Me to Bruce – this encapsulates our travels perfectly:
We’re in Bologna, and I have to say – this is the best so far. I LOVE this city. Bruce found us a wonderful airbnb apartment with vast ancient doors, marble floors, beautifully laid out bedrooms, kitchen stocked with fruit, milk, salami. A long hike from the train but close to the centre of town. Just wonderful.
We met our hostess and got settled, BK had a quick nap, and then at about 3 we set out to explore. The weather went in and out – sunny, then drizzling, then cold, then sun again – but it’s Sunday afternoon in Italy, which means everyone is out for la passagiata – strolling about to be seen and to see. The entire centre of the city is closed to cars; the cobbled streets, thick with people sauntering, are right out of the middle ages, one glorious ancient building after another, all ocre red or deep yellow, and a million arcades – gallerias, with columns, apparently constructed so that the statue of Mary would never get wet during religious parades.
We went to the Piazza Maggiore, the central plaza, where the Lions Club had a drive to collect glasses for the poor – hundreds of glasses laid out on the ground – and a cellist was playing “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. It was magical. We strolled for hours – found the local market where people had set up old-fashioned games out of wood for people and kids to play; we sat in the rain in a park, went into a church to see an extraordinary art work, life sized statues carved out of wood of Mary and others reacting to the death of Christ. We dropped into the Apple store because I needed a certain kind of cord – surreal, all sleek aluminum, with the 14th century right outside the door.
And then we sat in a chic food market for a bite to eat and a glass or two of wine – for me – and tea, for Bruce. I had eggplant parmigiana, one of my faves, which was sublime. There were street performers and musicians and a rich lively street life, all with the background of the medieval buildings in yellow and ocre. Stunning, all of it.