BOLOGNA (BUH-LONE-YUH)

Originally written November 20, 2016

So as you can see in the title, Bologna, Italy is not pronounced “buh-lo-knee” like you’d probably think from the spelling. And no, the meat “bologna” was not invented in Bologna, Italy…bologna is a fatty meat invented by Americans and Italians will not think its too funny if you pronounce it that way.

For our third and last weekend in Italy, we decided we wanted to visit Venice after going back and forth between there, Lake Como and the Cinque Terre. It was a really tough choice because we wanted to do all of those places but definitely didn’t have the time or money to make that happen. So we went with the city that will probably be underwater in the 50 years or so…Venezia. So we knew we wanted to visit Venice but we were told by our program advisers that we should try to see another city on the way. I had read about the city of Bologna on various blogs and suggested it to the group. Bologna is famous for their pasta, cheese and meats…so how could it not be awesome? We spent the week before planning this weekend, buying train tickets and booking hotel/Airbnb arrangements for the trip.

That Friday, we took off on a train from Rome to Bologna early in the morning. We made it to Bologna and worked around the language barrier trying to find our Airbnb. Bologna is actually a residential area of Italy and is quite spread out aka pretty difficult to get around. We finally found the location of our Airbnb and met up with the nice lady that was lending her apartment to us for the night. It was actually really funny because one of the guys that was with us had seen a picture of the Airbnb owner on the phone app and was convinced that she was this young, gorgeous Italian woman…but she actually turned out to be a 40-50 year old woman. Not really sure if the lady was the owner’s mom or something but us girls thought it was so funny that she didn’t turn out to be the hot girl the guys thought she would be. After getting all of our belongings into the apartment, we went to look for the one thing we were always looking for in Italy…food. We ate at a cute little pizza place before exploring Bologna further. But, the combination of pizza and beer made us super tired and after we all paid 13 euros a piece for a bus tour of the city, all but 2 of us passed out on the entire ride. I woke up literally one time when we made it to the top of the city, tried to take a picture of the view, but the picture turned out real blurry since I was half asleep while taking it. After the tour, we were energized again and explored the city further, purchasing gourmet pasta of many different shapes for family and friends back home and searching for the Statue of Neptune. The Statue of Neptune turned out to be under construction from damage and was completely covered by a huge white tent…so that would be why we couldn’t find the statue. Us ladies did a little shopping and actually found some cool things before taking the bus back to the apartment to freshen up.

That night we set out for the town again. Of course we had to try this food that Bologna was famous for. We walked around for about an hour trying to find somewhere to eat but it was so late already and the city was so big. Finally, we came across a small restaurant called Osteria del Fiore. “Osteria” means “family-owned” just like “trattoria,” so if you see either of those words, it usually means the food is super authentic and made to order. “Del Fiore” means “of the flower,” which I thought was a pretty cool name for a restaurant. Since it was late, we peeked our heads inside to see if he was still open and he was literally so kind and so happy to meet us. We sat down and started off with the best Italian house white wine I had while in Italy. It was so crisp and really affordable as well. As always, I shared a liter with someone else for only about 4.50 euros a piece. What a deal. Okay so most people think that “tortellini” means cheese-filled pasta, but there is actually a different word for cheese-filled pasta. “Tortellini” means meat-filled pasta, while “tortelloni” is cheese-filled pasta. So thats a fun fact for you Americans. At the Osteria del Fiore, we ordered bruschetta as an appetizer (typical). I ordered the most delicious tortelloni filled with ricotta and spinach in a butter sauce, grilled zucchini, and lemon sorbetto for dessert. Once again I will say– best meal I’ve ever had in my life. All of my friends enjoyed their meals too and we were absolutely stuffed after that.

We had our sights set on hitting up the night life scene that night, but after dinner we couldn’t move, it was about 12 AM and honestly I think we were all a little tipsy from the strong Italian wine. So, I know its lame, but we went back to the Airbnb, hung out together for a little while, and then went to sleep. After staying up late every night in Rome, its almost impossible to make it on the weekends in other cities, but so worth it. Plus we had to wake up at the crack of dawn yet again to make our train to the beautiful and magical Venice.

I’ll tell you all of about Venice in my next post…Ciao for now!