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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Bologna, Emilia Romagna, Italy

May 19, 2018 - Pienza, Montepulciano and San Gimignano

My two weeks in Siena have flown quickly and I am now back in Bologna about to head home, including the new 17 hour flight from London to Perth. Last Saturday, one of my fellow students, Alberto (from Switzerland), drove Leanne and I to the towns of Pienza and Montepulciano, about 60 km from Siena. As these are both hilltop towns, there were very typical views of verdant green rolling hills covered by bright red poppies, the occasional sunflower and quite a few vineyards. The light was especially great at about 6.30 as we were leaving, with...

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Apr 30, 2018 - Back in Italy!

THERE’S NO DOUBT THAT I AM BACK IN ITALY: 1. WHEN the buses are very cheap (50 cents $A a trip here in Bologna) and the trains are always ‘in ritardo’ (late). The digital schedules at the station even have a column to show how late the trains are! However I can report that the Freccia (arrow) trains are pretty impressive and seem to run on time. They travel at about 250km/hour with dedicated platforms. I took one from Bologna to Florence, where I am now staying for one week. 2. WHEN I regretfully realise that I must take one of the inside...

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Oct 16, 2017 - Our First Cooking Class

We started off the day with a typical Italian breakfast in the lovely Casa Gregorio’s cappuccino bar. And what a breakfast it was, everything homemade with local organic ingredients - two types of frittata, ham & cheese rolls, beautiful fruit, pastries, and incredible fresh out of the oven crossiants. Wanda chose to smather hers in Nutella! Of course you could have your coffee fixed any way to your liking - from cappuccinos to espresso to cafe’ americano with hot milk. We then set off down the hill to the town of Arpino, birthplace of...

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Tre Donne in Italia

Oct 14, 2017 - Last Day in Bologna

Today is our last day in Bologna. Today no alarms so we all slept in and got a little bit of a late start. On our way to the TI to get bus directions--we all wanted to go back up to the Basilica di San Luca--we were quite surprised to see so many people on the streets. We realized it was Saturday and the roads around Piazza Maggiore are closed to traffic on weekends. Plus Cefa, a non-profit dedicated to improving family and community economies in Africa, was having a major fundraising event on piazza. The entire piazza was covered with a...

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Tre Donne in Italia

Oct 13, 2017 - Day Trip to Ravenna

Today we were off to Ravenna. We boarded the 9:06am train for the 1-1/2 hour train trip. Ravenna was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire from 402 until that empire collapsed in 476. Now Ravenna is best known for the colorful Roman and Byzantine mosaics, acknowledged by UNESCO as World Heritage. Our first stop was the TI in Piazza S. Francesco to get a walking map of the city highlights. Just so happened next door was a charming cafe - Caffe Pasticceria Palumbo, so we stopped in for a quick late-morning snack - cappuccinos and...

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Tre Donne in Italia

Oct 12, 2017 - Day of Waiting

Day of Waiting - After doing a load of laundry we went to the Bologna train station to inquire about and purchase tickets for a day trip to Ravenna on Friday to see the mosaics. In order to speak to someone you take a number and wait your turn - we had to wait some 20 plus minutes. Having agreed to purchase ‘open’ tickets we inquired as to the schedule of trains - the person waiting on us couldn’t find a schedule so he rattled off some times. Luckily we understood a couple of them, so we are planning on taking the 9:06 am train tomorrow...

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Tre Donne in Italia

Oct 11, 2017 - Day of Churches

We are off to a good start in Bologna. In that rare instance, our apartment is nicer in person than it looked in the photos on the internet and the weather forecast is sun and mid-70's for the rest of the week. Could my rain curse be broken? Our first stop today was to be the Piazza Maggiore (just a few blocks from our apartment) to visit the TI to get maps and info on the city and get tickets for the hop on hop off (HOHO) bus. Before we could get there we found the Madonnna di Galliera Church that was built in 14th century and renovated in...

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Tre Donne in Italia

Oct 10, 2017 - Transit to Bologna

Today was another transit day. We hated to say goodbye to Varenna - such a lovely town with charm oozing from every little alleyway. Wanda buys another three Italian scarves! Judy B set off a little early to find her camera that she left at Villa Monastero yesterday afternoon. She came back smiling, elated that the gardener had found it. After brunch at the Ill Binario restaurant at the quaint train station, it was off to Bologna. Wow, what a culture shock - to go from small town friendly atmosphere to big city fast driving chaotic hubbub....

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Tre Donne in Italia

Jun 8, 2017 - Last day in Bologna

Thursday: When we set out the target today was the university area but we got waylaid by two more churches. The first was San Martino Maggiore which was inviting and had a very nice feel to it. We have developed a kind of rating system out of ten for churches (nearly all do above five out of ten). This one was about eight. The second was the much bigger San Giacomo Maggiore begun in 1257. In spite of its size it did not appeal as much (6/10) but its reputation rested mainly on one chapel built by the Bentivoglio family to celebrate the...

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Jun 7, 2017 - A bit more Bologna

Wednesday: This morning was spent at the Archiginnasio, Bologna's old university. Although the university is the oldest in Europe, it did not get this special building until 1565, bringing together all the various faculties. The main courtyard as well as the walls and ceilings of all stairwells, corridors and many rooms are covered in memorials to famous professors as well as the coats of arms of their students - over 6000 of them! A highlight was the Teatro Anatomico, the original medical faculty dissection theatre. This handsome lecture...

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Jun 5, 2017 - More from Bologna

Sunday: What else to do on a Sunday but visit churches? Dominating one side of Piazza Maggiore is the basilica of San Petronio. It looks rather odd from the outside as although it was started in 1398 the facade has never been completely finished. The lower parts are beautiful in pink and white marble while the upper sections remain dull dark brick. It was intended to be larger than St Peter's in Rome and is nearly so. The Gothic interior is cavernous and light filled. Mass was being said to a small congregation at the front altar and the...

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Jun 3, 2017 - Bologna

Friday (Cont): The city seemed rather quiet on the drive from the station and when we arrived at the Hotel Al Capello Rosso we were told that it was a holiday for the Republic. We were taken to our apartment just down the road and given a tour and it was easy to get lost. The front door opened into an hexagonal vestibule in which you could swing a cat. From there five doors led into spacious and well appointed rooms - a kitchen with large table, a sitting room with dining table, bedroom with much storage, another little vestibule which led...

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