Monday, March 14, 2011

Bologna: Romeo and Juliet

Ever since stepping foot in this city, I promised to absolutely write about my experience here.
My guidebook mentioned Bologna as a "city with medieval charm and a gastronomical capital of Italy", but did not seem too keen on spending more than a day here. So, we'd booked a one night here, as it's on the way between Milan and Florence anyways. And what a plesant surprise it was! Bologna is truly a hidden gem. From the moment we checked into our historic hotel (Il Guercino, which I highly recommend), I felt like we traveled back a few hundred years to the times when Shakespeare was writing his great works. We found cute courtyards, amazing little stores and pleasant personal encounters;  you feel welcome and relaxed everywhere you go. I regretted spending 2 nights in Milan prior to that and not taking the train to Bologna that same night. What a difference a smaller city makes!

As soon as we stepped into the "inner city", armed with delicious fried sweet pastries drenched in honey, I literally felt the history in everything: buildings, walls, churches, main piazza. Despite being there for less than a day, we managed to walk most of the old town part of the city, climb the observatory tower (3 euros only, don't pass it up!), but... we did not find a suitable restaurant! Despite being labelled a gastronomical capital, an inviting, cozy restaurant with a good menu is difficult to find. I usually try to avoid obviously "tourist traps" and between that and endless pizzerias, there was really nothing else. It's a good thing we experimented and went into a deli, picked out some cheese (mostly talking in hand gestures) and porchetta (this roasted pork thing with herbs-it's to die for!). So, at the end of the night, as we finally found our way back to the hotel, picking up a few pastries, fresh bread and this delicious sparkling red wine (which I haven't been able to find since!) on the way, we've decided to settle for a dinner in the room quite, which mind you, turned out to be quite an array of delicacies!

Everything about Bologna impressed me: the old way of life, the attention to detail, evident in most things, the Italian authenticity...I highly recommend it a stop over with many things for any tourist to explore, whether you're staying for a day or getting lost in the culture for a few...

A random colorful street
The Royal Feast!

No comments:

Post a Comment