Unfinished Business …Bologna.

By Anjali Gaur

There is a massive Gothic Basilica in the center of the city of Bologna in Italy. It is considered the 15th largest church in the world. Construction for “Basilica of San Petronio” began back in 1390, but the work was never finished. Until that date the main façade of the Basilica facing the Main Street and Piazza Maggiore was incomplete. When Bologna came under the power of the Popes, the project was abandoned.  Despite it never being completed, the Basilica is still beautiful and loved by all. After several centuries, no one cares about its incomplete status, instead everyone who witnesses the beautiful site only admires and appreciates it. After all these centuries, the incomplete front of the Basilica has become part of its identity rather than being considered a defect or a missing piece.

Likewise, we all have several unfinished projects in our lifetime. We are seldom taught to live life as if we are continuously building up a CV and need to tick certain things as we move along. But the truth is, not everything is a task, a project, and not everything needs to be completed. Maybe some things need to be left undone and unfinished to be beautiful and meaningful. Occasionally perhaps we just need to let certain things go; it doesn’t matter if they are imperfect romantic relationships or friendships. Not everything needs or deserves closure.

The end of a relationship which meant a lot to us which we had great hopes and aspirations for, is quite like the Basilica. The church was going to be the grandest church in Christianity prior to the project being abandoned. The reality is when a venture ends prematurely it leaves one with a feeling of abandonment and regret.

This need for constant gratification should not ruin the perfect picture we have created in our minds. But, perhaps it is wiser to take inspiration from a historic piece of architecture such as the Basilica. Therefore, the Basilica is defined by and loved for it being unfinished.  If we apply this ethos to one’s own character, we find that we do not need to find a conclusion to every single situation.

It is possible that it would be wiser to take pride in situations where we do not need to chase the source of our pleasure. Therefore, just like the Basilica, what we leave unfinished could become the most respected and loved aspects of our lives.


Photo taken in Bologna on Aug 22 2016 by Anjali Gaur

Anjali Gaur is a Researcher living in Pavia, Italy. She studied biomedical sciences in Australia and the UK. Her current work involves research on ‘Red Blood Cell Ageing” funded by the European Commission. Prior to this she worked in Hong Kong and Sweden, where she developed ‘Phage Display Antibodies’.

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