Having duly checked in, I set off again still with no map and no clue where I was going. Luckily enough, there was just one straight road to follow to get into the city centre, the Via dell'Indipendenza. It was early Saturday evening by this time, and after somnolent Padua, I was shocked by the buzz on the street. It almost seemed to have a festival vibe to it, or the feeling when a big concert or sporting event lets out and everyone takes to the street en masse. It seemed like everyone in Bologna was there. When I managed to pick up a map from the tourist office, I read that it is in fact a tradition in Bologna to promenade up and down this street on a Saturday night. It was amazing how energetic and lively it made the city seem.
I spent that first evening just walking around, and particularly admiring the many colonnaded walkways that line almost every street. It was at one point compulsory to have these built on every street, so they're an ubiquitous feature of the city. Unfortunately, it rained for much of the time that I was there, but if you want to be anywhere in rainy weather, it's Bologna, since you can get from A to B all over the city without getting wet! Many of the colonnades also have pretty decorated ceilings or other interesting individual flourishes as well.
|This was something like out of The Birds - look how they're all flying straight at me!|
|Statue of Neptune by day|
|And his lounging shadow by night|
|The two towers of Bologna - they seemed to be leaning at much crazier angles than this photo shows|
I also tried another speciality, tortelloni, served in a broth and filled with what seemed to be a sort of pork filling. Another dish I had was a bolognese cutlet - veal covered with prosciutto and parmesan. I only had this because it was on a fixed-price menu, it's not the sort of thing I would normally order. It was okay, but not my favourite thing I had in Bologna. There's one other speciality I read about, mortadella, a sort of pork sausage, but I didn't get to try that.
And talking of looks of horror - I asked a waiter if he had rosé and he said no, but they had white and red and he could "make me some" if I wanted. No thanks!!