The helpful staff at Hotel Porta San Mamolo stored my bags, and I checked out and took off on a beautiful, warm, late Sunday morning. I took a different route exploring streets and neighborhoods that were new to me. My first stop was Piazza San Domenico, and the adjoining piazza. I decided to take a peek before mass started.
San Domenico is the headquarters of the Dominican order, built between 1219-1243, and named after Saint Dominic. It contains the organ that Mozart studied on when he came to Bologna. I sat in the Chapel of the Rosary, and lit a candle for my mom.
Here is the beautiful frescoed ceiling:
Outside the church, in the piazza, are several monuments: a column with Saint Dominic, a column of the Madonna of the rosary, commemorating the end of the epidemic of plague, and a large raised tomb of Rolandino.
I continued walking to Via Castiglione and then took Via Cartoleria to Via Santo Stefano, ending at the Piazza San Stefano.
It was a busy Sunday in the piazza, and time for a glass of prosecco.
Perception is everything, isn't it?
I read, journaled, and chatted with a couple from Amsterdam. By 2p.m., I was hungry, and I decided pranzo would be my one meal of the day. I walked back to Drogheria della Rosa.
When I walked up to the door, about 20 people were seated outside the front of the restaurant. All tables were full. I asked for a table for uno. Emanuele, said he couldn't possibly seat me. I believed him, but asked "Perche no?", as I thought there was room inside. He laughed, and asked several people to move over and brought out another table and two chairs, squeezing me in (literally)! He poured me prosecco, and the waitress brought bread and a plate of antipasti: mortadella, culatello, and mozarella!
Since I was practically in their laps, I began speaking with the couple on my left, Roberto and Rosalia, a teacher and her husband from the Veneto. Throughout our meal, we chatted, and planned to get together when Brad and I visit the area in September. We exchanged emails and phone numbers. They were truly delightful!
Che buona fortuna!
Meanwhile, our host, Emanuel, was quite a character! He continued to pour himself and me, prosecco, even though I had just ordered a glass of wine. He told stories of his visit from "my governor", and brought out photos and a thank you from Arnold. He talked about Danny Divito's visit, and about all the music that was playing. Soon he had everyone singing. He asked why I was studying Italian, when I already spoke "so well". HA! He talked about his home in Matera, and was surprised I had visited there, then told EVERYONE we were "neighbors" as my mom's family was from Puglia. Let's just say, he was a lot of fun!
But back to the food! It made my "Top 10" list of Italy restaurants! My primi piatto was tortelli, stuffed with stracchino and squacquerone cheeses, then topped with a sauce of fiori di zucca (zucchini blossoms). Oh my! I was trying not to make loud groaning ecstasy noises or lick my empty plate!
Next came a filetto with balsamico, perfectly roasted potatoes, and slightly sauteed spinach. This is hands down, the best steak I have EVER had in Italy.
I passed on the limoncello or grappa, as well as dolci. Yes, I'll be back!!!
Here are my new amici with Emanuel on the far left of the photo.
I returned to the hotel to meet the apartment owner at 5:00, but more on that later...