Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Meanderings: A Second Helping of Bologna

The night we spent in Bologna, Italy as part of a return to Seattle from Venice a few years ago wasn’t enough. 

The snippet of a taste we had – Roman ruins, great food and wine, architecture – was enough to draw us back this fall for a ‘full meal deal’ taste of this gourmand land known for its stuffed pastas and 'Bolognese' sauce. 

We’ve extended our ‘land-time’ prior to the cruise from Rome which allows a visit to Bologna. After successfully changing our frequent-flier mile airline seats, The Scout (that’s Joel) went to work on finding accommodations there.

An apartment named Cassiopea, in central Bologna, won out over the dozens of other options he perused.  Joel was taken with the more than 40 reviews singing its praises and I was sold when this photo came up as part of the information:

A flower trimmed deck for morning espresso and afternoon wine will sell me on a place every time.  We’ve booked this  little Italian ‘home away from home’ on a quiet side street with a view to the hills beyond town for four nights.

One of the previous guests wrote that the La Vecchia Scuola Bolognese cooking school is nearby and an afternoon lesson and tasting there shouldn’t be missed. Others wrote about places to visit and people watching in the piazza each night.  Will we have time to fit it all in?

The photos in this post are courtesy of the apartment owners/hosts, Anna Rita and Piero.  I’m not showing you all the apartment views yet, but those of you who know what animal lovers we are, will understand why the second photo --  after the one of the deck -- to catch my eye was this one:

Portraits with cats and dogs line the walls. We've learned through our email exchange since booking the apartment that these works are Anna Rita’s.  A quick visit to her web site shows she’s an artist who loves animals as much as we do.  If you want to see more of the art (or videos of her furry ones) just follow this link:

One of the best benefits of this type of rental is getting to know real people. On the flip side, renting any place – hotel or apartment – does requires a somewhat moderate leap of faith; you hope photos and reviews are truthful. In the case of Cassiopea the reviews not only sing praises of the place but of the people as well.

One guest proclaimed, “It was like staying with the most wonderful cousin you could ever have.” And in my mind that said a lot. I suspect that our stay in Cassiopea will only make us want another – bigger -- serving of Bologna the next time!

If You Go:

We found Cassiopea on  Vacation Rental By Owner where deposit and payment is accomplished using Pay Pal.  It is also listed on the French-based site, Homelidays, or on Perfect Places.  

Bologna is about 2.5 hours from Rome and a half hour from Florence by fast train. For more information visit the city's user-friendly website:  Bologna Welcome.

Map picture

Now that you know we’ll be in Bologna, do you have some recommendations for us?  What shouldn’t we miss while there?


  1. Oh I wish that I had ideas for you but I have never been--although I have always heard that it is a true "bijou" that is often over-looked. I will look forward to living vicariously through you both...

  2. We've continued our research and I think 'bijou' is the perfect description for this place. I think it is going to be a charmed stay.

  3. This looks gorgeous, Jackie. I would have been in the front of the line for the cooking class!

  4. I can see why you were sold with that morning view from the table. I agree that it is always a leap of faith but on the whole I think these things work out. I'll be interested to hear if a second visit lives up to your expectations. And I would definitely do that cooking school!

    1. Yes, the call of the cooking school is a strong one but then so is shopping in the old medievil market, the museums, . . .you know how difficult it is to choose when time is limited. And of course, I have to spend time contemplating life at that table each day!

  5. Bologna is delicious and beautiful! Next time, take a side trip to Parma...neither you, your stomach, nor your taste buds will regret it!

  6. Thanks for the Parma suggestion, Jeannie. We actually have two nights yet to commit to a place and Parma is tugging at our taste buds! Hope you'll continue visiting TravelnWrite - we appreciate your suggestions.

  7. When we were in Bologna we did a food tour with and it was great. Alessandro takes you out to see where they make Parmigiano Reggiano, Parma or Modena ham, a small family run authentic basalmic vinegar operation, and a nice winery. Very educational and very very tasty!

  8. Thanks so much for this tip. I am making note of this website and will see what we can do to meet Alessandro - if we do, I'll tell him you recommended him highly!


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