After eight wonderful days in Sicily, it was time to move on to Bologna. A short hop in Rome and we arrive in Bologna mid-afternoon. Our hotel, Art Hotel Commercianti, is located in the heart of the medieval center, in the historic building that housed the 12th-century Municipality of Bologna. It overlooks the gothic windows of the monumental basilica of San Petronio. Yes, we hear the church bells ringing quite often. They are not offensive…yet.
The first order of business was to find some wine and a snack. It wasn’t too hard to walk a few steps to accomplish that!
Our hotel is centrally located so we strolled around checking out the people, landmarks, and shops. It was nice to see that people in the city appreciate fashion and dress nicely. The Italian men were fun to ogle and I still don’t know how the Italian women can navigate the streets in their stiletto heels.
The Fountain of Neptune is a fountain located in Piazza del Nettuno, next to Piazza Maggiore, in Bologna. Antimo told us the legend of this statue when we toured Bologna a few years ago. According to legend, when the 16th-century sculptor Giambologna was constructing the fountain, Pope Pius IV became concerned by the manliness of Neptune and ordered the genitals made smaller. (The fountain was commissioned to symbolize the Pope’s power and reign, as he ruled the land like Neptune ruled the water.)
Because you don’t say no to the Pope, Giambologna grudgingly obliged, but secretly got his revenge. While standing behind and to the right of the statue, observers might notice Neptune’s hand is extended in a particular way. His thumb pokes out past his leg, creating the illusion that the god seems very … excited … indeed. One need only look down at the statue’s shadow (at the right time in the afternoon) to confirm the sea god’s firmness and virility. Which we did!
Dinner time brought everyone in the city out to the restaurants. We had to weave our way through some of the streets they were so packed with people.
The last time we were in Bologna, we had a cooking class and made tortellini and tortelloni. Since we are back, we had to try the specialties of the region for dinner. And the regional wine is Sangiovese – OKAY!
An early night to rest up for the days ahead!