Gelati and Spaghetti.
Ferrara and Bologna, Sunday 20th & Monday 21st April
After an interesting drive along some unkempt secondary roads past vineyards and farming land we made our way to Ferrara. Along the way we had to stop in a small village where Ewout had to negotiate the purchase of some bread from a small takeaway café (Easter Sunday no shops were open) we drove on to the large municipal carpark that also served at a camperstop and found a spot with many other campers, most of which were Italian. It was about lunchtime so we had our usual fare of bread, cheese, various meat products and other regional delicacies before walking into the centre of town. We were surprised at the amount of people who were wandering into the town through the small narrow streets and we decided that it must be a local thing to do. As we walked along it was obvious there were family groups and young couples walking along, doing window shopping, stopping to buy Gelato and others sitting in the cafes eating and drinking. We bought a Gelato Zabaglione flavour near the centre square and enjoyed the creamy sweetness of it while we watched the people go by. We found Ferrara very interesting, its old buildings in the Renaissance style captivated our imagination and again we wandered through the Easter market and down cobbled streets just to see where they go.
The next morning we drove about an hour to Bologna and found a park on a tree lined street about a kilometre and a half from the centre of the town. The sky looked a bit grey so we packed our rain jackets and headed into town. The first thing we noticed was the arched colonnades lining the streets where the pedestrians walked, and found out later that there had been a decree in the 13th century that all building had to contain them to keep the weather off the people. When we got the main square we found it to be very busy and walked around getting a look at the buildings then decided to buy a coffee and have a sit to work out what to do. After asking the waitress where the Information centre was, we walked the short distance to get a map to work out a plan. Walking back into the centre square we encounter the loudest busker we have ever heard. Complete with generator, massive speakers and in front of a Harley Davidson motorbike he played guitar, sang and had a large gathering around him, he apparently is a well-known regular performer in the town. We saw many street performers as we walked, as well as beggars and Gypsies asking for money. We started off down the main shopping street which was very crowded with locals and out of Towner’s strolling the street, window shopping and socialising amongst themselves. We followed a walking tour route and made our way clockwise along the large and small streets, looking in at different Church building, stopping to admire different aspects of architecture or a curiosity that caught our eye. Our main decision that day was to have Spaghetti Bolognaise in Bologna and after a wander through the Old Jewish quarter we found a pleasant place to sit and order the Tagliatelle with Ragu (Bolognaise sauce) and a local red wine. It was delicious and we ended up sitting a long time soaking up the atmosphere and resting our feet. After lunch we continued on with the walk through interesting streets under the colonnades and also wandered into the old Medical University which has amazing frescoes along the walls and ceilings. It had started to rain lightly so we donned our brightly covered jackets and winding in and out of the colonnades we finally made our way back to the camper.