05.16.2017 - 05.29.2017 79 °F
Bologna is a city with many nicknames, and one of them is "the fat one" (la grassa) because of its cuisine. Bologna is known for its bolognese ( ragu') sauce and its sausage (baloney), which Steven and I consumed as much as we could. Now, we have become one of "the fat ones".
Speaking of pigs, Bologna is full of graffiti except on the churches. They must be sacred even from the piglets.
If we were Catholic, we would have planned our trip to be in Bologna now. This week is a great time of celebration for the Catholics, and we just happened to fall into seeing this annual local religious event. Once a year the icon of the Virgin Mary, allegedly painted by Luke the Evangelist, is paraded down from its Sanctuary on the La Guardia Hill through the town of Bologna. With much fanfare it is brought for viewing in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Peter (Cattedrale Metropolitana di San Pietro). (The name Metropolitan Cathedral is so appropriate because you can't tell where the Church ends and the city begins.) This custom dates back to 1433! During the icons stay, there are on-going religious functions, so the Cathedral has a continuous flow of worshipers. People are literally bused in from all around to participate in this event. In a world where organized religion seems to be declining, you would never know it for how full this Church is --at least this week.
Even in the churches, the wardrobe is much more informal than I had expected. Tennis shoes and jeans, especially torn ones, are the fashion here and are worn by all ages.
Ironically, I didn't bring any jeans or tennis shoes with me because I didn't want to look like an "ugly American". But guess what... I have a pair of Italian jeans now. I couldn't bring myself to buy sneakers here though for 190 Euro or more!!
Speaking of American trends, I haven't seen one Starbucks yet. But, I have seen a couple of Eataly's.