Friday, May 2, 2014
Full of Bologna
Bologna is the best city in Italy for food and
has the least number of tourists.
With its medieval beauty, it has it all.~ Mario Batali
I've made a mistake every time we've gone to Italy. The first few times, I avoided Bologna because I thought it had not much to offer. Last year, we spent five days there only because the flight home from Bologna was more affordable and more convenient, and those five days proved to me that I was very wrong about that charming city.
Everyone I know (and many I don't) who has gone there raves about the food in Bologna. I have to agree that Bolognese food is good, but I prefer Abruzzese food. There are some subtle differences in sauces and pastas and some big differences in the offerings. I guess what I'm saying is that the food was not my reason for liking Bologna.
What it comes down to is that Bologna does, indeed, have a simple beauty that we didn't find in other large cities. Yes, Rome, Florence, Venice, Turin, and Milan are beautiful cities. They remind me of a rich great-aunt whom one sees every five years. She dresses in white lace and black velvet, drips in gold, exudes lilac or old rose from every pore, and proffers her cheek for a peck so we don't smudge her lipstick.
Bologna, though, is more the loving grandmother who wears a plain cotton dress and apron, smells of Ivory soap, envelopes us in her arms each time she sees us, and smears lipstick on our cheeks when she kisses us. She is down-to-earth. Warm. Inviting.
I'm thinking about spending time in Bologna in late summer or fall. I was comfortable there, and I know the guy who owns the apartment where we stayed last year. Because Bologna has a good central location, I can easily take the train to Florence, Venice, Milan, and many other cities for a day. I know where the markets are, where the coffee shops are, where the library is, where the great gelato is, where the terriers play. (The last two are, of course, the most important.)
I'll see... I'm still considering everything at this point.