44 Photos - Jun 2, 2016
Photo: We arrived in Bologna for our six week stay during the week-long period in which they bring the famous icon of the Virgin Mary down from San Luca to the Cathedral. At the end of the week, they bring her back up the hill.

Our place was around the corner from the Cathedral, so we saw a lot of people attending Mass and heard a lot of church bells our first week in town. We also got to see the beginning of the procession back up the hill, pictured here.Photo: Beginning of the procession of the Madonna back up the hill to San Luca, Bologna, May 2016Photo: Chris found an unexpected (and largely unknown) tourist attraction. A furniture store in Bologna, Roche Bobois, uncovered an old Roman road while doing some renovation. They left it intact and it's on display. We went a few times during our stay and never saw anyone else there.

You kind of have to sneak through the store to get to it.Photo: Here I am, standing on the Roman Road in Roche BoboisPhoto: ... and in Florence, just before date night at L'Osteria di Giovanni, where we had the best meal I've ever had in Italy.Photo: Our friend Roger Sayre arrived midway through our time in Bologna, and stayed with us for a week.Photo: Chris and Roger, while we were out touring Bologna. This is on the Piazza Santo Stefano, right before we visited the Basilica of Santo Stefano, a really amazing ancient church in Bologna. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santo_Stefano,_BolognaPhoto: The Basilica of Santo Stefano, exterior. More pictures later - we visited the Basilica a second time with our friend Frank a week later.Photo: Medieval building on Piazza Maggiore, BolognaPhoto: Statue on Santa Maria de Vita, Bologna, beautiful church in the middle of town with a fantastic museum. Anyone else think the statue is reminiscent of Lord Palpatine from Star Wars?Photo: Roger and I climbed Torre Asinelli, the taller of the Two Towers. This is a view of Santo Stefano from the top of Asinelli. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Towers_of_BolognaPhoto: Looking down Via Castiglione from the top of Torre Asinelli. One of our favorite gelaterias was on this street, down past the big church in the upper left corner.Photo: Me, atop AsinelliPhoto: Italians are demonstrative!Photo: The second of the two towers, Garisenda, is mentioned in Dante's Inferno. The quote is on a plaque mounted on the side of the tower.Photo: After Roger left, a second visitor, my close friend Frank Alvarez, arrived from Florida. Here's Frank, Chris and I at the store, Gilberto, where we I bought 40 year old balsamic vinegar last year. The shop is a great place to pick up nice souvenirs to bring home ...Photo: ... like all sorts of torrone, which Frank's family introduced me to when we were kids. (His family liked the Spanish version called turron from Alicante, Spain.)Photo: One of our favorite gelaterie, the one down on Via Castiglione. We visited it several times ...Photo: ... I always enjoyed the ice cream there (I think this was banana sorbet, exquisite) ...Photo: ... as did Chris and Frank ...Photo: ... but we also enjoyed the people watching. This couple was having their lunch, a different kind of ice cream sandwiches than we are used to in the US. A large brioche roll stuffed with several scoops of gelato. Yeah, lunch.Photo: As you can tell, we all liked to eat. Tuesday night, we went out for pizza (which was fantastic).Photo: ... followed by gelato at our other favorite gelato place, Pellegrino. This place was just around the corner from our apartment and featured the creations of a true gelato genius, Giancarlo, and his wonderful partner Angela from Beijing. We asked Giancarlo if he would make torrone gelato for Frank when he arrived - and he did!Photo: Frank, Giancarlo, Chris, and me at PellegrinoPhoto: Another favorite place in Bologna - and also just around the corner from us - La Prosciutteria. A small chain that serves wonderful pork and cured meat products, mostly prosciutto but also porchetta and some meats we hadn't heard of before like chiannina. 

La Prosciutteria serves primarily two things - sandwiches (a couple of meats, cheeses, and condiments, you pick), and tagliate. A tagliata is a wooden board loaded with cold cuts, cheeses, salads, and condiments. You see people eating them all over Bologna. http://www.laprosciutteria.com/itPhoto: Me, Frank, and Chris eating sandwiches at La ProsciutteriaPhoto: Pretty facade in Bologna, which we saw as were were walking off the huge sandwiches we had just eaten for lunch.Photo: A fresco we saw across the street from the church in the previous picturePhoto: We then visited Santo Stefano (for the second time of the trip) with Frank. Chris took some pictures inside this time. Here's a picture that hangs inside the ancient and very beautiful Church of Saints Vitale and Agricola, part of the basilica complex (it comprises several churches), built in the 12th century.Photo: Fresco, Church of Saints Vitale and Agricola, Santo StefanoPhoto: Altar, Church of Saints Vitale and Agricola, Santo StefanoPhoto: Fresco, Santo StefanoPhoto: Fresco, Santo StefanoPhoto: Fresco, Santo StefanoPhoto: Fresco, Santo StefanoPhoto: Fresco, Santo StefanoPhoto: Fresco, Santo StefanoPhoto: On our last day in Bologna, Chris and I finally made it to the rooftop of the Basilica of San Petronio, the largest church in Bologna, which sits on Piazza Maggiore. This is a panoramic view of the hills behind Bologna with San Luca in the upper right.Photo: David from the top of San Petronio, the two towers in the backgroundPhoto: From the top of San Petronio: Santa Maria de Vita and the two towersPhoto: Chris and I atop San PetronioPhoto: Chris and the two towersPhoto: Last day walk through the Archiginnasio of Bologna. Fantastic place, originally the main building of the University of Bologna (world's oldest university), now a library. Notice "SPQB" (ala "SPQR") engraved in the portal here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archiginnasio_of_BolognaPhoto: Fresco with several towers, Archiginnasio of Bologna