The mist descended like a shroud over the old historic square, softening shadows and silhouettes cast from streetlights. We pulled our wraps a bit tighter and picked up our pace as we crossed Piazza Maggiore on that late November evening. It was rather empty and somewhat eerie; definitely atmospheric as we made our way to dinner.
Just a couple hours later, under clear skies, we sipped wine at a table to the side of the square. A fickle Italian winter's night, to be sure.
|Winter's night in Bologna, Italy|
Winter isn't a time recommended by guidebooks to visit Bologna, Italy. But when have we done exactly as was recommended by guidebooks? We were ready for a getaway and Italy was a two-hour flight from Athens. Covid contact tracing paperwork was completed and pre-travel testing was done. We were off!
|Bologna's Neptune's Fountain|
Looking back, we think early winter was a perfect time to visit because there were fewer tourists, easy access to restaurants, historic and cultural exhibits and hotel reservations were easy to obtain.
|Street scene on a November night in Bologna, Italy|
|The appetizers were free, with the two glasses of wine|
|Nighttime in Bologna was magical no matter the weather|
Our 10-day escapade began in Bologna, considered the culinary capital of Italy. We had a night in Verona and spent the remainder of our visit in Venice.
Bologna, a city of just under 400,000, is the capital and largest city in the Emilia-Romagna region. Parmesan cheese, Parma ham and balsamic vinegar are among the specialties from here.
|So much food and so little time. . .|
We gave ourselves three days in which to taste and tour this once-walled Medieval city that boasts the longest continuously operating university in the world. The University of Bologna opened in 1088. We could have stayed twice as long and still not seen and tasted all that this city has to offer. Our first morning's tour aboard a Hop-On, Hop-Off double-decker bus convinced us we'd never get to all the places we'd like to have spent more time.
The Scout is to be credited with picking a hotel that put us in a perfect location, footsteps from Piazzas Neptune and Maggiore. A hotel that was not only luxurious but also one with a bit of the remains of a Roman road running through its lower level. Breakfast was served in a dining room at that level and gave us a chance to view a bit of Roman history up-close and personal.
|Remains of a Roman road in the basement of the hotel|
Breakfast was included in the room rate - which is often the case in European hotels. This was a feast served in an elegant dining room. So much food that we didn't need to eat lunch.
|What a treat to drink coffee from a china cup at breakfast|
Note I said, didn't need to eat lunch but sometimes in this foodie town, one couldn't resist eating lunch. Even the tuna sandwich stacked with thick slides of cheese, tomatoes and lettuce, from a sidewalk cafe was a gourmet feast!
|Stacked tuna sandwich - couldn't be beat|
I was researching a magazine article about Bologna with a food focus, so we quite often found ourselves in delightful markets that offered some of the most tempting selections.
|So many taste temptations in the Quadrilatero market area|
And we sampled local wine, Sangiovese, and red blends from the Emilia-Romagna region. My favorite was a Pignoletto, a white wine from the area that came with just the slightest bit of bubbles.
|The Scout sips wine in the Quadrilatero|
The city, although considered the nation's culinary capital, is equally famous for its Medieval towers and porticos, the latter just recently nominated for UNESCO Heritage status. We love those ancient towers (after all, we live in The Mani region of Greece, also known for its towers.) In Bologna more than 100 towers once made up the cityscape; now just two dozen are left.
|UNESCO nominated porticos lace the old town|
One can't miss the town's two most famous, the Due Torre (Two Towers). The tallest, Asinelle at 97.2 meters, is open to the public and a climb of just under 500 steps gets you to the top. We passed on that. The shorter, Garisenda, is under renovation and is closed.
|Bologna's Due Torre|
We were so enjoying Bologna that we considered extending our stay and skipping Verona, but then we'd never been to Verona, so we packed our bags and headed to the train station for what turned out to be a great introduction to a city we hope to return to one day. It will be the topic of the next post.
This looks delightful and better with no crowds.ReplyDelete
I do think one thing Covid and the fear of Covid and the hurdles it has caused has had a positive effect on over-tourism. Although the tourism folks told me it was a busier November than they had ever had because people were so tired of not traveling and like us had just gotten out and done it.ReplyDelete
It's great that you went ahead with your Italian Escapade! I am drooling over all of the culinary delights and would love to get to Bologna someday. I am itching to get back to Europe! I'm hoping there will be a safe, post-omicron window in spring or summer.ReplyDelete
I've given up waiting for the 'post' window with anything to do with Corona, but I am hoping for safe windows with more and more being vaccinated and the world moving forward in this 'new normal'. Keeping my fingers crossed that you make it across the pond this year! xxDelete
Oh, how I love the cities of Italy! Although I've traveled through and around Bologna, I haven't been able to spend time there. A shame! How cool to have an old Roman road running through the basement of your hotel. I've enjoyed reading about your interesting and delicious escapade.ReplyDelete
I suspect you would love Bologna! Keep your reports of France coming as I love reading of your travels!Delete
A great beginning to your Italian escapade. I have not been yo Bologna but it certainly sounds delightful!ReplyDelete
It was! If you get a chance to visit one day, do it! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!Delete
It looks like it was a wonderful trip! The food looks so good... and a Roman road running through your hotel... wow!ReplyDelete
The history on this side of the Atlantic leaves us in awe - no matter which country we are visiting. Thanks much for stopping by!Delete
What a great visit you had there! Wonderful photos to remember your trip. Thank you for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2022/01/seen-on-blue-ridge-parkway.htmlReplyDelete
It was indeed! Thanks again for hosting the linkup!Delete
That sounds like a wonderful getaway! I LOVE traveling in the off season when tourism is low and places are not crowded.ReplyDelete
Bologna looks like a beautiful city and visiting in early winter was a good idea with ease.ReplyDelete
I am thinking that winter may be a perfect time to visit a usually busy tourist destination in summer. Travel without the crowds is perfect this time of year. Amazing to see the Roman Road in your hotel! So many taste temptations, and of course the old architecture. Perfect. Safe travels, enjoy your week, and thank you for visiting my blog this week.ReplyDelete