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Report 1104: Perfect Piemonte and Bella Bologna: A Succulent Journey for the Senses and Soul

By Palma from California, Fall 2006

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Page 11 of 18: Ferrara, Shopping, and Itchy Insect Bites

photo by Palma

Caffe on Piazza Maggiore

We slept well (missing Diana’s duvees and fluffy bath sheets) and had a light breakfast in the sunny breakfast room, before setting out for a daytrip to Ferrara. On the way there, we took the “slow way,” country roads that went by farms, and through tiny hamlets. We arrived around 10:30, parked, and walked the main areas of centro storico. We saw the Duomo, main piazza and the huge castle, with a real moat and drawbridge. Soon, my radar found the main shopping areas.

One hope I have had when visiting different cities in Italy, has always been to have one of the stunning outfits I've seen in the windows of the Louisa Spagnoli stores. They are in most large cities, and do a particularly nice job of dressing their window mannequins in their lovely fashions. On this trip, we had seen stores in Torino (closed on a Sunday), and two we had walked by in Bologna. I walked in and tried on a sweater I had drooled over in the window in Torino. A soft teal color, with low cowl neck, and same fabric flower on the collar. I tried it on, and thought how lovely it will be for the holidays with my black velvet pants. Brad again said, “Oh, you HAVE to get that!” What a keeper (the husband and the sweater)!

I wandered through the store, and tried on a lovely pumpkin-colored, knit cardigan jacket with a zipper down the front, and rust topstitching…very smart looking! Of course, the beautiful, young salesperson brought me the matching skirt, in my size. Now it is either a sweater-jacket, or a gorgeous suit! It is also the exact color of my Furla purse from Lucca.

We made two more stops. One was to a farmacia to find something to help me tolerate the itching of the multiple bug bites I had on my arms and legs. They were driving me insane. I had a couple on each leg, a big one on my foot, one on my neck and one on the opposite shoulder. There were several on each forearm. They began itching a couple of days ago, before we left Piemonte, but now were at their most intolerable. I explained to the druggist what I needed, and showed her my bites. She didn’t understand my attempts at “benedryl” or “calamine,” but sold me a topical cream in a tube.

Our second stop was a caffe for a latte, a map, and a place to slather the stuff all over my itchy places. We then drove to lunch at “Trattoria Il Testamente di Porco” (got to love the name!). I had tagliatelle con sugo di maiale, and grilled cambazzola cheese. Brad had gnocchi and grilled pork with French-fries. Lunch with vino was 30 Euro.

We returned to Bologna on the autostrada, took an hour nap, and slathered on more bug cream. It wasn’t working. By 6 p.m., we were back in Piazza Maggiore, at a different caffe for vino and coffee. (I must caffeinate after naps, just like morning.) We watched people for an hour, wandered through a few shops, then walked to dinner at Restaurant Alice.

We began with risotto con porcini for Brad and a light and glorious pumpkin tortolloni with butter and sage for me. Brad had grilled veal with vegetables, and I had beef with porcini. We finished a bottle of vino, and two cappucini, and decided to walk a while before having gelato. The weather has been fabulous during our whole trip. Evenings were balmy and around 70 F.

We walked to "Gelato di Giani", around the corner from our hotel: crema and Argentina (toffee) for me, and the usual cioccolato and caffe for Brad. I had a quick SlowTalk fix on our laptop, as the hotel had wifi, and was in bed by 12:30.

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