This is my last evening in Bologna. The bags are almost packed. The orange roses have lost their vibrant blush. Stan Getz for Lovers in playing on my netbook.
I’m about the cook my last supper (weak pun, I know, but being amidst so much sacred art, I couldn’t resist!) The last of the freshly made gnocci – verde and patata porcini – soft like little feather pillows, they’re the best I’ve ever eaten. Rapini sautéed in olive oil with red pepper and onion, finished with generous grating of parmeggiano. An arugula and mache salad with a Greek yogurt and balsamic dressing (my only condiments are olive oil, salt and pepper and balsamic vinegar so I have to be inventive), topped with those exquisitely flavoured pomodori. Gorgonzola dolce and half of an Italian pear. And the remains of the Sacher torta (popular given proximity and ties to Austria). Oh yes, and the half bottle of Insolia, a vino bianca from Sicily. I’m getting hungry so I’ll cook and eat now, and come back to tell you about my day.
Delicious…way, way better than the 28 Euro lunch I ate today in the historic Jewish ghetto section of the city, a risotto with mushrooms and a pretty good Trentino gerwurtztraminer.
I spent a quiet morning in my apartment, writing my post on my daytrips to Ravenna and Verona, working on my journal, reading up on Venice (my next destination). It was cool and sunny, everyone out and about anticipating spring. I walked down to I Due Torre, the two tower Bolognese landmark. I ate my first gelato in Italy…zabaglione (egg, cream and marsala) with a local specialty that was chocolatey, caramelly, and crunchy. Creamy, rich, a potential heart stopper.
Curious to visit new streets, I came to the museum of music which included medieval instruments and scores and the history of Italy’s greatest musicians and composers. Vivaldi, Verdi, Rossini…
Then to another church, Santa Maria dei Servi. Constantly, I’ve been struck with how the most simple, small and completely unassuming entrance gives way to an interior magnificence of colour, gilt, opulence and art. The temple of and for the collective soul?
Another palazzo cum gallery, and then to the aforementioned enoteca per pranza.
Along the way I’d purchased stamps at the tabaccheria, and came back to fetch the postcards from Ravenna for addressing while I sipped a tea at the bar next door. I’ve found that an afternoon café wreaks havoc with my already sensitive sleep.
Bologna, la città rossa (because of the red terracotta bricks used throughout for building), has been the perfect host, welcoming me to Italy. She is kind and gentle and easy to get to know. Authentic and unpretentious, with a beauty and elegance befitting her age and history.
Grazie mille. Ciao, ciao, bella.