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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Emilia Romagna, Italy

Jun 8, 2017 - Last day in Bologna

Thursday: When we set out the target today was the university area but we got waylaid by two more churches. The first was San Martino Maggiore which was inviting and had a very nice feel to it. We have developed a kind of rating system out of ten for churches (nearly all do above five out of ten). This one was about eight. The second was the much bigger San Giacomo Maggiore begun in 1257. In spite of its size it did not appeal as much (6/10) but its reputation rested mainly on one chapel built by the Bentivoglio family to celebrate the...

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Jun 7, 2017 - A bit more Bologna

Wednesday: This morning was spent at the Archiginnasio, Bologna's old university. Although the university is the oldest in Europe, it did not get this special building until 1565, bringing together all the various faculties. The main courtyard as well as the walls and ceilings of all stairwells, corridors and many rooms are covered in memorials to famous professors as well as the coats of arms of their students - over 6000 of them! A highlight was the Teatro Anatomico, the original medical faculty dissection theatre. This handsome lecture...

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Jun 6, 2017 - A day in Ravenna

Tuesday: The only reason to visit Ravenna is its Byzantine mosaics. Eight of Ravenna's buildings are Unesco World Heritage sites and hold mosaics regarded as the crowning achievement of Byzantine art. When you walk into the Basilica di San Vitale and the splendour of these mosaics gleam at you from all directions, you know you are seeing something priceless and rare. San Vitale was started in 525 by the Roman Emperor Theodoric and finished in 548 by the Byzantine ruler Justinian. Both of them along with Justinian's wife, Theodora, Christ...

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Jun 5, 2017 - More from Bologna

Sunday: What else to do on a Sunday but visit churches? Dominating one side of Piazza Maggiore is the basilica of San Petronio. It looks rather odd from the outside as although it was started in 1398 the facade has never been completely finished. The lower parts are beautiful in pink and white marble while the upper sections remain dull dark brick. It was intended to be larger than St Peter's in Rome and is nearly so. The Gothic interior is cavernous and light filled. Mass was being said to a small congregation at the front altar and the...

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Jun 3, 2017 - Bologna

Friday (Cont): The city seemed rather quiet on the drive from the station and when we arrived at the Hotel Al Capello Rosso we were told that it was a holiday for the Republic. We were taken to our apartment just down the road and given a tour and it was easy to get lost. The front door opened into an hexagonal vestibule in which you could swing a cat. From there five doors led into spacious and well appointed rooms - a kitchen with large table, a sitting room with dining table, bedroom with much storage, another little vestibule which led...

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May 31, 2017 - Parma

Sunday: So we came to the end of our Croatia tour. It was hard saying goodbye to some of the group, especially Jan and Merryl as we had enjoyed their company immensely. But by 10am we were in the taxi to Mestre station and then on the FrecciaRossa fast train to Bologna. After a change there to a regional train we arrived at Parma about 1.30pm. We took a taxi to our hotel even though it was not far as we were unsure of directions. The Hotel Palazzo Dalla Rosa Prati was located in the Duomo square right next door to the Baptistery. Part of...

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May 6, 2017 - Bologna

Spent today getting to know our new ‘home’ town. Our apartment is in a great location for a short walk to the historic centre, Piazza Maggiore with its ancient buildings, the Quadrilatero District with it gastronomic delights. Bologna is of course the home of Bolognaise, which isn’t eaten here with spaghetti. Bologna and its outskirts are famous for pasta, balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese and prosciutto. Heaven really.

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Oct 5, 2016 - Ferrara and the kindness of Bolognese strangers

Thirty years ago when John and I visited Italy, one of the towns that I really loved was Ferrara. I remembered a huge castle in foggy cobblestones streets, quite atmospheric. On Tuesday when I caught the train to Ferrara, the fog again rose over the fields during the journey, but blue skies and sunshine greeted me when I reached Ferrara. Castle Estense remains imposing, a moated castle complete with drawbridges, smack bang in the middle of the bustling town. However, much of northern Italy (including Bologna and Ferrara) suffered damage in...

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Oct 2, 2016 - Bolognese culture and the majolica of Faenza

First, Faenza, a small town about 50 km east of Bologna. Faenza is the home of the International Ceramics Museum, as well as having dozens of workshops and potteries selling beautiful majolica or faience pottery. I caught the train there on Saturday 1 October and for the first time this trip, it definitely felt like autumn. The streets were lined with trees with burnt orange autumn leaves. Then I realised that the trees were chestnuts and that the thumps I heard were the sound of conkers falling to the ground and cracking open. The prickly...

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Jun 22, 2016 - Ferrara

Checked out this morning and headed back into Modena. I had read and seen pictures of the Sanctuary of Madonna of San Luca. It looks spectacular. So we tried to find it. The GPS took us back downtown, which didn't make sense as I could see it on the highway up the hill. That did't work out so we headed down the highway, following the GPS. She said say left and I looked ahead you couldn't tell what left meant. The sign to Farrara appear to be on the right turning left. So we went the wrong way and couldn't get off the autostrada for 13 km....

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Jun 21, 2016 - Moderna

Started the day with a light breakfast. Then packed up the cold pizza and pop for lunch. We headed down the highway to Modena and booked an appointment for balsamic vinegar tasting at acetate Malpighi. Down the road to the Duomo and several other piazzas, monuments et all. We had our pizza in the car while we sat regrouped. Then back down the road to the tasting. We arrived on time and we were requested to wait as there was another group to join us. So we waited for a ew minutes when we were then told that the other group was going to be a...

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Jun 20, 2016 - Bologna

Today we headed into Bologna and toured around for the afternoon. We toured the Piazza Maggiore, the Basilica Petronio the Fonta Del Nettuno, walked the Dell' Indipendenza and then climbed the Torri deli Asinellie Garisenda. At the top of the tower of Asinellie we could see all of Bologna and the pictures are fabulous. I bought some Parmigano Rgioanno just as the store was closing. Then we headed back to the outlet mall. Elton found another pair of shoes that are fantastic. Then back home. We grabbed a shower and walked downtown San Lazzaro...

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