Another city to go back and spend some time in!
Ten years ago we drove through it, this time I spent one night there. Next time it will be a couple of days…..lots to see, lots of history, lots of good restaurants, food, wine and shopping!
The flight (British Airways from Heathrow) was great…just a couple of hours but they served us breakfast! Had clear skies all the way so flying over the Alps was pretty spectacular. Mountains, lush valleys with lakes….
Bologna and the beautiful surrounding rolling hills……and smog!
We arrived in Bologna early afternoon which at least gave us some time to do a bit of exploring. Taxi from the airport to “centro storico” was a flat rate, which I can’t remember now. It took a while because it was a holiday weekend and traffic was a little crazy as everyone was heading out of town to hit the coast….the heatwave had started! We stayed at the Hotel San Donato, which was in a great location for walking everywhere. They also have a couple of lovely terraces with great views of the city. We started our visit off with an aperol spritz (good but a little too sweet for me!). Drinks were served with peanuts and other little snacky things…..which is pretty much the norm anywhere in Italy or Europe…definitely doesn’t happen at home!!
View from the terrace…
It’s a beautiful old city with lots of piazzi and porticos or colonnaded walkways which nicely protect you from the weather while shopping Lots of great cafes, restaurants and shops with beautiful clothes, jewelry….if only my suitcase hadn’t already weighed a ton!! And shoe stores…..and the scarves……
Bologna also has a leaning tower. There used to be a couple of hundred but of course over the last few hundred years they’ve either fallen down or been taken down. Supposedly they were built by rich families as a form of protection or just simply to show off their wealth. There are only a few left standing today….one of which leans.
We had lunch a great little café just down the street from our hotel……13E for your choice of a couple of different kinds of pasta and a salad. We celebrated the next leg of our trip with a couple of bottles of wine…..a nice leisurely lunch to get into the Italian way of life!
The doumo (San Petronio Basilica) is very interesting…..the front façade has never been finished! Over the years (hundreds…) apparently a number of people were commissioned to do a plan for finishing it but I guess whoever was in charge wasn’t impressed so today it remains as it was 500+ years ago. The inside is beautiful….huge. It is the largest basilica in the world built of bricks!! There was a mass happening so we didn’t venture inside too far but like most churches in Italy many frescos, beautiful tile and a lot of decadence.
The food shops were most impressive…..as they are everywhere in Italy! It’s “eye candy” for your stomach…..everything is displayed beautifully. We did pick up a few goodies for the next day when we arrived at our house. Lots of wine stores…..picked up some of that too!!
We had dinner at a pizza place…..good but not the best I’ve had in Italy. One thing I should have learned from other trips there is that a small pizza really would feed a family!! We probably should have just split one or two between the 4 of us…..live and learn, or in my case, NOT!! Next time I will remember!
One thing that was pointed out to us by taxi drivers, the desk people at the hotel, the waiter in the café and just about everyone else we talked to……contrary to popular belief, Bolognese sauce is not from Bologna!! I must say we didn’t see “spaghetti Bolognese” on any menu, so we have to take their word for it!
Back to the hotel for a nightcap on the terrace which had a terrific view of the Bologna rooftops and the towers.
Breakfast the next morning was included at the hotel…..very good continental type with lots of variety…..cheeses, meats, fruit, bread and hardboiled eggs!
I was joined on the terrace by pigeons…..as soon as they see you, they appear hoping for a crumb or two…..it was a gorgeous morning and a great place to just sit and enjoy my coffee.
It’s a very clean city…..I was very impressed with the garbage system!! I know really …..but I did wonder why the garbage cans were never overflowing at the end of the day like you see in many other places……who knew!
all you see on the street is the small garbage can-ish thing on the top…..the rest of the container is buried under the street! The truck comes along and lifts the entire contraption up and somehow dumps it in the back….really quite impressive!
So much more of Bologna to see on another trip…..