Italy Trip Part 2 : Bologna

Day 3 (10th June 2015)

Bologna, a city in Italy well known for it's food (Bolognese sauce anyone?), historic city centre together with the oldest university in the world, and endless city arcades (also known as porticos). 

It never came across my mind to visit this city when I first planned a trip to Italy, and I believe most people travelling to Italy for the first time won't mark Bologna as a destination. Since Florence is a must-go for this trip, I came across Bologna sitting right in the middle between Milan and Florence while planning my itinerary on Google map. Might as well spend a day or two over there I guess, those orange/brown buildings in the city centre from photos do seem interesting to me.

Anyway less talking and more pictures. Do note that I won't be sharing any pictures from major attractions except one or two... to be honest I'm kinda laid back during the 2 nights stay in Bologna, due to the heat and my sunburn which isn't healing well yet, so most pictures you gonna see was from me doing some casual walks in the city centre.

You'll be greeted by brown/orange/yellow buildings from every side when you stroll around the city centre.

San Petronio Basilica, located at Piazza Maggiore.

City arcades or Porticos. Bologna is famous for it's porticos, in total there is 38 in total in the city centre, spanning 45km. The longest portico in the world is also located here, 3.5km long, but I didn't visit it due to the location and reason mentioned beforehand.

Entering the Quadrilatero market, located just off Piazza Maggiore.

Had lunch in this restaurant called La Baita Formaggi (you'll note the sign in 1 photo above), it's also quite a famous cheese, pasta and meat shop. Ordered a plate of tortelloni (stuffed pasta), cost 10 EUR. Not really cheap considering the portion, but I wouldn't call it a tourist trap either because it's really nice. In the mean time while waiting for your food or once you're done, you can have a look in the shop itself, which is quite a sight with all the cheese (especially if you're a cheese lover) and meat on display.

Impressive display of cheese, meat and pastas. 

Prosciutto, or Italian Ham, hanging from the ceiling. 

Next I went to one of the most famous and tallest landmark in the city centre, the Two Towers. Bologna used to be full of towers between the 12th and 13th century in the city centre, up to 180 according to some records! Many were demolished or simply collapsed during the 13th century, resulting in fewer than 20 still standing today, including the Two Towers.

Artist conception of Bologna in the early Middle Ages about 12th century. Imagine the scene today if all the towers stood still!

("Medieval Bologna" by Toni Pecoraro - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Medieval_Bologna.jpg#/media/File:Medieval_Bologna.jpg)

The Two Towers. Both are in fact leaning towers but you'll notice more significant lean on the shorter tower. The taller one was named Asinelli and the shorter, more leaning tower was named Garisenda. Asinelli is the tallest leaning tower in Italy. That's right, taller than the one in Pisa, but unfortunately not as famous.

You can pay a small fee, 3 EUR, to climb up the Asinelli Tower, and you'll be rewarded with a 360 degree view of the city centre. The Garisenda Tower is inaccessible due to obvious safety reasons.

Those who're really afraid of heights, you might wanna reconsider this. The wooden stairs aren't really well maintained and you get to hear creaks when the amount of tourists climbing the tower is at peak, and they don't have anyone to monitor the amount of people allowed in at the same time (none that I noticed on that day).... which makes me wonder about the overall safety precaution being taken.

I forgot to mention it's quite dark and narrow in there as well.....

Once on the top you'll get a 360 degree view of the city centre

Contrary to the old concept that "going down was easier than going up".... I feel going down here was actually much harder than going up. The steps are really narrow and there's a slight incline in some of them.... holding the handrails is a must.

Made it down finally!

I decided I'm done for today, time to chill for the rest of the day. Was it a productive day? Well my main objective was to get some cityscapes, so I'm pretty much satisfied. 

 

Day 4 (11th June 2015)

Not much of an improvement compared to yesterday. In fact I think I'm even lazier today, at one point thinking whether to just spend the whole day at home.... of course I ain't that lazy! I'm on a TRIP, I would be mad at myself if I were to waste a day at home even though I'm travelling alone.

So since there's nothing much on my itinerary today, I decided to check out one of the most famous pasta shop/restaurant in Bologna for lunch. Pasta Fresca Naldi, a family run business by a mom, daughter, and grand daughter, that's three generations.

Address : Via del Pratello, 69, Bologna BO, Italy

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187801-d3331392-Reviews-Pasta_Fresca_Naldi-Bologna_Province_of_Bologna_Emilia_Romagna.html

I need to refer to the precise location on Google maps, because this is how the shop entrance looks like. No sign, no lavish entrance or tables, just a simple menu outside.

Prices are fairly reasonable, ranging from 5 EUR to 8 EUR for different types of pasta with different sauces, a bargain if you consider it's homemade and authentic. I do need to mention it's not really a restaurant, the space is really tight inside and there's only 2 small tables you can sit if you decide to dine in, it's more of a take away shop.

Tortelloni filled with cheese topped with tomato sauce, 7.50 EUR. This had become my most favourite pasta variant after 2 days in Bologna.

Since I don't have any plans with spending on other things today, might as well order 1 more for dinner as well, because it's REALLY GOOD. Here's tortellini with cream and cheese sauce, 7.50EUR, recommended by the lady. She gladly helped me sealed it back after trying a bit. The pasta was still very good when I had it later in the night, reheated using microwave.

Sweet ladies managing the whole shop. They speak slight English so you won't have a problem ordering. Referred to everyone's order by their names, and gladly suggest that you finish the food first before you pay (to make sure your money was worth I guess). I even got a free Bologna guide book from them, if only I was here yesterday...

Freshly made tortellinis.

After this it's just me doing some casual walks in the city centre and market.

Porticos.....

....and more porticos.

So how do I feel about Bologna?

 Well I can't really comment if you're here for all the "must-see" for tourist, as you've know by now it's more or less of a casual walk around during my 2 days here. I do know and feel it's rich with history (the whole Italy is anyway...) and many attractions cater to that, so if that's your interest you may very well love this place. Pasta lover? Cheese lover? YES please visit!

Really do spend some time here if you got the chance, I feel it's special in a sense that it's out of the popular or "mainstream" Italy hotspots such as Venice, Florence, Pisa, Milan etc, and yet it have it's own identity and attractions.

How many days? 2 nights is sufficient I would say, 3 nights I guess if you really wanted to cover everything, and savour yourself with all the good pasta and cheese.


Gear - Sony a7 + Sony FE 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 OSS + Konica Hexanon AR 40mm f1.8

Editing - Capture One Pro 8