We head in the direction of two very tall towers, which happen to be referred to as "Two Towers". So we make our way to Porta Ravegnana Square and there they are, one taller than the other and one leaning.....a lot!
The Asinelli Tower, the taller of the two was built in 1109 and is 319 feet tall with an inner staircase of 498 steps completed in 1684. The Garisenda tower built around the same time is much smaller (154 feet).
It's now about 1pm and after passing so many little cafe's with tables lined up outside on the cobblestone streets we decide it's time to have some lunch. We end up in Piazza Minghetti and find Ristorante "da Ercole". Here we eat outside in a tented terrace with heat! The prices were mid to high range, averaging between 8 and 12 euros. We start with a bottle of Sangiovese wine from the Romagna region and a platter of assorted cheeses and bread.
Before the main course I must also have some authentic Gnocchi and Stijn has Tortellini in Brodo, a pasta stuffed with mincemeat, salami and herbs in a broth. Then our plates come, Stijn has Straccetti di Manzo con Rucole which is thin slices of beef with rocket lettuce and a garlic & rosemary sauce. I decide to have the Polenta con Funghi Porcini which is polenta with porcini mushrooms and gorgonzola, because I have never had polenta before, and now I can say "okay, had that, don't need to have it again". Pretty flavorless except for the porcini mushrooms.
Stuffed and happy with our choice for this late lunch we waddle back onto the streets of Bologna for some more sightseeing. Nothing better than a good walk after a huge lunch, and what better place to take a walk then through the streets of Bologna.
As we walk under more of those wonderful porticoes we see some more incredible architecture. But equally incredible to me are the butcher shops and their amazing display of meats and poultry. Let the pictures speak for themselves.
"Honey, can you pick me up a whole chicken and some lamb at the market" has a whole different meaning here in Italy.
Well it's getting dark now so we decide to head back in the direction of our room. But we are stopped dead in our tracks by one more unexpected surprise. Another outdoor market! This one on the little square just before our hotel. There are only about 4 rows of vendors, but these vendors are selling meats, cheeses, breads, olive oils, wines, chocolates, pastries! God love Italy! We make our first pass through to see everything and then Stijn has an incredible idea. "How about we just pick us up some meat and cheese along with some bread and a bottle of wine and take it to our room"? he says to me in complete genius theory. "We could have a picnic on the bed", I replied. He just got a big smile on his face. So we go to one of the meat vendors and they slice us off some parma ham right from the leg of the pig.
And then we go to a cheese vendor and decide from the tower of cheeses which one to have sliced for us.
We pick out a round of bread and a bottle of wine and away we go to enjoy our picnic in our room on the bed.
While we are curled up on the bed sipping wine and nibbling on meat and cheese with some bread we make a toast to another magnificent day together and reminisce about our day in Bologna and all the great expected and unexpected things we were able to see and do today.
All good things must come to an end and we must head back to Brussels this morning. And then to make this trip to Bologna even more magical, it begins to snow.
What a great surprise!
If you would like to see more pictures of what we saw and what we did go to Where's Debbie and click on the album "Bologna"