A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about bologna

A taste of Italy

Bologna, Ravenna and Venice plus a bit of food and wine

sunny 19 °C

Sue's Visit

It was with great excitement that I saw Sue’s smiling and enthusiastic face at Bologna Airport in May. It was lovely to catch-up on all the Sydney news after a year away.

An action-packed week was planned with a tour of Bologna, cooking class, regional food tour, and trips to Ravenna and Venice amongst the activities organised. On day one we took Sue on a tour of Bologna including her first true taste of Italian coffee and a brioche con crema at Gamberini (the oldest bakery in Bologna). This was followed by a visit to the Archiginnasio - a 16th century building commissioned by Pope Pius IV including a fascinating anatomical theatre. A walk up to the top of San Luca and then lunch at Trattoria Fantoni may have left our guest with a slightly swirling head with all the stimuli!

Bologna Sights

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Once again we enjoyed fantastic dinner at Drogheria della Rosa, where the gregarious owner Emanuele took a bit of a shine to Sue presenting her with a free bottle of red.

Dinner

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It was a foodie week, and Wednesday we undertook a pasta making course at La Vecchia Scuola Bolognese. Making fettuccine, tortolloni and tortellini was hard work, but at the end we could enjoy the fruits of our labour and mangiamo (eat) the fine fare that we had produced.

Cooking School

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Thursday morning was an early start at 7am - we were waiting outside the apartment to be picked up by our limo service for the start of our 'Taste of Italy' Tour. This tour commenced with an insight into the production of the beautiful Parmigiano-Reggiano. Sue and I put on our special outfits for the day and then entered into the factory looking very glamorous!

The production of the cheese is extremely skilled with fresh milk coming in daily from approved cows, and only one man qualified to lift and cut the cheese from the amazing copper pots. The cheese is certainly beautiful and it was amazing to see the work and care that goes into the production.

Parmigiano-Reggiano

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Following the cheese factory we went to the balsamic vinegar factory - or aceto balsamico. The balsamico is aged from one to twenty five years in special barrels called batterias. Each year the basilico is moved from the bigger barrels down to the smaller, and these are stored in the attic to allow for variations in temperature and certain bacterias to play their part.

These vinegars are certainly far superior to the average bottle that you buy in the supermarket, and a taste-test with strawberries and ice cream (believe it or not) certainly delighted the tour group.

Aceto Balsamico

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Our final destination was the prosciutto factory, and then a five-course lunch at a local trattoria. Our local tour guide kept us entertained with stories and jokes, and we were finally rolled back into the car in a food-filled stupor for the trip home. Not even room for one little wafer at the end!

Lunch and Prosciutto

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On Friday we took the train to Ravenna so Sue could see the beautiful frescoes, and we also undertook a bit of shopping (thanks Sue for my beautiful birthday bag). As if we hadn’t eaten enough food the day before, we 'had' to enjoy a delicious lunch in another local trattoria. That night we picked up Sue’s friend Annerose from the airport ready for our girls' weekend in Venice.

Up early we packed Dan and the kids off for their weekend in Le Marche with friends from the school. Sue, Annerose and I then had a quick tour of Bologna altough heavy rain limited our tourist possibilities. Catching the train to Venice (12 euro each – thanks Italo) we arrived and found our way via traghetto to our accommodation. Leaving our bags in the room, our first stop was prosecco and pizza to celebrate my birthday. A bit of a rest and then dinner at a local restaurant (fortunately we stumbled onto a good one ranked high on TripAdvisor). Following dinner we wandered through the streets and into St Mark's Square, although heavy rain ensured we were rather damp on our return.

Venice - Day 1

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Sunday morning we had booked a two-hour walking and gondola tour. This was a terrific way to see the sights and hidden streets away from the maddening tourist crowds.

Walking tour and Gondola

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Following our tour we found a great little spot for lunch. This provided the fuel for the rest of the day where walked many of the streets and saw lots of sights. Dinner topped off the day (again by chance we found one of the top-rated restaurants in Venice), and we then caught a ferry back late at night to our accommodation.

