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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 13 of 18: Ravenna: Glass Mosaics and Glass for Lunch

photo by Palma

Ravenna Mosaic

We rose early and had a quick breakfast before our daytrip to Ravenna. We arrived and were parked and sipping a cappuccino by 10:00. Since the Duomo is open all day, I said, “Let the shopping begin!” Brad just raised his eyebrows when we saw the Louisa Spagnoli sign. Here she goes again! He mumbled something about, “Didn’t you already do this?” Then he calmly walked in, and took a seat, knowing this might take a while. I think I also heard, “It’s YOUR money.”

I was again successful at finding several items. I bought two pair of corduroy slacks, with almost invisible zippers at the hem, one pair in a leafy, grassy green, and the other in rust. I bought a luscious thick tweedy cowl neck sweater in every shade of green, and finally a dressy brown top with bronze beading…lightweight and glitzy!

We visited the church at San Vitale, and thoroughly enjoyed the fascinating, intricate mosaics in the church and mausoleum. We took lots of photos. At a shop near the church, I bought a pin, earrings, and a couple of small mosaic pendants to bead necklaces from, when I return home. I marveled over the store where shelves of glass in every imaginable color were displayed, as well as the amazing assortment of colors of mosaic pieces in jars, sold by weight. Hmmm. I have experimented a little with glass mosaics, but thought, even Saint Brad has his limits!

We had quite an unexpected experience at lunch. We left the area by the church, returned to our car, and drove through Ravenna looking for a local restaurant that didn’t look like a tourist hangout. We chose Trattoria da Gallo. The restaurant was really lovely, with art deco touches, antiques, lots of whimsical things on the walls, and a unique “don’t-take-yourself-too-seriously” style. There was a beautiful garden patio, and the tables were set with white linens and fresh flowers.

We shared an antipasto called “Bigne al Formaggio fuso e tartufo” (a cheese-truffle fondue over egg-rich beignets. I had fiori di zucchine al mozzarella, and Brad had “piccoli calamari in lette di rucola e pomodorini.”

Everything was delicious. On Brad’s very last bite, he pulled a triangular, curved shard of glass out of his mouth. It was about 1½ inches on each side, and looked like a piece of a broken wine glass. The roof of his mouth was slightly nicked. We called the server over, who immediately ran into the kitchen and got the owner. He looked very upset, the color draining from his face. He removed the plate with the glass on it, and returned to the kitchen.

Brad was fine, but a little freaked out, wondering if he had swallowed any other small pieces. Our server returned with dessert menus, and a plate of cookies. Only I thought it was funny that she brought “Ossi di Morti" cookies (Bones of the Dead). We ordered coffee, while the owner had a conference in the hallway with his staff that I could see when I walked to the restroom. We waited, and finally asked our server for “Il conto.” The owner returned to our table, apologizing profusely in Italian. He kept saying, “I am so sorry for what happened. I don’t know how this happened. I am so sorry it happened.” He started to walk away, but we weren’t sure if there would be any payment. I asked him again about il conto. He said, “Oh no, there is no charge for the meal! It is the least we can do!” We tipped the waitress, and left. At the door, I grabbed a business card (as I always do), and he looked even more nervous! Our tab, with wine and coffee would have been around 50 Euro.

We drove back to Bologna and took a long nap. When we woke up, it was raining, and we weren’t terribly hungry for another big dinner. We asked the hotel staff where we could find good pizza, and were directed to La Mela Restaurante, right off Piazza Maggiore. The owners are from Amalfi, and we had a nice chat in Italian about our love of the Amalfi coast. The whole restaurant was decorated in aqua and yellow with large plates, tiles, and paintings of Amalfi scenes and lemons.

We returned to the hotel and spent an hour on Slow Talk, chatting with amici on two other continents with a 9 hour time difference in each direction. AMAZING! After my midnight supervision call to my intern in Palm Springs, we slept well.

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