Instead of making a day trip to Verona, I chose to sleep in and “mozy” around Bologna today. (Yesterday I went to Ravenna, on the Adriatic coast, to see beautiful, ancient mosaics.) After a short yoga practice and simple breakfast of rice pudding with fresh fruit (I thought I’d bought vanilla yogurt!!!) and a café latte, I was intent to find the little shop I stumbled upon my first day that sold the work of local artisans, in particular “earthy,” hand-fired ceramic zodiac pendants. And I needed to overcome my reluctance to eat out alone. I now knew, first hand, this particular challenge of traveling solo as a woman.
While I was enjoying cooking with fresh market ingredients in my little kitchen, I knew to do justice to my experience in Bologna – famous for so much of what we consider la cucina italiana – mortadello, proscuitto, tortellini, tortelone, ragu, lasagna, formaggio parmigiano, aceto balsamico, vino sangiovese – I needed to savour from the hands of an expert chef. After a few wrong turns, I found my way to la Drogheria Della Rosa.
There, I was seated at a comfortable table for two, by the window. Given I was the only patron for a while, I was at ease taking in the ambiance enhanced by opera playing in the background…a “pinch me” moment…the stuff of dreams! Soon I began an exquisite journey of the palate into traditional Bolognese cuisine.
First, a light, fruity prosecco to prepare the palate. Then antipasti, a platter of salume – mortadella, proscuitto and salami – with bread. A primo of tagliatelle e ragu, and a secondo of steak with balsamic sauce, grilled potatoes and radicchio, and sautéed spinach…accompanied by a velvety sangiovese wine. The owner, Emanuelle, welcomed everyone with wine glass in hand, and held court from my table where we conversed in a broken italiano-inglese “Provare”…we try…
A couple of hours later I walked outside into the sunshine, una rosa gialla in my hand, Bolognese wine and food in my belly, and joy in my heart.
Soon enough, I found the art store, Artigian Arte, by one of the two famous towers. And too, an invitation to a free yoga class tonight literally steps down the street from my apartment.
Un giorno perfetto in Bologna.