Mezzofanti was born on September 17th, 1774 in Via dei
Malcontenti in the historic center of Bologna. A Bolognese forum member
had kindly sent me some pictures of the house and of the street that bears
his name. I decided to check for myself and found the plaque in a narrow,
run-down street just opposite a Beate Uhse sex shop. The young Mezzofanti
was first exposed to foreign languages when his father was repairing a
bank next to a Latin-and-Greek school. Young Mezzofanti followed the
lesson across the open window and soon learned by heart all words he had
heard, to the amazement of the professor. One can only wonder wether
if Beate Uhse had been around during Mezzofanti's times what walk of
life he would have chosen.
These are the best pictures I could manage of the plaque which is in a
poor condition. I guess dead Cardinals are no heroes in the modern Bologna
even if they were great polyglots.
There is also, in Bologna and in Milan, Mezzofanti streets. Boaziano, a
forum member, kindly sent me the picture to the one in Bologna.