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May 9, 2013

Bella Bologna!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Darren Hackett @ 2:07 pm

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It is spring so a visit to Bologna was on the cards.  Bologna is not in Tuscany it is over the Appenines in the Emilia-Romagna region.  However, it is only 70 miles from Casa Verde and well worth the trip.  Florence may be the star attraction and must-see hereabouts and, of course, we must all go and see the art and sights of that great city.  For me Bologna is a more beautiful city overall and bustling, not with thousands of tourists, but with local Bolognese and thousands of students…it is the Oxford of Italy.

I drove the car from Vellano through the hills above CasaVerde into the higher Appenines, winding and twisting through many mountain villages and onto the Passa  di Porrettana to Porretta Terme.  Here you are already in Emilia but still high up at a small, but smart spa town.  I took a coffee and then caught the train for an hour from Porretta to Bologna.  A pleasant journey over clear rushing rivers and through numerous tunnels; then arriving at Bologna Centrale railway station.  It is then a pleasant walk into the historical heart of the city.

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What is Bologna famous for?  Well it is the site of the world’s oldest university (1088); and there is an interesting set of old university buildings, especially the fantastically painted ceilings of the bibliotecca.  It is the birthplace of  Guiglielmo Marconi (1874 – 1937), the pioneer of wireless technology (my isn’t he responsible for a lot!).  It is famous for food….it is the food capital of Italy, mainly because so much is grown and harvested on the fertile plains of the region.  The lovely old streets of the city are full of interesting restaurants and bistrots, where you can eat, for example, the famous meat ragu sauce served with macaroni, or taglitelli, or lasagne……..but NEVER with spaghetti (you will find it hard to get Spaghetti Bolognese in Bologna!).  Bologna is one of the wealthiest cities in Italy because of food and technology industries; but it is not an expensive place to visit; only if you want to shop in the designer stores in Galleria Cavour.

I love the old streets here with so many pretty squares to sit in, under the shade of the trees.  Otherwise dramatic medieval squares like the one pictured above called San Stefano, and Piazza Maggiore.  The covered porticoes that line the streets make pleasant walking and shopping on hot or rainy days.

It is spring now and in full swing, the road and hills covered in the many shades of vivid green, the extra rain of the winter has enhanced the affair and we took this lovely photo down in an area called the Padule on the valley floor; a few weeks ago.

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