"Bologna...a University town" Bologna by mapakettle
Bologna Travel Guide: 1,029 reviews and 2,935 photos
Bologna was a destination Ma Kettle and I had been wanting to visit for awhile, but just never had the opportunity.
Usually we like to visit first, get a lay of the land, do some casual wandering, and then return on another day to do some serious sightseeing. This practice is relatively easy for us since we live in Padova. Access to Trenitalia is quick, destinations at our choosing.
The fare to Bologna from Padova, second class on Regionale, was euro 11,46 for the two of us, one way, and Eurostar was considerably higher. The trip took approximately one hour and twenty minutes, with about four or five stops in between. I slept most of the way, and between naps, listened attentively to two young ladies across the aisle describe someone, or something, using their hands, and laughing uproariously. This was obviously said in Italian, and I enjoyed watching this elderly gent turning his good ear towards the young ladies, as his wife was elbowing him in the side. I can only 'imagine' the subject matter, as he caught my eye and winked, nodding in their direction. Ma Kettle was fast asleep, 'old gents' wife sat quietly and fumed.
We arrived in wonderful bright sunshine, warm and inviting. Ma Kettle had the map, as always, and quickly found Via dell'Indipendenza, which leads directly to Piazza Maggiore, the city hub.
We got sidetracked however, by the market set up in the Piazza Dell'Otto Agosto, and wandered through the numerous stalls, promoting the usual 'stuff' we have now pretty much determined comes from the same suppliers throughout Northern Italy. Nothing new or different, many shoes, handbags, euro1merchants, and scarves in every colour and quality.
We spent too much time meandering about the market place, and my stomach was reminding me that it was lunch time. Fortunately, Ma Kettle and I were in agreement, and we even agreed on the same restaurant at the same time. This in itself was noteworthy. Chinese food, we'd not had any since our disaster in Verona at Easter. So stop we did. The name was (I think) RU YI, located Piazza 8 Agosto, 30a. Check the restaurant section for our description.
Tummys filled, content once again, (I'm like a cat, feed me, I'm happy), we emerged back into the warmth of the sun, and discovered another little section of the market, quite removed from the main part. Actually, I don't think they are associated at all, as goods are somewhat different. Most of what we saw were hand-made goods fashioned by the stall proprietors themselves. Loads of silver or copper jewelery, beaded bracelets, bars of soap containing hemp, and the most unusual item I've ever seen, a stall displaying boats, the hulls of which were old shoes, cleverly adorned with masts brightly painted, and odd-ball knicknacks glued to the decks. Very different, unique in design, but requiring a better home than Ma Kettle and I could provide.
Continuing on, we now found ourselves at the start of miles and miles of the covered porticos for which Bologna is famous. We also found shoulder to shoulder people, seemingly all walking against the natural flow.
The ages of fellow shoppers dropped way below Ma Kettle's and mine, and we felt rather like fish out of water. The clothing in shop windows would require a seamstress to stitch two articles together for us to even attempt a fitting, and the euro 250 shoes looked most uncomfortable, plus looked really, really STUPID...
Via dell'Indipendenza is lined both sides with countless upscale shops selling everything for the fashion conscious shopper. It is a marvel that stores can be profitable selling inventory at these prices in a University town. This is a puzzle that requires more investigation by yours truly.
As we approached Piazza Maggiore, we became aware of large groups of machine-gun toting paramilitary-looking police, with the all-too-common blue and white vehicles parked in a cluster.
Unknown to us, Ma Kettle and I had joined a demonstration march, led, I believe, by non-Italian descent workers protesting some new law. Peaceful enough, but we're from Canada, this sort of thing is unusual for us. Why machine guns... and why so large a force? Overkill in our opinion.
Our enjoyment of Bologna hit an all time low at this point. We quickly passed through the demonstrators, walked up the steps into the safe sanctuary of the Basilica di S. Petronio, and wandered about this massive structure. Interesting facade, as the original design of the church had called for marble construction throughout, but lack of funds (actually diversion of funding) caused a dramatic change from a marble base, to a rough brick. Rather dramatic, but quite stunning. A definite photo op.
