Tuesday, May 5, 2009


We are now back in Catania after a whirlwind tour of Bologna, Venezia (Venice) and Padova (Padua).  We only had internet connections for about an hour in Venice which I used to get the word out about our BIG win over the Bologna Doves so we have a lot of catching up to do.  I will post up the weekend's events in three separate blog posts done city by city.

So let's start at the beginning, Bologna.  Ancient, people first inhabited Bologna in the 6th Century BC.  This was my second trip, Laurie's first, to this beautiful city that European travel guru Rick Steves does not mention in any of his books.  As a result there are not as many tourists in this picturesque city and you get a little less frenetic pace which I really enjoy there.  

Bologna's boasts of a large college student population which gives the city a certain vibrance adding to the experience.  The students have traditionally been very politically active on the left wing side of the spetrum, even having to stare down Italian Army tanks in 1977 attempting to quell demonstrations.

The fact that Bologna is considered to be Italy's culinary capital could possibly be the reason why I like it so much.

Bologna is nicknamed "La Rossa", the red. . .

. . . Some say because of the colorful buildings like the ones found
in this arcade. . .

. . . Some say because of the leftish (sinistra) leaning political spirit found here. . .

. . . Some say because of Bologna is the hub of Italy's Communist Party. . .

Whatever the reason, we both love "La Rossa".

One cappuccino and all is right in the world for Laurie.

On Game Day, Saturday, we had to wake up at 4:00 a.m. in order to catch the 6:40 team plane to Forlí about 25 miles east of Bologna.  We arrived there at 8:10 a.m., a full 12 hours and 20 minutes before our 8:30 p.m. kickoff.  At the airport we had a rented Fiat waiting for us to take on our journeys but we had to make a decision.  The team was going to get on the reliner bus, a Pullman in Italian, and drive to Parma about 50 miles west of Bologna to the hotel to let the players into their rooms to relax while we decided to go sightseeing in "La Rossa" and join the team at the stadium at 6:00 p.m.

One of our players, Max Maggiore, rode into town with us so he could visit his mother who lives in Bologna.  He works in the Italian Highway Patrol if you will.  A great guy, who has been playing football for nearly 20 years, mostly for teams in Bologna, so this was a homecoming game of sorts for him.  A couple of years ago he was involved in a very serious motorcycle accident that has left him with an 18 inch Titanium rod in his leg but he still has the yearn to play so joined us this season.

We asked a lot of questions about being in law enforcement in Italy but his best answer of the day came when we asked him about driving in Catania and he came back with the perfect one word answer, "ANARCHY"!

They have Catholic Churches in Bologna like this one, Chiesa di San Pietro

Views like this can be found all over
"La Rossa".

Fontana del Nettuno

Standing here since 1566, it's nudity caused quite a stir back in the day.  By today's standards he is not even sexy enough to qualify as an "Ad-of-the-Day" nominee.

Still a bit disturbing a year later

The base of Fontana del Nettuno has four buxom sirens like this one who represent the four known continents of that time.  They all have multiple water streams spouting out of their nipples. . . SCANDALOUS!

Two Tourists Acting Touristy

Political Activism on Piazza Maggiore

This large Piazza is the center of Bologna's old town center. 

These were used to tether a lot of horses once.

Did I mention that Bologna is the Culinary Capital of Italy?

Three Wheels of  Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese

The Trattoria Tamburini is a MUST stop for a quick but very solid lunch! 

Tamburini's has a GREAT selection of meat and cheese to take home as well.


We agree, Bologna IS an incredible place for those of us who live to eat. 

Bologna boasts of 40 kilometers of arcades. 

These are great for pedestrians during rain storms like the one that would hit at about 10:30 Saturday night and during the hot summer days to stay out of the penetrating rays of the Italian sun.  They are very pleasing to the eye under any weather condition as well.
La Sorbetteria Castiglione

Of my MANY trips to gelaterias all over Italy, this ranks as my Number 1 gelato experience.  I first thought this last year and this trip confirmed it for me.  Now before you start attacking my decision, remember that this is like the Miss America contest. Even the girl who come in last place is pretty darn awesome.

Today's La Sorbetteria gelato choices.

On the left is Laurie's petite cone of 'Karin' gelato while I opted for the incredibly sweet brioche stuffed with 'Michelangelo' gelato.  This is SO good for you!

As a side note, their brioche might be the best I've had in Italy too.

Karin? Michelangelo?

In case you are wondering, here is a list of the ingredients in their special cream gelatos.

Lost Italians

There is something weird about knowing EXACTLY where you are in any Italian city and seeing two people jabbering back and forth in perfect Italian while struggling with a map trying to figure out what went wrong.

Did I mention the 40 kilometers of arcades?

Piazza Maggiore

After lunch and dolce, we strolled back to the piazza to enjoy the street scene and people watch. . .

Kids in any country love to chase pigeons. . .

. . . or high five them!

Part of the façade from Piazza Maggiore's Basilica di San Petronio

Can any city in Italy ever have too many vegetable stands?

This Elephant "Good Luck Purse" can be yours for only 1,012 Euros!

1,012 Euros is such a nice round number, that's about $1,350 for those of you keeping score at home.  No, we were not that desperate for a win although Laurie did buy a nice, reasonbly priced "1a Classe" brand bag in this same store.   

Bologna's La Due Torri

These two leaning towers are Bologna landmarks. The taller one, Torre degli Asinelli was built completed in 1119, is about 320 feet tall and leans at 1.3 meters off vertical.

The shorter Torre Garisenda tilts at a very dangerous 3.2 meters and is only about 157 feet tall after having had the top half removed due to fear of its potential collapse.

At one time Bologna had 180 towers, built by wealthy families trying to leave their mark on the city but time and gravity have reduced that number to only 15 towers today.

The Zamboni Machine may be the greatest invention of the 20th Century!

The Perfect Car?

Bologna IS a city of colors.

Basilica di San Domenico

This sarcophagus houses the remains of St. Dominic who was the founder of the Dominican Order.  It was sculpted by Michelangelo when he was 19 years old!  No wonder they named that great gelato after him.

The Cappella di San Domenico

This is a small side chapel in this huge Basilica.

The Basilica's Choir area is a wood lovers dream.

See what I mean.

GREAT Wood Work is everywhere!

You would NEVER see this in Catania.

First, a street with not one double parked car.

Second, a bike lane.

Third, every parked car respecting the bike lane.

How is this possible?  ANARCHY!!!  

Bologna has wonderful, restful parks.

Did I mention that Bologna has 40 kilometers of arcades?

1 comment:

DPLassen said...

I do love Bologna, and I'm glad more tourists don't know about it.
I'd ask if you had an extra gelato for me at La Sorbetta, but I suspect you didn't need the encouragement. (You still need to try the chocolate sometime.)