Yes, we did it! Climbed the Torre degli Asinelli. Over 320 feet high, 498 steps, up, up, up... Finally you are rewarded with great views all over Bologna. It was really fun and challenging and worth it. (Susan, if you are reading, I thought of you) We did it first thing in the morning so it wouldn't be too hot but the walls are so thick it seems the temperature probably doesn't change much each day. The tower is the taller of the 2 towers which seem to symbolize Bologna, built in the 12th century when the town was dominated by many towers.
You enter here:
to go all the way up to the top:
I didn't get any really nice photos because it was a pretty smoggy day. They say when it's clear you can see all the way to the Alps and to the Adriatic.
Here is a shot looking down to the shorter tower:
After we came down my legs were really shaking for a while so we walked it off heading to the huge Basilica San Petronio in Piazza Maggiore. Lots of fascinating stuff in there--including an astrological calender/clock based on light coming through the
ceiling. It was because of this clock that we have leap year--this is really making a long story short. We actually ran into Marcia and David there and sat a visited for a while.
Then we went across the piazza to the Sala Borsa--an art deco palace which houses the public library. Walking over there I was noticing that the old (from the 1700's) clock has the right time, still keeps the time:
Inside the library is super modern with a wonderful kids section. There is also, in the lobby, a glass floor so you can see through to the ruins below.
From there we went on a shopping trip for lunch, through the market streets. We got way too much stuff-- I loved the vegetable torta--like a tall quiche with lots of veggies and parmigiano cheese. We also got a "spring salad", a farro salad, a few slices of the coveted "culatello di Zibello" (a type of prosciutto), two little pieces of chicken breast rolled in prosciutto and roasted (YUM!), spinach, bread and some salami. Some we got at Tamburini and some at another place. We had fun talking to the woman in the bakery from the day before, too.
After our sumptuous picnic Ken did some work and I watched the first World Cup game. Gotta love watching the games in Italy!
Biagi was our restaurant choice for dinner--we took a cab there with Marcia and David. As soon as we sat down they brought us 3 bowls--one with panzanella (tomato, basil and bread salad) one with a chicken salad and one with warm chick peas with rosemary and olive oil. I had a plate of perfect cheese and oritica (stinging nettle--yes you can eat it) torteloni with just enough butter and one lovely sage leaf. Ken and David had the the tagliatelle with ragu. Marcia and I shared and artichoke salad to follow. We drank a local white bubbly wine called Pignoletto and it was perfect. We shared 2 desserts--a chocolate budino, like a terrine and a rice cake that was soaked with Grappa?. We loved sitting there talking with Marcia and David-- I also drank a grappa and I feel it this morning--just a little yuck. I was glad that we walked home. It was after midnight!!! And there were many bars, restaurant/cafes still open and full of people.
We are off to an adventure in Florence today and will not have internet.
Will write again when we are home, in Venice, that is.
One parting shot from Bologna: