From Lucca in Tuscany we took the long winding scenic road north to Bologna in a day but as we completed our leisurely drive we did not know what chaos lay ahead by taking a car into the historic centre of Bologna. It proved to be one of the hardest challenges we ever took on. Inside the walls of the medieval town we stopped and asked directions a few times and somehow after many wrong turns (there are just too many one way streets) made it to our hotel. When the hotel staff asked how we drove in they were astounded we were not arrested as we had spotted our hotel from a distance so careered toward it diagonally across Piazza Maggiore, a zone that only police cars are allowed to use. The hotel had provided a route to follow on its website but once I printed it out, it was not that legible. I now tell people loudly, to take the train!!!
We were given directions to a nearby parking spot and the hotel issued us with parking coupons and there we left the car for three days but each day walked back to check it was still there.
Hotel Orologio has a 3 star rating and belongs to the Bologna Art hotels group.
Bologna is well known for its food and we went in search of a culinary experience. We did no have to walk far as most of the shops and stalls were in a couple of streets close by our hotel which is adjacent to Piazza Maggiore. We loved the fruit displayed with its leaves attached to indicate its freshness. Most of the fish sold was fully intact, although the fishmongers were always willing to fillet it for you. The Bolognese only like to buy fish with heads attached, more better to tell its freshness. There is a famous ingredient here that is literally worshipped, pork studded with pork fat, mortadella. It was named from the Latin word for mortar Mortarium, in which it is pressed. At Bologna’s food festival, a gigantic mortadella is hung from a frame and carried about like an idol. Its tall tower shape resembles the famous towers of Bologna.
We ate at a well known restaurant, Restaurant Diana. I mention it not because we dined well here but as there are so many reports on this restaurant in food forum websites. Being the only drinker of wine at our table, I ordered a small carafe of house wine that turned out to be appalling so I sent it back and the waiter brought a decent bottle of wine and seemed to pay us more attention than he did at the beginning, checking constantly asking us how everything was. Recently friends who travel and are very knowledgable about food and wine ate at Restaurant Diana, they checked with me first and I relayed my experience and they still chose to eat here and the final upshot is that were not impressed with the restaurant, so be warned.
We often eat at Enotecas as many offer food, even though the menus are modest but what they offer is always well cooked and presented and usually at a very reasonable price. We can recommend Divinis
The next visit to Bologna will have me tracking down a guide to take me around the city’s best food emporiums.
Visiting Bologna was an opportunity for us to visit an exhibition at MAMBO, the Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, where an entire gallery was dedicated to the work of its past famous resident, the renowned painter of still life, Giorgio Morandi 1890-1964. We took our time to absorb his subtle hued paintings, watercolors, drawings and etchings along with photos of his studio and his subjects.
visit the mambo site for current programme. Roz MacAllan