a day of churches and a museum in Bologna (2008 trip)

Wednesday, July 9th
I originally thought about doing one more daytrip while in Bologna. I wanted to visit Reggio-Emilia but decided to spend my final two full days in Bologna. I was able to sleep in a little and not worry about the buses and getting to the train station to not miss my train.

Wednesday morning, I leisurely hung out in my room for a while watching Everyone Loves Raymond in Italian and then went down to breakfast. This was when another ewwww moment A man in front of me put his hand into the cereal bowl and scooped up 2 or 3 scoops (with the spoon right there in the bowl!!). Yuck! I was not even going to consider the cereal that day or while he was staying there. I don’t know what he was even thinking. It is not like there was no spoon in the bowl. Ewwwww!! Despite the ewwww moment, I once again enjoyed my breakfast. On this morning, there was a type of cake with strawberries and panna (whipped cream).

The first thing on my list of things to check out on Wednesday was to visit the Santa Stefano church. I had heard that this was a very beautiful church. As I turned a corner on a street nearby my hotel, I smelled urine and was not paying attention. I thought I stepped in a puddle of urine. I let out a little scream and looked down. What I actually stepped on was a dried leaf that sounded like it was a puddle. A man walking near me asked me if I was ok. I explained what had happened. He asked where I was going and walked with me part way. He was very nice and showed me the best way to arrive to the church on my map (although for once I understood the map).

I stopped in Caffè Zanarini for the bathroom and then a coffee. I went to the cassa (cash register) to see if I had to pay first. There was no one at the cash register. There was a very nice older woman also waiting to pay. I asked her if she knew if we had to pay first. She was such a delightful person. She joked about the fact that we had to pay but there was no one there to take our money. We chatted for a few minutes until the woman working at the cassa arrived. My caffè macchiato was excellent. At this bar, the barista also gave everyone ordering coffee a little glass of acqua frizzante (fizzy water).

I continued my way to the church of Santa Stefano. When I arrived, once again the sun was in the wrong place for good photos. I now have a theory that all churches were built in a certain way so that the sun will be behind the church in the morning. If this is correct, then planned visits to churches would be better in the afternoon if photos of the churches are part of the plan. Even though the sun was in the wrong spot, I enjoyed my visit to this church, which I later found out was a complex of churches (6 or 7 churches). It was almost like being in a museum inside. There were many rooms and courtyards. I explored all of the rooms and areas until the church closed at 12:30. The best part was again that it was all free!! The piazza where this church is located is also quite beautiful.

I didn’t realize until I started walking again that the church was close to where the two towers were located. As I reached the end of Via Santa Stefano, I came upon this beautiful building with very interesting old arches. As I was looking up at the arches, I ran right into a woman riding her bike. I apologized. She was worried that I was hurt. I was fine and again apologized to her telling her how I was not looking because I just came upon this beautiful building. She was very kind and again apologized to me. She was very nice. The building I was looking at was the Palazzo della Mercanzia which is a very old building and now is (I think) some sort of city office building.

I checked out my museum brochure that I picked up while at the Hotel Roma and saw that the Jewish Museum was nearby and still open (it was around 1 or so and many of the museums, churches, stores, etc. were now closed).

The Jewish Museum was a little difficult to find at first as there were a lot of little roads with a lot of turns to reach the museum. When I reached the museum, there was a sign saying to ring the buzzer. A person answered and I was not sure just what to say, so I said “pronto”. She seemed to understand and opened the gate. Inside the ticket office was a temporary exhibition of black and white photographs from 1948 to 1950 of Israel by Robert Capa. They were all so interesting. I spent a lot of time looking at all of the different photographs. The permanent exhibition cost 4 euros and was located in the building next door. It was a small exhibition of mostly information along with 4 short narrated films. I was given a set of headphones and went into the museum. The films were about the history of the Jewish people, the Jewish religion, the history of the Jewish people in Bologna, and the history of the Jewish people in Emilia Romagna. I enjoyed all four films along with the information on each wall. Although it was a very small museum, I spent quite a bit of time there. I probably would have spent more time but my stomach was grumbling.

I found a nice little caffè nearby called Caffè Zamboni where I had a stacchino (a type of cheese) and rucola sandwich with a flat type of bread. After my sandwich, I went to Gelataria Gianni and had a mela verde and pesca (green apple and peach) gelato. Yummy!! I was surprised at how much I liked the green apple gelato.

