Bologna: Chiuso per ferie
Italian police look like stripper cops. They wear skin-tight synthetic shirts with the sleeves rolled up, carry oversized guns and waggle their hips. I heard one singing Shakira with a priest.
We've been in Bologna for almost two weeks now, interrupted by a few excursions (more on that later). At first it was very hot, but it's very nice now. We wound up here in a musical chairs fashion because we were sick of traveling around. I needed to do a bunch of work and even Ambika was showing signs of sightseeing fatigue. Plus it’s a centrally located town full of lovely piazzas and long arcades. We met Ambika’s longtime friend Flannery in Bologna for dinner one night, which was an added bonus.
The entire city, like all the others we've visited lately, feels like a ghost town because all the people are at the beach and almost all the stores and restaurants are chiuso per ferie (closed for vacation). Plus the University of Bologna is out of session. The University is very old. We visited its Renaissance surgical theater, wood-paneled and decorated with gorgeous wooden sculptures of skinless nudes. The place was bombed to smithereens in WWII, but the magical Italian art restorationists fixed it right up somehow.
The main church is nice because it is very simple inside with pink bricks and a huge shiny gilded crucifix. It also has an awesome fresco by Giovanni da Modena showing each circle of Dante’s Hell. The centerpiece features a giant Devil eating sinners with his mouth and also with a second mouth in his crotch.
So we’ve set up camp in a very nice AirBnB that belongs to an anxious urban planner called Alessandro. We are only allowed to touch the few items marked with a tiny letter G for guest, and we are very scared of breaking those few things. Most days I stay there and copywrite while Ambika wanders around in Bologna or surrounding towns. In the evenings we eat pasta and gelato together. Every few days we shop in the ancient market area where you can get fresh tortellinis and burrata cheese and cured meats and, most of all, pickled artichokes.