We left our apartment in Venice, and with Shannon toting one large bag, took the vaparetto to Piazelle Roma to pick up our rental car. (Those GrapeHops friends go above and beyond!) We left Venice around 10:30 and had an easy drive to Bologna. By noon we were checked into our home for the next 13 days, Hotel Porta San Mamolo, and recieved a very warm welcome from their familiar staff.
We hit the streets running! It was Saturday, and our guests would officially begin their Palmabella's Italy tour on Tuesday, but four of our eight were arriving a day or two early, and we had a few pre-group errands to run. We picked up a few items for our Welcome Bags, then had a great lunch at Tambourini. After last year's language class adventure, I felt I was right back at home in Bologna!
We just happened to go by a Furla shop, so I stopped for my first purchase. I also needed a white purse for the next three weeks, and found one in minutes on Via D'Azeglio. It must be nap time!
We showered and got ready for our belated "birthday dinner". First, drinks in a tiny bar around the corner. At 8:00, we arrived at Diana's for dinner. We were served a plate of their beautiful breads, including Cresentina, a foccacia with pancetta in the dough.
Brad ordered penne with salmon, and I had a delicious zucchini risotto:
We shared a veal dish and some grilled veggies and drank a bottle of house Trebbiano.
We were pleased with our meal and the food was good, but not GREAT. But we were SO happy to be in Bologna after a year of planning for our upcoming group! It was very much a celebration of not only our birthdays, but being together in Italy again!
After dinner, we stopped for a coffee and grappa in Piazza Maggiore. There was a free concert we enjoyed til very late, but time stands still in that vibrant piazza. There is always something to see and do in bella Bologna!