We took the train from Lucca (Tuscany) to spend a full week in Bologna (Emilia Romagna).
Bologna is a youthful, university city that is full of energy and really comes alive during the evenings. It’s a good place to base and take day trips to the surrounding nearby towns of Modena & Parma.
Modena being home of Balsamic vinegar and Parma, home to Parmigiano Reggiano and Parma ham. We went on a balsamic vinegar tour in Modena and after the tasting, we sprung for a $100 bottle of 25 year old balsamic vinegar that has been aged in the cherry barrels for 25 long years. It was on this tasting that we learned that the balsamic we have come to know in America is really just white wine vinegar with sugar. I did not really get to enjoy our $100 bottle of balsamic vinegar because Barbie polished it all off during the week we were in Bologna. I actually caught her in the act drinking teaspoons of the shit in the kitchen late at night.
The thing we liked most about all of the Italian cities we visited was there was no need for a car. Everything in each city is walkable, with many pedestrian only streets. Consequently, there is very little worry about getting plowed over by a car as each city forbids anyone from driving in the city centre ZTL (limited traffic zone area) unless you are a local living there.
We ate our asses off in each of the cities and we walked off all the pasta, deli meat, steak and gelato calories by clocking at least five walking miles per day checking out all of the sites and restaurants.
One of the things we liked about Bologna was the electric bike sharing system called RideMovi where you download the app onto your iphone, scan the QR code on the electric bike and off you go. A fantastic way to breeze thru the city centre and because of the limited vehicle traffic, riding a bike to get around was an absolute pleasure.
Our time is up on mainland Italy and we are flying the cattle car (aka Ryanair) to Palermo, Sicily. We will be spending six weeks road tripping around the entire island of Sicily and digging into Michael Corleone’s roots. We are looking forward to food down south in Sicily as we have heard it is much different than other parts of Italy we have visited.