Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Bologna in Bolognaise

A couple of weeks ago we took our last trip to Italy. Somehow we have made it there eight (pinch me!) times during our life abroad. Thank you budget prices on Ryan Air! This last trip was to home base in Bologna with two road trips - Saturday to the east and Sunday to the west.

Day one: Ravenna, Gubbio, Urbino, San Marino, back to Bologna

Day two: Padua, Vicenza, Mantua, Parma, and finally the Ferrari Factory Museum, back to Bologna

It was an exhausting sprint through this beautiful region of pasta and piazzas but we would have it no other way. I discovered my new favorite Italian town and mosiacs that left me breathless (stay tuned). I am going to try to combine some of these blog posts, but part of the lasting indulgence is reliving through writing. So I hope you and your taste buds are ready for an all out weekend tour of northern Italy.

We flew into Bologna, Italy. It hadn't occurred to me til we were there, but the bolognaise sauce we top spaghetti with....duh, it comes from Bologna. This is a foodie mecca and we could easily see why...Bologna was more than just fabulous food. It served up history and culture too. This city is home to the world's oldest university (founded 1088) and was founded by the Etruscans.The old town square gleamed in the setting sun, rosy and blushing away. I adore Europe's pedestrianized centers. No cars mean Connor has a longer leash on life to run her little legs out. Unfortunately though those little legs missed the step in the photo below...
...but Dr. Daddy was to the rescue to dry her eyes and kiss her knees.Classic Italian shots seemed to jump out every way I pointed my camera...I stumbled upon this bookseller with antique shelves showing off all his wares. I wished the shelves had been for sale. I found their round, curvy displays captivating.And upon closer look at the magazines, my stomach and taste buds reminded me where we were...Knowing our tired traveling legs and tummies could not make it to 8 PM - the time when the restaurants opened - we opted to find the Quadrilatero, Bologna's acclaimed food district.We bought a rainbow of fresh fruits and veggies from the rows and rows of produce stalls. See the fennel bulbs in the above photo? Fennel is my newest cooking delight. If you haven't tried it sliced in a salad then do it soon. It will make your salad POP with unexpected flavor!
And oh those strawberries! What a smile they bring out.To complete our hotel picnic we found a pasta deli place that wrapped up mouth-watering lasagne for us to take away. We couldn't check in to our hotel fast enough to try it out!This trip started out right. Food first to nourish our upcoming adventures!

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