Ma Kettle enjoyed the opportunity to attend mass, and persuaded Pa Kettle to accompany her. I was thrilled...
After church, we sat at an outdoor cafe, had coffee, and a sweet, paid a ridiculous price of euro 14, and escaped while the espresso was souring my stomach..
Darkness has fallen, and Ma Kettle and I were preparing to leave. We spotted a sign board advertising Mexican food at a restaurant called Piedra Del Sol, located on a small side street (almost an alley) Via Goito, 20, close to the centre.
It had been almost 18 months since we'd eaten Mexican, so, throwing all caution to the wind, we went in search. We walked the 'alley' twice before we found it. We've got an extensive review under our restaurant page.
We eventually made our way to the train station. We had a choice, either the Express, at regular price, or Eurostar, which left ten minutes earlier, at a premium of over twice as much. We chose Express, and later laughed because they announced (in train station garble), that Eurostar would be late, but then let out a sigh as our train was forced to wait for their passangers.
We were entertained once again by a demonstration of police power, as a squad of riot police, equipped with machine guns, helmuts and clear lexan shields escorted a group of 'now passive' soccer fans on to the train platform, and held them to await the arrival of Eurostar destained for Rome.
An interesting day overall for the Kettles.
- Pros:Lots of life and vitality
- Cons:Very high prices at common bars, takes advantage of students
- In a nutshell:Certainly worth a second visit by Ma Kettle and myself
Well, I can't say I recommend it, but drinking beer is safer than many sports that I can think of. My son for example,... more travel advice
mapakettle's Related Pages
Bologna Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "BOLOGNA - "La Turrita""
- "My way to stay in Bologna!"
- "Bologna - Capital of Emilia-Romagna"
- "Bologna - The Red City"
- "Cattedrale di San Pietro"
- "Fat and fabulous"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Bologna
- Hotels in Bologna
- Transportation in Bologna
- Nightlife in Bologna
- Restaurants in Bologna
- Shopping in Bologna
- Warnings and Dangers in Bologna
- See All...
Explore the World
Badges & Stats in Bologna
- 3 Reviews
- 6 Photos
- 0 Forum posts
- 5 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (9)
Have you been to Bologna?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Bologna
Photos in BolognaSee All Photos (6)
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination Padova Intro, 94 reviews, 179 photos, 5 travelogues
- Venice Intro, 53 reviews, 112 photos, 1 travelogue
- Montecchio Maggiore Intro, 12 reviews, 60 photos, 2 travelogues
- Santa Lucia di Piave Intro, 16 reviews, 53 photos
- Calalzo Intro, 12 reviews, 48 photos, 2 travelogues
- Carolei Intro, 26 reviews, 32 photos
- Las Vegas Intro, 31 reviews, 26 photos
- Santorini Island Intro, 26 reviews, 29 photos
- Valeggio sul Mincio Intro, 13 reviews, 40 photos, 3 travelogues
- Dachau Intro, 12 reviews, 36 photos
FriendsSee All Friends (64)
Latest Bologna hotel reviews
- Jolly Hotel Bologna
- 64 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 19, 2013
- Zanhotel & Meeting Centergross Bologna
- 7 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Mar 18, 2013
- Hotel Atlantic
- 46 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 12, 2013
- Jolly Hotel Villanova
- 17 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 4, 2013
- Hotel Pedrini
- 12 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 12, 2013
- Unaway Hotel Bologna Fiera
- 8 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Aug 29, 2012
- TOP Hotel Park Bologna
- 50 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Mar 18, 2013
- Ostello Due Torri-San Sisto 2
- 12 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Sep 26, 2012
- Metropolitan Hotel
- 266 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 14, 2013
- Hotel Orologio
- 94 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 10, 2013
- Antica Residenza d'Azeglio
- 219 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 15, 2013
- Hotel Paradise
- 244 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 16, 2013
- Castello di Galeazza
- 22 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 17, 2012
- I Portici Charming House B&B
- 2 Reviews & Opinions
- Hotel Maxim
- 8 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Mar 11, 2013