Saturday, October 13, 2007

Day 12: Bologna

Our first destination this morning is the Museo Civico Medioevale e del Rinascimento (the Civic Museum of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance) which is housed in a handsome old palazzo–the Palazzo Fava-Ghisliardi. We retrace our now familar route from the hotel to the center of Bologna. The museum–except for the first room with its hodegpodge of oddities–is beautifully laid out and the displays are wonderful. As part of our Jewish places theme, there are three very distinctive headstones from the old Jewish cemetery in Bologna. These headstones are untraditional from a Jewish point of view because of the angels, lions and other decorations…certainly an indication of how the Jewish community was affected by the standards of the Renaissance.
In addition to lots of Roman stuff, the museum features tombs of professors at the university in the 15th and 16th centuries. These tombs are carved with wonderful reliefs of the professor teaching and on either side, the students — some of them are sleeping, looking perplexed or just talking among themselves.
There is a striking group of statues of the patron saints of Bologna
a very pretty mosaic of a Byzantine Madonna from the 11th century
a very tall, Egyptian looking statue of the infamous Pope Boniface VIII
and a wonderful Bernini bust of Pope Gregory XV.
In addition, there is a myriad of miscellaneous stuff like ostrich eggs, 18 inch heeled shoes of Venetian courtesans, lots of armor, ceramics and Murano glass. We spend a couple of hours in the museum and enjoy it very much.
We have another social engagement today. We are meeting our friend Jane Nyhan (who is a guide in Florence), her husband Carlo and her sister Cathy for lunch. While we are waiting for her, Diana sits in a sidewalk cafe in the Piazza San Martino and I do a little exploring in the northern section of Bologna. This is the area where we had spent much of our time on our previous trips and it is much more commercial and less appealing than the areas that we have found on this trip. I do find one of the last remaining canals in the center of Bologna. The city used to have many canals criss-crossing the downtown area but all the others have been paved over.
We have lunch at a nice osteria in the same square where we have been waiting for Jane and company–no advance research, just an attractive restaurant in a convenient location. We have a nice reunion and a nice lunch. The Il Rosso San Martino has an appealing menu and a very good Euro 10.00 fixed price lunch. In addition to being convenient, the food is very good and the wine is not only good but extremely reasonably priced. Jane is very impressed with the food and price (the five of us eat for Euro 62.00), especially compared to places in Florence.

Even though Jane and Carlo live between Bologna and Florence, they are much more oriented to Florence and have spent very little time in Bologna and don’t know it very well. I serve as their guide as we walk around the “centro storico”. Jane, Carlo and I climb to the top of the Asinelli Tower, the taller of the two 12th century leaning towers in the very center of Bologna. The tower is 391 feet high and there are 500 steps but the climb is not that difficult. The view from the top is quite spectacular and it is said that on a clear day, you can see the Adriatic. Today we couldn’t see that far, but the view over Bologna and into the hills is well worth the climb.
After the climb, we walk through the ghetto, do some shopping in the market,
cross the Piazza Maggiore and a couple of people stop for some gelato at GROM.
We say goodbye to our friends in the next to statue of Luigi Galvani
in the Piazza Galvani–a nice spot for Carlo, a chemistry teacher–Galvani was the Bologna doctor and physicist who discovered that dead frogs’ legs twitch when touched by a spark and has given his name to galvanized iron - - and head back to the hotel while they continue to tour Bologna.
For dinner, we don’t want to venture too far from the hotel so we return to Al Sangiovese where we had eaten our first night. I have a very good risotto made with sangiovese wine, a vegetable tart and some sauteed mushrooms and Diana has the gramigna with sausage and a filet with a balsamic sauce, rucola and cheese….it is a little heavy on the balsamic. We have the same delicious Sangiovese that we drank the first night.

We make a short detour so that I can have an unnecessary gelato and head back to the hotel.

Tomorrow we reluctantly leave Bologna and head north to Belluno.


Post a Comment

<< Home