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High, high hopes for Bologna

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I mentioned in a recent post that I plan to visit Padua when I next travel to Italy in June. (In fact, I'm now leaning towards spending a few nights in Padua instead of a mere day trip. TBD)

But one element of my trip of which I'm certain is my stay in Bologna for a week. I don't yet know a great deal about Bologna, but I've heard so many good things about the city. My interest has also been piqued by some wonderful photos, especially on Girasoli's blog Shave Ice and Gelato (http://www.slowtrav.com/blog/girasoli/) It seems there are many beautiful sights and tastes there.

I had actually planned an entire trip to the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy for last September, but my love for Umbria overturned the original plans. So this year, I'll try again!

Among the things I'd like to see are the medieval Towers of Bologna (shown above.) Wikipedia suggests that at one time, Bologna may have boasted as many as 180 towers, adding that these must have been "quite onerous" to construct. (Now THAT's an understatement!)

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Less picturesque is the interior of the towers, and these wooden stairs inside the The Asinelli Tower look less than comforting for a visitor intent on reaching the top. Still, I would like to climb one of Bologna's towers and get a good look at the city's red rooftops and perhaps this, the circular Santuario di San Luca ( Shrine of St. Luke) which stands guard over the city.

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I have read that the shrine, which is located on top of Guardia hill, is one of Bologna's best-known symbols.(Thanks for this photo from Mary Jane Cryan of Elegantetruria.) I've also read about the four-kilometre walk from the city centre up to the shrine, passing through the 666 vaults of an arcade along the route. I'm really looking forward to this walk, and hoping that these arcades will provide some shelter from the June heat!

Comments (18)

Amy:

I really loved Bologna. There are some really lovely, "real" neighborhoods, great food (you must eat at Osteria 15), good museums, and great train connections. My three days there wasn't nearly enough. And go to Ravenna while you're in the "neighborhood"!

Trip planning is so much fun (even when it's vicarious!).

I loved Girasoli's post about the trek to San Luca. That's a walk I'd like to take too. And I didn't realize you are going in June (not that far away!).

Barb Cabot:

What a nice trip to look forward to. Sounds like fun.

Anne:

I looked at Padua last October, but decided to save it for another trip, same with Bologna. So I really look forward to watching your plans unfold!! As Annie says, even vicarious trip planning is fun! I too think that walk sounds fabulous. I first read of it in a novel (alas, can't recall which one.)

Your trip is really starting to take on a life of its own - it sounds like a wonderful adventure!

Oh the fun of planning!

I have not made to Bologna yet, but I would love to one day.

Mindy :

I'm really looking forward to spending 6 days in Bologna in early May with Colleenk.
We'll visit Parma and Modena too, can't wait! I hope I can be of help to you upon my return!
Mindy

Trip planning.
My favorite pastime!
I really like the photo of the towers...didn't know they existed!

I need to post some more about Bologna. There is soooo much to see there! I had a bunch of daytrips planned but ended up canceling a couple because I wanted to spend the time in Bologna instead. Chiocciola has lots of info and Palma has also written a lot about Bologna on her blog.

Osteria 15 is one street away from the Porta San Mamalo hotel. My one big tip is to take the bus to the starting spot of the trek up to San Luca.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Sandra, Bologna sounds like a really interesting town to visit. The view from one of those tall towers must be so beautiful.

Looks like you have an awesome trip planned so far and I can't wait to hear more about your plans. Thanks so much for sharing them with us.

Eden:

How fun to plan another trip!

Bologna is great! The towers are a must, and so is San Luca - I know you are an exercise buff so it will give you your workout while you sightseeing! One of the coolest things about Bologna is the food shops in the center, they are awesome. And Piazza Santo Stefano. And everything! When are you going, BTW?

Sorry, I realize now that it is in June!

sandrac:

Amy, thanks for the suggestion of Osteria 15 -- I haven't yet begun to compile a restaurants list (and perhaps my own google map!) so your recommendation will get me started. And Ravenna is definitely on my must-see list!

Annie, Barb, Candi, Eden -- June isn't really that far away (altho it feels that way) I certainly can't complain about not having enough time to plan.

Anne, I wonder if the novel you read was The Broker? It's set in Bologna, I read it a couple of years ago and I think I'll get it out again.

Mindy, I'm so excited for you, your food tour sounds wonderful. I will definitely be pestering you for lots of ideas and suggestions!

Jerry, I'm sure it will be fun. The hard part will be keeping the luggage light enough to lift, with all the food products I want to buy. (Maybe I could get a wheel of parmigiana-reggiana shipped home?)

Brenda, Kathy, don't the towers look intriguing? I definitely plan to climb at least one, and I'm sure Girasoli (who really loves towers) will have some good advice on that.

Chiocciola, I'm hoping to get lots of exercise to offset the apparently fantastic food in Bologna! I think I've read that you lived there for a time, so any advice would be much appreciated. I'm considering taking a half-day food market tour (altho they sound a bit pricey at about 100 euro) Would you recommend that?

Girasoli, if you get a chance to post more about Bologna, I'd be so interested. I know you've enjoyed your time there (and thanks again for the tip about Hotel PSM, they've been great to deal with!)


I visited Bologna for a day in 2001 and it left me wanting more. I don't know what in the world I was thinking, making a day trip to this amazing city. I hope to return soon.

I don't do towers but would love to do the the trek to San Luca. Looking forward to reading more on your next Italian adventure.

Palma:

Oh you will love the market, the food, the churches, the coffee, the piazza... oh you will love it all!

Hmm, not sure what exactly the food market tour would add to the experience - I am sure it would be interesting but it is also nice to just walk around and take it all in! Taste some things, buy some things. Do you have a link to a website for the tour?

sandrac:

Thanks, Palma -- I'll be re-reading your trip reports for suggestions!

Chiocciola, I had been looking at food tours through http://www.cookitaly.com/
Colleenk on Slow Travel has taken a market tour with them and raved about it. However, as you point out, as interesting as such a tour might be, there is a lot to be said for just strolling and tasting independently!

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