We left Venice on a beautiful autumn day, sun shining and clear blue skies after three days of wintery weather. But never mind, we can’t have everything!
After an exhausting time in Venice we wanted a couple of days downtime before going to Bologna, so we stopped halfway at a small village called Castelgugliemo which has a municipal sosta. The sosta was excellent: it was clean and well laid out, with excellent facilities including electric, all for free. It’s one of the best non-campsite stops we’ve stayed at. There wasn’t much in the village at all – just a few shops and eateries – but we had a good time chilling out.
We’re now on a campsite on the outskirts of Bologna. We arrived late morning yesterday, and had an early lunch before catching the bus into the city centre. We’ve spent a day and a half exploring the city, and have had a fantastic time. Bologna has at least three nicknames: la dotta (the learned – it’s Europe’s oldest university town, founded in 1088); la rossa (the red – in recognition of its historical left wing politics); and la grassa (the fat – because of the food). The Quadriaterero district is the centre for the latter, and it really is a foodie heaven with markets and shops selling local produce – in particular cheese, ham, pasta, pastries and wine.
Bologna’s quite a compact city with most places reachable by foot, so we’ve enjoyed walking all around the city, mostly under the porticoes – the sheltered walkways which cover some 24 miles of the city. The weather has been great while we’ve been here, and we’re lucky that we didn’t visit at the beginning of the week when they had three inches of snow.
For lunch today we went to a family-owned restaurant which was recommended in The Guardian a few weeks back. It’s called Trattoria Valerio on via Avesella, and been in business for over 100 years. These days Papa looks after front of house while his daughter is head chef. They’d only found out the day before that they’d been recommended in a UK national newspaper, and Papa was made up. We had a lovely lunch there and the food was great. We also went to a traditional bar with a difference this evening – Osteria del Sole – where the wine is very reasonably priced and you bring your own food.
Tomorrow we will leave Bologna, and head towards Cinque Terre.