesake of the Flower Market that was historically in this field.

Published at Thu, 30 Aug 2018 23:20:02 +0000

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