Monday, 7 July 2014


We arrived in Bologna yesterday afternoon and spent our first hours here reminiscing about the the amazing experience we had on the Amalfi coast.  Most of today was spent acquainting ourselves with the city.  The location of Bologna suits our needs very well, as it provides easy access to places we will be visiting for the remainder of our trip.  Also, not being a major tourist city, the hotel prices are very reasonable, so it makes sense to use the hotel as a home base, allowing us to pack overnight bags if we wish to stay in other locations in Northern Italy. That's the plan for our upcoming stays in Monterosso,  Cinque Terre and Greve, Chianti.

After our spectacular experience on the Amalfi coast, city life has been a bit of an adjustment...totally expected and all part of the experience as we see it, so not a let down in that way, but the Amalfi...ah, the Amalfi!!!

We departed Casa Angelina for Naples by taxi (yep, the ride in the Mercedes Benz, beat the Circumvezuviano hands down!)  The train stopped briefly in Rome and Florence before arriving in Bologna.  The stop in Rome brought back fond memories of the time we had spent there only a week before.  We have already noted that although only a few hours away from Rome by Frecciarossa, Bologna and Rome are completely different cities. Bologna has a much quieter aura and seems to be less down to earth than Rome. The main roads are wider, shops in many areas close daily from 12:30 to 3:30 and then remain open until 7:30; on Thursdays, they close at 1:00 p.m. for the day. So the traditional siesta schedule is alive and well Bologna's city centre. We didn't find this to be the case in the places we visited in Rome. Also, Bologna's town centre is closed to traffic on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and all weekend throughout the year, which makes it a dream for pedestrians! We are quite taken with the terrazzo and marble sidewalks that are lined by wonderful shops and covered by archways.  Great city for shopping, by the way.

Typical sidewalk in downtown Bologna
We have read that Bologna is the gastronomical centre of Northern Italy. So far the food has been amazing. Not that we've had a bad meal in any part of Italy, but as far as pasta, cheese and salumi go, Bologna has it in spades.  Yes, it's where pasta Bolognese was invented! Our hotel is not far from Eataly, a concept that had it's inception in Bologna. It's kind of like a mini marketplace where one can sit and eat a meal or simply have a coffee or glass of wine or purchase specialty foods such as artisan breads, jarred olives, wines, cold cuts and more.  Of course the Parma prosciutto and mortadella is excellent and can be found in abundance. Eataly is in the centre of the greater Mercato where one can purchase fresh produce. Today we bought figs, apricots and peaches that were as tasty as they looked.

Shop in the market square just 10 minutes from our hotel

Antipastos and cheeses galore
Prosciutto anyone?
We've learned that in Bologna, you show a certain ignorance about food if you refer to spaghetti, rather the correct word is tagliatelli.  We were also advised by Palma, a tour agent who hails from California and frequent visitor to the area and this hotel in particular, that we must try the spinach lasagne with Bolognese sauce at Il Bagio, a restaurant just around the corner from our hotel.  Ah, why not? She says it's to die for :)

Off to Venice tomorrow and Florence on Wednesday. One down side to the city so far is that the train station in Bologna is humongous and not very efficient for reserving seats. Apparently with our pass, we can ride without reservations.  In fact, Friday, when we travel to Monterosso, we must travel on a regular train and cannot reserve seats even if we wanted to. Given the lineup, frustration and total waste of time to reserve seats for Venice and Florence, we might try riding without reservations on Thursday.  Not sure what we want to do that day yet. We'll see where our whims take us.


  1. I hope my comments don't appear twice. Anyway, your vivid descriptions of the Amalfi coast make me sure I want to go there next. Perhaps my ship will come in by then! Enjoy yr time in Florence, Venice and Monterossa - that was my fav of the 5. Can't wait to see your pics

  2. That lasagna sounds amazing. Reading these is like porn - only better. Perhaps next y could precisely describe the wine and I could live - and feed and drink - vicariously.