I then hung out in Piazza Maggiore for a while. I was really enjoying being in Bologna and was so glad I decided to spend my final two full days in Bologna, getting to know this wonderful city a little better. I went into the Palazzo Communale to see the staircase that has the illusion of being longer than it actually is. I remembered how much I enjoyed walking around the inside of the courtyard of this building and seeing the staircase last year.

Next door to the Palazzo Communale is an internet point where you can hook up to wireless for free or use a computer for free. All computers were in use and I would have had to book a time for the following day to use the computer. I did not want to tie myself to a time, especially since the computer in the lobby at my hotel was also free.

Before heading back to my hotel, I walked to the church of San Francesco. I was told that this was another beautiful church to visit. It was very pretty but it was hard to beat the Santo Stefano church. I took a chance and caught the number 30 bus, not knowing exactly where to get off. The bus sign did say that there was a stop at Porta San Mamolo. After a few stops, an older woman who was dressed very nicely got on the bus. I offered her my seat. She said she was only going a couple of stops and thanked me. Ricky Martin music was playing on the bus. A man standing next to her and beside me said that he had not heard music before on the bus. She said that the music was very festive. He said that perhaps we should all start dancing. She laughed. Right about then I saw that we made a turn by the street near my hotel on the opposite side of the busy road. The woman got off. I hesitated for a moment, but then decided to get off also. For some reason, I was worried that maybe the Porta San Mamolo stop would not be a stop near my hotel and if I got off at this stop, I only had to walk a few minutes, crossing the busy street. I waited on the other side for about 10 minutes to see if the bus would have turned around and stopped closer to my hotel. I never saw the bus.

I spent a little bit of time on the computer before dinner. Amy, thank you so much for leaving a comment on my blog about Osteria al 15. I had this restaurant written down as a possibility and even found it on Sunday hoping it was open since it was located very close to my hotel. I had forgotten all about the restaurant after finding it closed on Sunday. I walked over to check out the menu and saw a few things that looked interesting. I returned at dinner time. There were three American college girls sitting at one table. I was seated at a table near them. The girls were here for three months studying Italian, although from what I heard them talk about and how they spoke Italian, I don’t think learning Italian was that important to them, especially to one of the three girls. I wanted to tell them how lucky they were and to not miss out on this incredible opportunity they had, but they were young and I knew that it would not matter what I said. I wish I had the opportunity they had though.

The waiter, who I think is the owner, was very nice. There was no written menu except for what was outside (which did not list all of the choices). When he came to my table, he began rattling off all of the choices. I asked him which tortelloni or tortellini did not have meat. He asked me if I was a vegetarian. I was too tired to explain that I eat fish and chicken since I did not see either on the menu. He recommended some dishes that did not have meat. I chose the ricotta all’ aceto balsamico caramellato. OMG, it was incredible!!! Along with this wonderful ricotta cheese topped with a homemade combination of the expensive balsamic vinegar, honey, and caramel, was a basket of this type of fried bread which I dipped in the sauce.

For my primi, I had the tortelloni con burro e salvia, one of my all time favorite dishes. An excellent choice of restaurants and an excellent meal. The waiter was so nice. I asked him about the newspapers on the ceiling. He was very proud of them and told me all about how they got them up there. He also took me on a tour of the rest of the restaurant showing me some of the older pots and pans on one wall which he found at different outdoor markets. When it came time for dessert, I told him that I had no room. I asked him if he was open for lunch, thinking that perhaps I could stop by for some dessert at lunch time. He said he was only open for dinner because he goes to the beach in the day (pointing to his dark tan). I had a fun night at this restaurant and was so glad I gave it a try.

When I returned to my hotel, my all time favorite Italian show, Carabinieri was on. The last time I saw this show was season one. It was now Carabinieri 7 (season 7). Not only did they show one episode, but right after the first episode ended, a second episode began. I did not know all the new characters, but could still follow along and understood much of the show. Another perfect ending to another wonderful day!!!

Next up – Thursday in Bologna

One thought on “a day of churches and a museum in Bologna (2008 trip)

  1. Wow — you do meet the most interesting people! That restaurants sounds fantastic and your dinner so delicious. Particularly the ricotta dish, amazing!
    And Santa Stefano sounds fascinating. I’m looking forward to all of your photos!


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