Wonderful Bologna – “La Dotta, La Rossa, La Grassa”
Tortellini, Escher, and Portici….a city that warrants a stroll – and a healthy appetite!
Bologna is known in Italy as “La Dotta, La Rossa, La Grassa”, or “The Educated, The Red, The Fat”. Certainly, the slogan is much more intriguing in Italian. “Educated” is for the city’s university founded in 1088, the oldest in Europe. “Red” refers to the red bricks used to construct city buildings and porticoes and to the city’s legacy of leftist politics. And “Fat”, well, let’s just say you shouldn’t visit Bologna if you’re on a diet!
Bologna is located in the region of Emilia-Romagna, 400 kilometers north of Rome and is well known for its culinary excellence. Throughout the world people enjoy a Bolognese sauce thanks to this city. Truth is, in Bologna they refer to their Bolognese sauce as ragu, and they combine it delectably with fresh tagliatelle, tortellini, and tortelloni . Gastronomic delights also include bollito, cotoletta alla Bolognese, crescentina and of course, my favorite, mortadella. I think you could gain a kilo or two by simply nominating these dishes, let alone actually eating them!
Thankfully, there is a lot to do in Bologna to burn off those extra calories.
Wonderful Bologna – the city of Portici
Most people don’t know that Bologna is a city of porticoes – 38 kilometers of them. The 1,000 years of their history dates back to several needs, which included public space for students as well as sheltering citizens from bad weather. They also have religious meaning; just outside the city walls you’ll find the Holy Shrine of St. Luke’s Madonna. In 1793 they finished construction of 3.5 kilometers of porticos (Portico di San Luca) that paved the wave for pilgrimage from the Cathedral of San Pietro in the centre of Bologna to the Sanctuary.
For those of you seeking a cultural experience in addition to a culinary one, Bologna is home to a slew of over 50 museums and exhibitions. The Pinacoteca, Bologna’s National Gallery, proudly houses artists such as Giotto and Raffaello. Byzantine and Flemish art, and pieces from ‘200 to the Baroque. Mambo, or the Museum of Modern Art of Bologna, showcases protagonists such as Marina Abramovic, Renato Gattuso, and Gianni Colombo in their permanent collection.
But if it’s a spiritual experience you’re looking for, look no further. Bologna warrants a visit if only to experience the Basilica di Santo Stefano, also known as Le Sette Chiese (The Seven Churches). This maze of churches dates back to the early ‘400 and it is truly a sacred journey into the past. While you’re in the area, you can’t miss the Basilica of San Petronio. Its origins date back to 1391 and its splendor towers over the magnificent and unforgettable Piazza Maggiore.
A lazy stroll through Bologna is like walking back in time; a time of horse drawn carriages and medieval elegance; all along preserving an undeniably enlightened spirit. Bologna is a jewel nestled in the riches of this wonderful country – Italy.
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