Time for a day trip. In settling down in Bologna I made a decision that rather than haul luggage continuously I would rather stay in one place and take day trips to surrounding towns. From Bologna I can easily reach Modena, Verona, and Ravenna.
Scheduling is an issue: tomorrow is Monday and I previously have learned that many museums are closed Monday. Ravenna’s UNESCO world heritage sights are open on Monday, so that seems the best choice. Also, it is supposed to rain tomorrow. Those sights are all indoor where it should be dry. Getting between them may be an issue though. Hmmm
So off I went to Modena. This is a town about food with a near twin, Reggio Emilia, which I have visited before. Only when I got to Modena did I remember a key aspect of my visit to Reggio Emilia – that visit, too, was on a Sunday and everything was closed.
I started by following the signs to the Centro. Unfortunately, they take you the long way (if at all). But I quickly found Bar Molinari, where I stopped in for an espresso (yay!) and continued on, my way guided by the sight of the lovely white bell tower.
The duomo is beautiful on the outside and in, on the outside being decorated by arcades. They are restoring the church, however, so the view was limited. Mistake number two (or not): trying to sightsee in a church on Sunday.
Yup, I walked into mass. To be more precise, the end of Latin mass. I stepped into a chilly, dark, old school basilica, the weight of its years bearing down, the light seemingly emanating from the mosaic in the apse, hearing words in Latin. I had to stay. This was right, the combination of prayer and sound and setting.
I stayed for the next mass as well, which was an Italian post-Vatican II mass, but it was still special. I couldn’t understand very well, but can say one thing for certain: American Catholics complain about kneeling, but they have it easy with their cushioned kneelers. The kneelers in this church were just cold hard wood, and downright uncomfortable.
I didn’t tour the church at this time, instead leaving with a plan to return later. Instead I went back out to see if anything was open. And I found a market! This was a pleasant distraction. There was little I needed but browsing the stalls was very enjoyable. The lemon and orange trees were tempting but probably not a good purchase. And I didn’t really want a cactus anyway.
But the cheese was spectacular. Aged in local caves, I wanted to buy some to bring home. If I wasn’t a week from departure perhaps I would have. Lunch was found here, as well, and this slice of focaccia with olives was just the thing I needed. That and a cannolo!
I was now well into the early afternoon and of the few things that were open, most had closed for siesta. In an attempt to escape the cold I sought shelter in an exhibit called “Flags of America” which wasn’t literally about flags, but rather about American photographers. It was really a well done exhibit (LOVE Diane Arbus) and a worthwhile way to pass siesta. Upon leaving, rain had started so I hurried to the bell tower – which doesn’t open until April *sigh*. Instead I visited the church museum and then returned to the church to explore a little. There was an event for children, but this didn’t feel so sacrilegious, so I took some photos and wandered through the sanctuary.
I visited some of the other churches in town and was ready to return to Bologna as evening was casting her first frigid tendrils into the streets.
On the train back to Bologna the phone rang. It was the Florence airport. They would forward the luggage to Bologna and it will be dropped off tomorrow. Hurray!
I was in the mood for a simpler dinner tonight, so found myself at the Ostera dell’ Orsa having tortellini in brodo and prosciutto with crostini and butter. Both were tasty and very comforting.
One last stop for the evening. Gelato. I had pistachio and coconut. Dad’s favorite combination. ‘Nuff said.