We have been pushing ourselves a bit, so really needed today as a down day, a time to slow our steps and see the town. Our daylight hours until now have been spread far afield, but today it was time to stay close by.
This of course means a bit less excitement, as well as things you have already seen in some of my other posts.
Our hotel is near the University of Bologna, which I have heard is the oldest university in the Western world. Walking out the door of the hotel, we headed up via Zamboni into the heart of the university. The streets around us were alive with students wearing wreaths of laurel leaves, cheered on by family and friends offering congratulations on their graduation. The scene was raucous, but we pressed on through the throng, passing bars and bookstores, stopping only briefly to buy sweatshirts, as the weather here has been chilly.
Our destination was the Poggi Palace Museum, where they have the Obstetrical Museum, displaying clay models wrought by Giovanni Antonio Galli to teach obstetrics in the mid-1700’s. I found this place a number of years ago, and it is remarkable. I walked D along the many shelves, pointing out the details that Galli was portraying; the things he got right, and even some he got wrong.
I have pictures from this museum in my office at work, but need some more (or better) photos, so this trip was more than just interest – it was a mission. Given that I was doing this a bit for myself, I’m glad D enjoyed it.
Back into the streets of the city, it was a day for markets. The mercato delle erbe, where they were selling 36 month cheese for much higher prices than we had just paid (for 55 month), so that made us feel good. Of course we were agape at the beauty of the vegetables here.
Then we went to lunch at Tamburini Market, where basically they have the best cafeteria food you have ever had. In fact, the roast pork here has haunted me since I first ate it many years ago. I made D have some so that it can haunt him as well.
A few after-lunch stops included the old anatomic theater, site of public dissections, as well as a stop at Santa Maria della Vita so D could see the outstanding pietà by Nicola dell’Arca, made entirely of terra cotta.
I also took D to see the seven churches of Santo Stefano. I’m confident they all have different names, but have no idea what they are.
What draws me here is the serenity of the space. Places sheltered within the city where we can sit and just *be.* Where there is time to introspect and absorb all that we have seen.
That really is what today was. A day for all of these things.
One thing I haven’t addressed this trip is the food – and I always seem to blog about food. Well, in short, the food here has been outrageous. Bologna is reported to have the best food in Italy, and we have had some spectacular meals. I’ve targeted restaurants featuring traditional Bolognese cuisine, and have no regrets about that decision.
I think one of us has had tortellini at every meal.
Then there is the tagliatelle al ragu.
The gnochetti alla zucca.
The lardo. Yes – I ate lard, and I would do it again. It melted like porky butter on the crostini, and was sublime.
I don’t have pictures of the bollito misto (mixed boiled meats) or arrosto misto (mixed roasted meats) we had at da Bertino, but the entire experience of this family-run institution just blew D’s socks off.
I do, however, have pictures of the Zampone di Modena I ate. Zampone is a pig’s trotter stuffed with sausage. Yes – I know it sounds scary, but most people really love it, although D wasn’t a fan.
So if you are wondering, yes we have eaten well. In fact, we have eaten beyond well. Exceptional meal has followed after exceptional meal, and this has truly been a gluttonous journey. But our time in Bologna is finally coming to its conclusion and tomorrow we head to Florence, where the food will pale by comparison, but the art will excel.