Venice Sights

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Sue and Annerose departed early for their trip back to Germany, and I caught the ferry to Murano - the famous island that produces most of the Venetian glass. It was lovely wandering the streets and taking in the sights, plus it wasn’t too overrun with tourists in the morning. An action-packed week, but I think Sue certainly experienced the tastes and sights of Italy.

Murano

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Posted by happellfamily12 09:56 Archived in Italy Tagged venice bologna ravenna Comments (0)

Bologna: Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen

Art, Food, Language, Friends

Well it is hard to believe that after nearly 10 months in Bologna our time here has come to an end. It certainly is sad to leave a city that we have come to know so well, and we will miss many of the aspects of life here - especially food, wine, friends, bike riding, language, art, quick trips to towns, cities and countries.

This blog is about photos. We would like to thank all our international friends who have made us feel so welcome here and have made our time a most memorable experience.

Children's Friends and School

The children have made many friends especially at the International School.
Their friends are truly an international group. Swedish, Italian/American, American, Italian, English/Italian, Brazilian/American and Mexican/Italian.
The last week of school was a bit like the last weeks of school in Australia (without the need to buy Christmas presents). Some of the activities we had in the last few weeks were: school concert; shared birthday party for Gabi and Nat; catch up in the park; drinks on the terrace; final gelati in Piazza Cavour.

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kidsonroof


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One of the songs from the school concert.

Our Friends

Dan and I have also made some terrific international friends and we have enjoyed many social occasions together.

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friendsontheroof

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Dowds

Dowds


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Dowds2

Food and Coffee

Life in Bologna could not commence until we had enjoyed our coffee and brioche. This always took place after we had dropped the children at school. One of my favourite coffee places was Gamberini - the coffee and the brioches were fantastic and it was fortunate that I was riding my bike on a daily basis. My favourite was a brioche con crema - no asking for skim milk, soy cafes here! At the cost of about $3.00 Australian who could resist.

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favcafe


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Art and Italian

Many people have asked me what I would do all day once the children were at school. Well it is amazing how quickly the days can pass when one is not working. After 'prende un caffe' I would attend art class on Wednesday mornings - this class was run by Antonio a local Italian. The class was mostly Italians and there were some extremely talented artists in the group. The other activity I enjoyed was twice weekly private Italian lessons. One class was a group of four Katie - American, Jane - Australian and Perry - German. This class was conducted by the lovely Guilianna who was incredibly patient with our halting Italian. In addition to this weekly class Katie and I also meet with Marieangela who left Bologna for Australia when she was twenty and has now returned for a period of time to help her mother. Katie and I loved our conversation classes as there was always plenty of laughter.

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Bologna Sights

After living in Bologna for nearly 10 months I realised that I hadn't been much of a tourist in my own city so I spent the last few weeks quickly taking a few tourist shots.

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Bike Rides

Finally one of the highlights was having bikes in Bologna. These were our cars. Every morning we could take the children to school and then pick them up in the afternoon. Although there are very few bike paths most people ride on the road or through the piazza. One of my favourite times was riding my bike through the piazza after the school drop. I was very sad to have to sell my bike when we left Bologna.

Posted by happellfamily12 07:52 Archived in Italy Tagged bologna Comments (0)

Sta Nevicando

It's actually snowing kids!!

snow -2 °C

All week the children have been hoping that it would snow. So you can imagine their excitement when I stepped out of the apartment for a night-out on Friday evening to find that the snow was falling. Calling the household to come and have a look, husband and kids hurried down, without shoes, to see the snow falling outside (what is it with our family and no shoes in -1 temps?).

The next morning the kids were up early and looking out the window ... and they were not to be disappointed. The snow was at least an inch thick in parts and the grey streets of Bologna had been transformed. Dressing up in their recently purchased snow suits they quickly went up to the top terrace to build a snowman complete with carrot nose. Of course a trip to the park was also in order, and we caught up with school friends Genevieve, Lucy, and their mother Olivia ... the children were in snow heaven. Rolling up big balls of (not the cleanest) snow to make snowmen, throwing snow balls, and sliding down snow covered slides.

Never have the kids experienced snow in a city where they live. Maybe the excitement will wear off, but for Gabi and Nat this has certainly been a highlight of Bologna.

