Well Hello Neptune – Bologna, Italy

The Arbitrary Swoon - Bologna Art

As reluctant as we were to leave the lovely city of Venice, we boarded our private coach and headed toward the ancient city of Bologna, whose earliest settlements date back to 1000BC.  I will admit that I knew nothing about this quaint little city upon arrival but quickly grew to love it’s warm terra cotta structures, narrow streets and fascinating marketplace.  The day was a bit gloomy and sprinkled with rain which made the short winding walk to the Piazza Nettuno  quite an adventure.  Bologna is well known for it’s culinary traditions and we were on a mission to find a restaurant recommended by the locals that was sure to share the full ‘Bologna’ mealtime experience.

Well... hello Neptune!

Sweet Neptune!

Perhaps the first thing that you notice in the Square is the incredible, giant fountain of Neptune, the roman god of freshwater & the sea.  Neptune seeps of self confidence and masculinity,  and is surrounded by various creatures, most notably the lactating nereids (which apparently were quite commonplace on statues in that time period).  The piece was completed in 1567.  Unfortunately, due to the freezing cold weather the fountain was not running, but you definitely got the idea of the style of fountain it was by  simply walking around it and looking at all the details.

The Arbitrary Swoon - Bologna Art

The silhouette of Neptune is truly powerful… makes you wonder who posed for it?

We gave Neptune our full attention for quite awhile and then proceeded onward towards sustenance.  Alas we were waylaid again but this time by something a bit closer to home… McDonalds.  NO, of course we didn’t eat there, but we had learned quickly that a clean available restroom was never to be passed by.

The Arbitrary Swoon - Bologna Diana Restaurant

Ristorante Diana

Fortunately, the restaurant that we were looking for was just up the street so we entered into Ristorante Diana.  We were greeted by a friendly balding man with thick dark glasses, and even thicker accent.  We immediately got the impression that this was a ‘quality’ restaurant so we attempted to remain grownups (oh what a struggle!) for each plate.  There were 6 of us and we all tried to order something different and shared a bit with each other.  The best way to do it if you ask me!  I will admit, Italy was a tad bit disappointing in the bread area (see the bottom left photo above)… no crusty Italian loaves were to be found in Italy that we Americans are used to thinking are part of classic Italian cuisines.  In fact the best bread that we had during the entire trip was in an English Pub.  But I digress, the meal was incredible, each bite better than the next.  It was one of those meals to be experienced from the delivery of each dish, the watching of the staff to make sure that we liked it, to savoring a bit of dessert followed by the washing of our hands with warm lemon water at the end of the meal.  Oh, and silly me had to try bologna in Bologna…  I mean I was raised on fried bologna sandwiches so it’s pretty much a rule that if you go to Bologna you have to try the meat!  It was very tasty, not exactly your standard Oscar Meyer blend if you know what I mean?  I Instagramed a quick collage while I was there showing this delish bologna served with cheeses.

The Arbitrary Swoon - Bologna Instagram Pic Rest assured we ate, until we could eat no more and then took off back to the square to walk a bit of it off.  The streets were busy with bundled up shoppers attempting to stay warm.  The square is incredible and surrounded by tall autumn colored buildings.  One museum was covered by large tarps printed to look like the actual building from afar.  We also saw this interesting covering in Venice on building that was under refurbishment.  Through a lovely tunnel under one of the buildings, we could see the marketplace calling us to visit their wares.

The Arbitrary Swoon - Bologna wall

Entrance to marketplace.

  The pathway through the marketplace was a menagerie of sights, smells and delights.  From fresh fruits and vegetables to butcher shops everything that you could imagine lined the walls.  The rain water dripping off of awnings didn’t deter us from slowly stopping at each quaint little establishment.

The Arbitrary Swoon - Bologna Market

The marketplace.

The architecture was overwhelming in Bologna.  Towers, churches, and museums galore!

The Arbitrary Swoon - Bologna Buildings

The Arbitrary Swoon - Bologna Streets

We only spent a long afternoon in Bologna but it was an unbelievable experience.  The simplistic beauty of the tall buildings and stoned walkways will have you just wandering to see what wonders might be around the next corner.

The Arbitrary Swoon - Bologna bikes

A bit of bright in a dreary day!

So my family has a silly tradition of taking ridiculous photographs while we travel…  I admit our children have stoically posed their large heads next to the presidents on Mt. Rushmore…  pretended to pick the nose of other well known sculptures (I have boys, this is what get’s them excited about a vacation!)… you name it and we’ve probably posed for it.  Well when the occasion arose to cut Mr. Neptune down to size, I couldn’t resist.  Farewell Bologna…  until we meet again!

The Arbitrary Swoon - Bologna Pinch

Sorry Neptune, it had to be done! I wonder who that is photobombing my pic? LOL!