True, Florence and Milan are home to some of the world's most celebrated artworks as well as fashion houses, but in my view, Bologna exudes a far stronger sense of refinement, elegance, and a more vibrant ambiance. Bologna may not be home to Michelangelo or Prada, but the sum of the city's fabulous parts make the place stand out. The city's handsome porticoes are just a part of it, so are the beautiful architecture, the numerous good restaurants, excellent jazz bars and pubs, the goodlooking Bolognese and the vibrant youthful atmosphere, thanks to the city's 90,000-strong student population. Even the graffiti are more colorful and artistic than those in Rome and Milan!
More pictures from fabulous Bologna in this travelogue.
Beer drinking...at a Sports bar
Well, I can't say I recommend it, but drinking beer is safer than many sports that I can think of.
My son for example, operates a martial arts school in Canada. I would think any maneuver he teaches would be worth two beer for the danger factor, even in slow motion.
However, drinking beer often includes navigating across a busy sports bar, weaving in and around like-minded patrons, twisting hips back and forth between tables while smiling that alcoholic lear at sweet young hostesses carrying trays of brew, with the final feat of traversing steep stairs either up or down to the potty.
The simple act of 'relief' requires great dexterity, sure footedness, thoughtful planning, a certain knowledge of Geography, a homing instinct, and intuition (knowing when the bill will arrive)(bonus points if tab is settled without any imput from yourself).
Beer drinking is a sport 'Not for the faint of Heart'. I tried a different type of beer that was unknown to me until I read the menu. The beer is made from a combination of Hemp leaves and flowers, plus more stuff to make it beer. It was called Hanfblute.
The aroma is dominated by hemp and hops, much like the scent of a dying flower garden. The color is yellow rather than golden, and, once poured, produces a lovely head, light and frothy. The first swallow produces no immediate taste, but a slight bitter after taste of hemp remains.
A rather special beer... just not sure if I liked it. The cost at euro 5 per beer prohibits me from checking out the hangover factor.
This beer is available at Piedra Del Sol, a very popular Sports Bar in Bologna. They have a lot of odd-ball brews available. As a Sports Bar, it appears to be a fun place.
Bologna Central Train Station
The main station building is neoclassical style, its distinctive fifteenth century facade opens in nine entrance doors, and is towered by the trademark clock tower with its marble pillars. It has the fifth largest passenger traffic in Italy (58 million a year, 800 trains a day).
In August 1980 a terrorist bomb exploded inside the main station killing 85 people and injuring more than 200. The main clock stopped and the time and today still shows the exact time of the explosion so check the others before you start raining for the train.
A large electronic departure board shows the next few hours departures and there are smaller displays on each platform. Tickets can be bought to most destinations via the automated machines which also display in English. Remember to buy your tickets the day before if you want a discount. I found the machines easy to use and like euro notes better than credit cards though maybe it will like your's more lol. There are quite a small few shops in the main lobby area selling food, magazines and tourist tack.
There is a Tourist Information office at the station but I found it useless unless your booking accomodation. Go to the main office at Piazzali Maggiore instead. Busses leave from just outside the main entrance and will take you to anywhere in Bologna.
Bars open late (for us) in Bologna. We ventured out at around 20:30 and found this one not too far from home. Great wine list to choose from and several Beers from Munich too, difficult choice - tried both. Food menu simple but excellent crostini and salad for us. Friendly atmosphere, and fun, enjoyed ourselves, again.
Admire the fine trident in the guy's hand!
Piazza Nettuno is the place to hang out. Sit on the steps of what I think is the Municipal Library (wonderful! go inside! see that scary floor!) -- and talk with everyone. Quite an upbeat crowd, no poseurs here, a sort of May 68 atmosphere with a Gothic touch.