Some Happy Snaps

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Posted by happellfamily12 16:57 Archived in Italy Tagged snow in bologna Comments (1)

Celebrity Blog - Joff & Wendy

Honeymoon II ... Big Game in Africa, Ever Romantic Venice, and then a sample of La Rossa

sunny 28 °C

Walking back with Dan to casa Happell from Bologna train station, first impression? Hot. Quite big, bit dusty. Probably exacerbated coming from all that aqua in Venice. Thankfully a gin and tonica wasn't far away, nor a cooling breeze atop one of the Happell's due terrazzi. A welcome retreat.

First in the schedule of events? A gymnastics display. Naturally. Gabriela and Natalie dazzled us from our mattress-side seats with a series of remarkable feats, including somersaults and eventually a backflip. Bravo! Could this be why their parents moved to Europe? Access to the best coaches and 'technology'? Rio in 4 years should reveal all. Delicioso Italian-style roast chicken topped off a wonderful welcome to Bologna.

Natalia Happellova

Natalia Happellova

"molto buona" chef!

"molto buona" chef!

Day two we slipped on our tourist shoes ... time for a serious sample of the Bolognese lifestyle. And what better way to get our bearings than from Bologna's highest point. 400+ steps later we'd climbed Torre degli Asinella - the tallest of the famed Due Torri (Two Towers). Apparently a tower was the height of fashion (ed : nice one Joffa) a few centuries ago. If you wanted to impress your neighbours, a ridiculously high tower was the go. There used to be nearly 200 watching over the town, but now only a handful remain.

Wendy wouldn't blow out a candle ... not sure about the Happells but ...

Wendy wouldn't blow out a candle ... not sure about the Happells but ...

While Dan and Gabi slipped home for some schooling, Wendy and I enjoyed a stroll around town, including Neptune's spectacular fountain - just off the main piazza in town (Piazza Maggiore). And onto the quieter, atmospheric streets of the old town where the fish, meat, vegetables, and delis made a mouthwatering sight. After meeting Lisa fresh from Italian class it was lunchtime. More tasty, fresh, simple food expertly ordered by our 'local' hosts.

Il Quadrilatero - start point for any delicious home cooked meal

Il Quadrilatero - start point for any delicious home cooked meal

We spent the evening with another Aussie-in-Bologna, Mitch Dowd and family. Great to catch-up and hear them wax lyrical about their Italian adventures so far.

Dan, Jayne, Lisa, and Mitch

Dan, Jayne, Lisa, and Mitch

some good looking boys at the party Nat ... stop playing on the ipad!

some good looking boys at the party Nat ... stop playing on the ipad!

Yours truly, Mitch, and his boys Ewan and Hunter

Yours truly, Mitch, and his boys Ewan and Hunter

Next day, Dan suggested a trip to Parma, home of the famous cheese and prosciutto. Like so many interesting places, just a short train-ride from Bologna. Gabi (Nat was making her daycare debut) led the way to a delicious lunch before we found the sights, including an impressive cathedral, baptistry, attractive piazzas, and impressive gardens.

well satisfied gourmands after a lovely lunch at Ristorante La Forchetta

well satisfied gourmands after a lovely lunch at Ristorante La Forchetta

some mirth alongside Piazza Garibaldi

some mirth alongside Piazza Garibaldi

Giardino Ducale - Wendy and Gabi had a great time here in the open spaces

Giardino Ducale - Wendy and Gabi had a great time here in the open spaces

Our farewell dinner was at a local trattoria Dan and Lisa were keen to try. And what a feast! Spectacular seafood including a dish I 'couldn't possibly finish' but somehow managed to (ed : still got it Jonnie!). No wonder the waiter declared us the 'No.1 table' for the evening. For which the award seemed to be the run of the Meloncello bottle - a delicious canteloupe flavoured liquer. Found room for that too. By the time we left the restaurant, our Italian heatwave had broken. The rain was tumbling down. Not that we noticed ... Bologna's famed porticoed streets came into their own and we navigated a passage home, with barely a drop.

mmm ... still room for tiramisu non?

mmm ... still room for tiramisu non?

any more Meloncello and a map would have been required for the homeward navigation

any more Meloncello and a map would have been required for the homeward navigation

Sadly, the next morning it was time to leave. A final caffe at Dan's local then the challenge of driving to Lucca awaited. Nothing compared to the challenge of selling your house and moving to another country. Our hosts have already seen and done so much, it was a privilege to be part of their adventure. And it's really only begun.

the only way to start the day ...

the only way to start the day ...


