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The city of Bologna has three different nicknames that, when taken together, do a lot to summarize the appeal of the city.  La Dotta (the learned one) refers to the home of the oldest university in the world.  The university is still in use and is one of the biggest in Italy.   La Grassa (The Fat One), refers to its incredible cuisine (Its location in Emilia-Romagna means it is close to the homes of parmesan cheese, prosciutto di parma, tortellini, and balsamic vinegar.  Finally, la rossa (The red one) refers to the red bricks and red roofs of the buildings in the historic city center.  We never would have known about this gem of a city if we hadn’t met our friends Lucca and Valentina on a rafting trip in Montenegro .  They had described their beautiful city to us, and invited us to come visit, and we found ourselves in the region, we knew we had to take them up on it!

It’s always better to explore a new place when you have some locals to guide you and Bologna was no exception.  Bologna has a wealth of cultural, historic, and gastronomic sites to visit and Lucca and Valentina showed us some of their favorites.  We saw the longest Porticos in the world.  It was raining while we were there, but the porticos meant that we could walk around the entire old center of the city without getting wet.  We walked through the old University, saw some beautiful libraries and the world’s first anatomical theater.  Some of our favorite times in the city just involved strolling through the porticos around the university and snacking at all of the different delis and shops.

Another interesting bit of trivia about Bologna is that the San Petronia Basilica contains a 15th century fresco of Muhammed burning in hell.  In 2002 some terrorists that were loosely connected to Al Qaeda tried to blow it up.

On Saturday night we went out to a big birthday dinner with 5 other couples.  We drove out into a neighboring town and had a multi course feast for several hours.  One of the highlights though, was being invited to Valentina’s family’s house for a traditional Sunday lunch.  She made fresh tortellini soup from scratch and several vegetable courses and everything was incredible.

  • Bologna University
  • Site of the first Surgery
  • Bologna Library
  • Bologna Deli
  • Fresh Tortellini
  • Bologna River
  • Night Walk in Bologna
  • Porticos
  • Homemade Tortellini
  • Sunday Lunch in Bologna
  • Tortellini Soup
  • Lunch with Valentina's Family

Posted: September 29, 2013

Author: Adam and Amanda

Category: Blog, Continents, Europe, Italy


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