Today we venture south to Bologna, a medieval looking city with a center that’s more Chicago State Street than Little Italy.
Bologna is referred to in a number of ways. La Grassa (the fat one) celebrates the first bolognese sauce that originated in the city. La Dotta (the learned one) refers to the university that was founded in 1088. And La Rossa (the red one) illustrates the red terracotta medieval buildings with their miles of porticoes and apparently some left-wing politics as well. (source)
We arrived by train and after checking out our very modern accommodations at Hotel Metropolitan, ventured out to check out the open markets.
We quickly realized there were far less tourists in Bologna than Venice and after an hour or so roaming the streets surrounding the main piazza, far more American retail stores.
We stopped for lunch at an outdoor cafe near the museum and had our first really memorable meal of the trip. Perhaps not as much as this kid who enjoyed a foccacia sandwich larger than his entire torso. Bon Appetito!
Matt enjoyed a tagliatelle with bolognese and I had a salad with poached egg, asparagus and peccorino cheese with a side of bread and wine, naturally.
That afternoon, we boarded the San Luca Express for a ride along the portico that led up to the Basilica Santuario della Madonna di San Luca overlooking the city. We had originally planned on walking the trip but after hearing it would take two hours to walk the world’s longest portico, we both decided riding was the best decision of the day.
If the views from the top of the city weren’t breathtaking enough, a walk inside the basilica will do it.
It was at the top of San Luca that we had our first aperitivo on the trip. Partially pictured: the tiny round teeter-totter that was the seat at this quaint pizzeria.
Our stop in Bologna was quick, but we were grateful to experience the University town before heading down to Florence for the next few days and falling even more in love with this beautiful country.