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Posted by happellfamily12 15:53 Archived in Italy Tagged bologna friends sites tourist guests parma Comments (2)

One of the world's great (slow) runs?

SANTUARIO DELLA BEATA VERGINE DI SAN LUCA

all seasons in one day 18 °C

Leave your sunscreen, gumboots, and snow shoes behind; they are redundant on this amazing run that can be almost entirely completed under Bologna's historic porticoes.

yep, that spec in the distance is our target

yep, that spec in the distance is our target

Since arriving in Bologna in late August, Lisa has devoted herself to improving her parli Italiano, whilst my two passions have been following the Bologna FC - aka the RossoBlu - and trying to see as much of the town as possible on foot (and now also on bike following a recent purchase). The Santuario can be seen from our rooftop garden, so it became an obvious early target for a regular fun run.

looks pretty simple on paper - just follow the arrows! centro storico is marked by the (sort of) square shape; porticoe starts when you leave the centro

looks pretty simple on paper - just follow the arrows! centro storico is marked by the (sort of) square shape; porticoe starts when you leave the centro

Via Guglielmo Marconi - start point just near our apartment; pedestrian dodging commences here

Via Guglielmo Marconi - start point just near our apartment; pedestrian dodging commences here

Constructed in 1723, the Sanctuary can be reached by walking or running along and up the world's longest covered walkway, the Portico di San Luca, which is 3.5 kms long and consists of 666 arches. The portico was built to protect a miraculous icon of the virgin as it was paraded up the hill. Nowadays it is used by fitness conscious locals and dog walkers during the day, and couples for their fare una passeggiata (pre-dinner stroll) in the evening. There is an annual procession from the Cathedral of San Pietro in the centre of town up to the Sanctuary along this path.

Via Nosadella - 10 mins in and surrounds become quieter; covered walkway runs down the right hand side

Via Nosadella - 10 mins in and surrounds become quieter; covered walkway runs down the right hand side

Porta Saragozza - you reach this landmark after 15 mins - the world's longest arcade starts on the other side

Porta Saragozza - you reach this landmark after 15 mins - the world's longest arcade starts on the other side

Via Saragozza - don't worry about counting sheep, count the arches! this is the last of the flat stretch

Via Saragozza - don't worry about counting sheep, count the arches! this is the last of the flat stretch

From our apartment the first part of the run is flat, and requires nimble footwork to dodge cars, bikes, and pedestrians. After about 15 mins you reach the start of the Portico, and 10 minutes after that you begin the climb! A resilient shuffle will then get you to the top in another 20 minutes, where you can catch your breath, seek 1st aid (divine?) assistance, and take in the splendid views.

starting the climb; funny how it doesn't look as steep on film ...

starting the climb; funny how it doesn't look as steep on film ...

half way up the hill (Monte Della Guardia)

half way up the hill (Monte Della Guardia)

finally there ... always a great feeling!

finally there ... always a great feeling!

Returning back down is twice as quick, but can take a toll on various joints with the hard jarring encountered. A steady plod home from the bottom of the Monte will see you stop the clock at just over an hour, and aperitivi will then beckon on the rooftop as you contemplate another assault in the coming days!

looking south west ... tranquility

looking south west ... tranquility

not too many high-rises in downtown Bologna

not too many high-rises in downtown Bologna

the irony is hard to ignore - you pass Via Pietro Coubertin on the way back - considered to be the father of the modern Olympics - inspiration anyone?

the irony is hard to ignore - you pass Via Pietro Coubertin on the way back - considered to be the father of the modern Olympics - inspiration anyone?

Posted by happellfamily12 15:15 Archived in Italy Tagged church bologna running Comments (0)

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