Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I'm in love again.   (No, I haven't met a handsome mature Italian man....darn!). I almost picked a language school in Ravenna, but decided on Bologna instead.  Darn!

Ravenna is just a lovely place.  There are no mountains, no sea, no rolling hills surrounding the city, just the flat plains typical of this part of the province of Emilia-Romanga.  But it's got a charm and appeal that are indisputable (in my opinion).  It was a 90 minute train trip east of Bologna that brought me to this engaging city.  There isn't much to see, other than a lot of churches and basilicas, but it's pretty easy to navigate.  The city is a short walk from the train station.

This is the first church I passed....but I didn't see a way to get in.  It made a nice picture, though.

I was at the main piazza after only a ten minute walk.

This is the second church I passed...again no entry, but a great tower.  This may be a second leaning tower in Italy.

And I was able to sneak a peek of this lovely courtyard.

I passed by a large theater, and guess who was the greeter in front.  Yup, there's my constant companion, Signore Girabaldi.

My first destination was Dante's tomb, housed modestly in this marble cupola.

And here is the tomb of this illustrious figure.

The Basilica of San Francesco was my next stop.  Couldn't get in here either.

But I did go into this one...the Bascilica di San Viale.

I took this second outside photo on the other side of the bascilica.  Notice the similarity of architecture in these first three religious buildings?

I decided to try out the camera on my iPad this day, and I have to say it performed extremely well in the typical dim light inside this bascilica.  I think the quality of the photos I took inside are all superior to any I've taken before.

I'm not able to position pictures and type text beside them like I could when I was blogging with my computer.  My only option for blogging on my iPad is a mobile app that doesn't have nearly the functionality I had on my PC.  Maybe I'll meet some young computer genius who can suggest something better.  Another inside shot of the dome...I haven't got centering down pat yet .

In back of the basilica was a mausoleum containing three ancient tombs--this one contains the remains of Galla Placidia, a powerful Roman empress, and two other family members.

There were some beautiful mosaics there, this being the most notable.

On the way to my next destination, I happened upon this street demonstration.  I asked a stander-by what it was all about.  It was a neo-fascist group demonstrating against current political policies.  The demonstrators are in the background.  When I passed by later, the crowd was filling this street.

Some of the streets weren't very pedestrian-friendly....you had to keep you ears alert for traffic at your back.

A typical city street....

A small change of pace...this is the Neoniano Bapistry.

And next to it is the Duoma.

Last stop was the Bascilica di San Apollinare Nuova.

The ladies adorn one side

And the gentlemen the other

And the altar in between them.

I spent four hours wandering around Ravenna and wish I'd had the stamina for more.  This is a city where I could happily live, but without the neo-fascists, please.

Then to cap a perfect day, I got a table without reservations at a very popular trattoria that was a short walk from the train station but quite a long walk from where I'm living.  They said they were full up with reservations, but they were kind enough to squeeze me in.  

The specials for the evening were "all about pork" and since I really haven't eaten any pork, and since this region of Italy is known for it, my camieriere (waiter),Tomaso, offered me a sampling of three pork dishes.  I was also given an appetizer on the house.  It was a very tender piece of delicious bread topped with pork lard, seasoned ground pork crumbles, shavings of parmeggiano reggiano, and balsamic vinegar.  I didn't think about taking a picture, but you can imagine.

For primi, I had house made tagliatelle with a delicious seasoned pork sauce, and I did take a photo.

For secondo, Tomaso gave me a sample of two pork dishes--one was pork ribs braised in a tomato sauce, quite like osso bucco.  The side is mashed potatoes with celery root alongside some pickled vegetables.

Then came this delicious roast pork with rosemary.

Believe me, I was in pork heaven.  Afterward, I was given an after dinner liqueur on the house.  This was not only the best meal I've had in Bologna, it's one of the best meals I've had in Italy.  When I was close to finishing, some Americans were seated at the next table, which was only an arm's length away from me.  So I had some very enjoyable after dinner conversation with them.  

When Tomaso came to check on my satisfaction with my meal, I asked him if the chef was single, because I wanted to propose to him, at which time he informed me that he was the chef.  We all had a pretty good laugh about that.  Imagine being served personally by the chef--quite a perquisite.

On the walk home, I stopped at the main piazza and was entertained by a fire eater-twirler.  He was pretty amazing.  


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