We approached the breakfast table with some trepidation this morning and were not wrong. Fresh pineapple, raspberries, blackberries and prickly pears had joined the roll call of fruit. Instead of one glass of fresh orange juice we each had a smoothie of mixed red fruits and a pastry each, bien sur. But no butter for Lou’s toast or milk for my tea, although a box of decaffeinated earl grey had appeared. I reckon we feel stuffed just looking at it all!
Today or, rather, this morning was visit churches morning. Lou was biting the bullet for me. Lots of tents going up in piazza Maggiore but no idea why. First stop was not a church but the Teatro Anatomico, the dissection theatre of Bologna’s university of which they are immensely proud as it was one of the first in Europe.
Our ticket took us into a part of the huge library where I breathed in the musty smell of old books, enticing but no touching! The ceilings and walls of all the corridors were covered in paintings of professors and commemorative blazons.
From there it was on to San Domenico to gaze at his marble tomb, part of which was carved by a young Michaelangelo. The church was lofty but quite plain as suited a friar, I suppose.
Next stop San Stefano, not one church but seven, all built in and around one another. I was reminded of Saint Basil’s in Moscow which is also several churches in one. There always seemed to be another door and another cloister. Lou had stuck his head inside and made the memorable comment ‘oh, not much to see here’. I found loads to see…and photograph, of course.
This tiled floor, for instance, next to some faded frescoes.
Frescoes was what took us to our third church of the morning, described as a ‘delicate’ church dating from the 14th century with some masterful frescoes. Already grumpy from a cup of tepid, and the most expensive, cappuccino in Italy and being aggressively pursued by a male beggar (there are a lot in Bologna) I was umimpressed by the gloomy interior and searched in vain for frescoes. Rejoining Lou outside I finally looked up under the colonade in front of the church. And there they were and all down one side as well. Quite a walk back to Sala Boursa and a visit to the only public loos before I could even start to think about lunch!
Feeling much relieved and calmer, we retraced our footsteps of yesterday to via clavature where we had passed people sharing platters of cold meats and cheeses outside a couple of cafes. A friendly waiter took our order but managed to bring me sparkling white wine instead of white wine but, hey ho.
Sitting sideways to the passing pedestrians we could both indulge in people watching. 🙂
A long relaxing lunch rounded off with my latest aftermeal drink, a macchiato. Like a mini capuccino. ‘where next?’ sighed Lou. The canal. I had read that there are seven secrets in Bologna but the only mention I could find was of the canal. Apparently you had to peer through a hatch on via piela. We found ourselves close to yesterday’s wander and found not a hatch but a wall. We could lean over and see another bridge further away.
That was my list done but I hankered to go back to San Stefano as I spotted after leaving I had missed another church. Lou huffed and puffed but stomped off in that direction. We passed the two towers again that symbolise Bologna. Asinelli and Garisenda had punctuated all our wanderings as all roads seem to radiate out from them. We had opted not to climb the 498 steps to look at the view. The staircase is said to be pretty scary: wooden and narrow and with two-way traffic. Add the lean factor….. Garisenda is shorter but leans more. Surprisingly not open to the public! 🙂 Not many photographers have been up Asinelli either it would seem as no postcard exists of this much vaunted view.
At San Stefano I hurried round to the church I had missed…and found my way barred at the open door. So I had to peer to see the assortment of column tops, some dating from Roman times but couldn’t make out any 6th century mosaic tiling. I rejoined Lou where he sat on a low wall in the shade and watched a group ‘follow the flag’ out of the piazza. I’ve cream was needed we agreed. After slurping down coffee gelato it was back to the apartment by way of a postcard stop. No pastries arrived so we had space for dinner later at ristorante Bertino just up the road. Greeted like old friends we ate well and watched the buses go by. As we left, the effusive owners told us to be sure to come back to Bologna. We will but only after dieting first! 🙂