I do not have any photos of the oppressive Bologna train station. The construction site (where the bus stop was supposed to be) may not have been malicious, but the numerous customer service signs that pointed nowhere certainly were. I’m sure the experience would have inspired Dante for one of his circles of hell.
On the plus side, it was in this train station that I learned exactly how much Spanish I do know after all, and how well Spanish may be used to converse with an Italian police officer when asking for directions.
Once we finally emerged from the train station with a sense of direction (an hour after arriving, but at least the rain had stopped), this is one of the first sights that met us:
I have no idea what that is, but it looks remarkably old. That’s what I love about Italy: the way ancient things crop up unexpectedly, everywhere you go.
Also, as has previously been covered, I love street views and architecture.
One of the best-known basilicas in Bologna is Santo Stefano, also called Seven Churches.
One of my favorite things in Bologna was the covered sidewalks, as this is what you saw when you looked up:
Bologna also has two towers, built in the twelfth century, though one of them had a bad foundation and was abandoned unfinished.
The city also had some pretty cool graffiti.
Other sights on our afternoon walk:
My Italian friend in Padua told us about a church that had a mummified nun on display, which certainly sounded worth seeing.
In a small side room, we found the nun. The atmosphere was one of the most solemn of all the places I’ve visited in Italy, with the other women in the room keeping complete silence, so I didn’t feel right taking out my camera. But you can see a picture of her on the wiki page, of course.
Back outdoors, we found more conventionally pleasing sights.
Bologna is known as the food capital of the world, and I wish I had solid food reviews, but perhaps my expectations rose too high — I never had the transcendent experience I was looking for. I do recommend Restaurant da Nello al Montegrappa, which was near our hotel and very tourist-friendly while maintaining quality and an authentic atmosphere. After being disappointed by my first taste of panna cotta in Rome, I was amazed by its texture and flavor here. And I could have drunk several more glasses of sgroppino — an amazing concoction of prosecco, vodka, and lemon sorbet — if only it weren’t quite so expensive.
As we remained on foot inside the city center, I’m sure there’s a lot we didn’t get to see, but it was a satisfying peek into an Italian city new to us. And it was a hell of a beautiful day.