In Bologna to explore the ceramic tile fair Cersaie, we decided to discover the underrated Italian city
When you think Italy, the cities that come to mind are Milan, Florence, Venice, and Rome, and if you decide to get a little adventurous, maybe the Tuscany region. Ever thought of visiting Bologna? Well, we happened to go there and stumbled into several delightful surprises. Like every other place in Italy, it’s full of history and the mystery that comes with it. Here is our to-do list for the city
An ancient Roman road | We were hanging around the steps of what turned out to be the Sala Borsa Library, at Piazza Maggiore, the city square, when we decided to follow a group inside. Walk inside and you see students as well as older people making themselves comfortable in the library or taking turns at playing the piano. Take a look at the glass flooring under your feet and staring back at you are the ruins of an ancient Roman road. Spend a couple of minutes to contemplate the transport in those days moving along that road.
Window to a canal | In Italy, and pretty much all of Europe, people love to walk, and good things come to those who wait…and walk! As we strolled towards the city center, we saw a woman lift a child to peep through what was a window on the wall of a street. Curiosity, naturally, got the better of us and we decided to take a look too, and guess what? A perfect canal, with pretty balconies on either side. So, well, it’s not just Venice that has them!
Italian gelato | This is something we recommend every day that you are in Bologna. The flavours include tiramisu, chocolate as well as divine fruity ones. Make it a memorable experience by walking into the homegrown Italian chain Venchi, and look up some awesome chocolate as the man at the counter makes you the perfect gelato.
Like every other place in Italy, it’s full of history and the mystery that comes with it.
Three arrows | This one we actually went looking for, on our last night in the city. Determined to find it, we walked up and down the main square, passing stores that housed the big brands, asking friendly Italians for directions, till we came across the entrance of Casa Isolani, marked with three arrows. Legend has it that a rich lord asked three assassins to kill his cheating wife with arrows. However, she threw them offguard by appearing naked, prompting them to shoot into the ceiling, where the arrows have been stuck since. A group of students pointed above the portico, where we could see the faint outline of an arrow. It’s worth taking a trip to find the other two!
Osteria del Sole | We read about this on a blog before leaving for Bologna and it made it to our must-do list. Want to know why? For starters, it’s 500-years-old and is a hole, well actually, a rectangle in the wall. There’s no signboard to announce the existence of the eatery, located on the street via Ranocchi (between via Orefici and via Pescherie). The current owners have had it in their family for the last 80 years and it’s still thriving. When we went it was filled with customers ordering drinks and settling down to open the food they had brought along. There’s no sign of it closing it for a few more decades at the least.
As we said, the city’s full of lovely surprises!
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