Sunday, 28 July 2013

La dotta, la grassa, la rosso - Bologna

Ahhhh Bologna, the first place we have truly fallen in love with. We originally booked 3 nights but after being here a few hours we knew that wouldn't be enough. The hotel receptionist must have been annoyed with us - it seemed every time we saw him we were asking to stay longer!

Bologna has a catchphrase - La dotta, la grassa, la rosso which means the learned, the fat, the red. The learned is because Bologna has the oldest university in the Western world. The fat due to its delicious food - bolognese and lasagna were invented here (more on the food in a different post) and the red because it really is the red city.

As mentioned in a previous post Pisa is not Italy's only leaning tower - it's not even the tallest! The tallest is in Bologna & is called The Asinelli Tower. They were built in the 12th century, it's not really known why but rich families built them so it is thought they could have been for offense/defense purposes. There are actually 2 towers, 1 is really on the wonk so they cut the top off in the 14th century, it's too dangerous to climb so you can only go up the tallest one. 

We decided to have a go at climbing the 498 rickety, narrow steps. It cost only 3 euros compared to 18 euros to climb Pisa plus there was no queue at all - the queue to climb Pisa is almost as famous as the tower itself.

This drawing of Italy's broken towers gives you an idea of how small Pisa really is. It was not easy climbing the steps in the 38 degree heat and i did have to stop quite a few times to catch my breath but it was definitely worth it, the view from the top was awesome.

Oh and the gelato we had afterwards to cool down was pretty good too :)

Bologna has 4km of porticoes. We had read about these before coming to Bologna but we didn't really get what was so good about them. We get it now - they are all over the city so when the weather is really hot you can almost constantly walk in the shade and when it rains they provide shelter. It has been really hot while we've been here (it is currently 41 degrees) so while walking in the porticoes & passing shops with air conditioning we have loved feeling the cold as we walk past. The best AC is the Apple shop - we're guna have to buy a bloody Ipad if we spend anymore time in there. We made up a silly game where you have to call the porticoes something other than porticoes but it has to begin with a P - our favourites so far are Penelope Cruz & Ping Pong Portals.

There is a large square in the centre on Bologna called Piazza Maggiore, it has a huge fountain with a statue of Neptune in the middle. It wasn't fully working while we were there as when it is in full working order water shoots out of the nymph's nipples!

In Piazza Maggiore while we were they they were showing films for free, we watched About Schmidt (in English!) and we're going to see The Artist tonight (doesn't really matter what language that film is in). All the other films were in Italian - bloody Italian's, so selfish!

We went for a wander to see some pretty porticoes and ended up in the Archiginnasio Palace. There wasn't much going on but there was an anatomy theatre where anatomy was taught entirely through dissection of corpses. In the 17th century there were no fridges so the autopsy was performed in 1 sitting  - the seats were made to be uncomfortable so the students wouldn't fall asleep. 

We had a nice little wander around the narrow streets and saw some really nice looking shops, the fruit & veg stalls are ace - you can smell the fresh fruit before you even see them. We also saw a right meat shop - I had to drag Russell out of there, he loved it ;)

When we got here Russell went online looking at Bologna nightlife. I'm glad he did! He found this student club/bar near our hotel called Covo Club. This summer they have a theme of Bolognetti Rocks, every night has different music from pop to indie to rock n roll. Every other  night a band play for free. We went to see TOY - an English band that sound very similar to The Horrors. They were really good and the club night after was fun too. We also went to the rock n roll night last night. They sell a huge glass of prosecco for only 3 euros so it wasn't that much of a surprise to find an empty pizza box on the balcony this morning that neither of us can remember buying or eating. Sore heads all round!

3 Euros for all this prosecco!

The Horro....oh sorry I mean TOY
As you can probably tell we have really loved Bologna, it has everything we want in a city, it's officially on the 'I could totally live here' list.

It seems daft writing all this about Bologna & not mentioning the amazing food & drink but it deserves a post of it's own so I won't go on about it now but here's a little something to wet your appetite

1 comment:

  1. Great pictures and very interesting, I need to visit bologna I love your blogs xx