48 Hours in Bologna

The next stop on the Road Trip was thoroughly Italian. We stayed in a really lovely B&B, just a few blocks from all the tourist sites, with an in-room air conditioner, for much less than the awful German place in Bolzano. B&Bs rule!

It was good and hot while we were there, but that didn’t stop us from immediately climbing the tallest tower in the city. (My husband’s travel rule is that he gets to make me climb one tower every day.) A sturdy-yet-scary spiral of nearly 500 antique wooden steps led to the top of the Torre degli Asinelli, one of these twin 12th-century towers that stand guard over Bologna.

We climbed up the tower at the back.
Torre Asinelli at the back, Torre Garisenda at the front.

There used to be up to 180 of these towers in the city, as nobles and merchants built them to keep an eye on each other. Most have been torn down: as you can see in the photo, they tend to lean over quite a bit after a while! Less than twenty remain.

Made it, and happy because I'm in Italy!
Made it, and happy because I’m in Italy!
Great view from the top.
Great view from the top.

Bologna is known as a great food and wine destination. It sure is. We had two excellent meals there, including this lovely tortelli al burro (which was just the first course!) at an off-the-beaten-path restaurant recommended by the owner of the B&B.

Pasta with butter and sage.
Spinach pasta with butter and sage.

Great food was stacked in shop windows everywhere.

Piles and piles of fresh pasta.
Piles and piles of fresh pasta.
Cheese, please!
Cheese, please!
Mouthwatering fruit pies.
Mouthwatering fruit pies.

On a healthier note, there were also fruit and vegetables stands everywhere, displaying the upmarket versions of the stuff that Italy ships to Poland 🙂

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A street at mid-day.
A colorful Bologna street at mid-day.
Ceramics for sale: pretty, but expensive!
Ceramics for sale: pretty, but so expensive!

It wasn’t all about eating and drooling over food, though. We explored quite a bit and visited several churches and one museum along the way. Unfortunately, my good camera is broken, so I was limited to iPhone photos throughout this trip. I couldn’t get any good shots at night or in indoor low light. However, it was kind of liberating, in a way.

The most interesting church was definitely the Basilica San Stefano. This complex of several churches and chapels was started in the 5th century by Saint Petronius. It’s labyrinthine and pretty weird!

San Stefano.
In the courtyard of San Stefano.
I was especially impressed by these choir stalls, which are masterpieces of wood inlay.
I was especially impressed by these choir stalls, which are masterpieces of wood inlay.
Every stall has a different, complex scene inlaid in the back.
Every stall has a different, complex scene inlaid in the back. Amazing work.
Another view, from the cloister.
Another view, from under the arcade.

My own rule for traveling in Italy in summer is that I get gelato every afternoon. Keeps the blood sugar from plummeting, you know. I really needed this one!

bologna-15
Stracciatella forever, baby.

 

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