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Beautiful Bologna/Bellissima Bologna

Beautiful Bologna They say that Italy is all beautiful … and they are right, but then everyone heads for Rome, Florence and Milan. What about Bologna, have you ever been there? I have just spent 5 and a half weeks in this magnificent city. “Why?”, you ask. I love Latin and classical history and have also always wanted to speak Italian, so 6 years ago I took myself off to Dante Alighieri, the Italian school in Houghton, Johannesburg. I found an excellent teacher, did some courses, passed an exam, and received a bursary to study at one of the Dante Alighieris in Italy. I had a choice, and chose Bologna – this medieval jewel was perfect! Not too big, and not too small, the city centre is dominated by two towers called Asinelli and Garisenda. Garisenda leans at the same angle as Pisa’s tower, but for me is more beautiful. There are also kilometres of very charming porticoes which protect you from sun and rain … I sound parochial, but Bologna does this to you – you immediately fall in love with her and want to make her your own. My two weeks at Bologna’s Dante Alighieri School were mind blowing. I am quite old and my fellow students, 3 young Thai guys and a Cambodian, who were delightful, were in their 20s, much younger than my sons. Nonetheless, we all got on

Arrivederci Bologna

Goodbye Bologna, arrivederci … Thank you to everyone who was part of this journey with me : Dante Alighieri in Rome, Dante Alighieri in Johannesburg and Dante Alighieri in Bologna – Lucia, Angela, Brigida, Nat, Emm, Pingh, Ringo  Reanda Russo/Bacchelli, Odoardo Bacchelli, The staff of San Tommaso, Edera, Beatrice, Diego, Judith, Mauro Fogacci, Christiaan, Mia and your lovely daughter, Penny, Helen, Lynne, Beppe, Vera, Rosie, Rita, my family and  friends who followed this blog and the people of this wonderful city You all helped to make this an amazing experience and I appreciate everything. Thank you Martin for travelling with me and for accepting the fact that I love all things Italian I will be back!  Arrivederci  Arrivederci Bolologna, goodbye … Grazie a tutti voi che facevate parte di questo viaggio con me. La Dante Alighieri a Roma, La Dante Alighieri a Johannesburg e la Dante Alighieri a Bologna – Lucia Gaudenzi, Angela, Brigida, Nat, Emm, Pingh e Ringo Reanda Russo Bacchelli, Odoardo Bacchelli, l’ Ospitalita’ San Tommaso, Edera, Beatrice, Diego, Judith, Mauro Fogacci, Cristiaan, Mia e vostra figlia cosi’ bella, Penny, Helen, Lynne, Beppe, Vera, Rosie, Rita, la mia famiglia e tutti i miei amici che stavano guardando il blog e la gente di questa citta’ meravigliosa.  Tutti voi avete aiutato a rendere questa esperienza un po’ particolare e molto speciale e io apprezzo tutto. Grazie a Martin – hai viaggiato con

Mantova e Bologna


Rosie e Rita 

Rosie and Rita arrived today. How wonderful to see them. We have been out and about in beautiful Bologna and will explore more tomorrow.  Good night and sleep well. Will continue my story on Sunday evening Rosie e Rita sono arrivate oggi. Siamo stati cosi’ contenti  di rivedere Rosie e di conoscere Rita. Abbiamo esplorato bellissima Bologna e domani esploreremo piu’. Buona notte e sogni d’oro – continuero’  presto la mia storia.            


Beppe and Vera, our dear friends from Piemonte, arrived yesterday – it was wonderful to see them. We did some sight seeing – Santo Stefano and Bologna’s city centre, and then after a rest we went up to beautiful San Michele in Bosco. There is a very interesting meridian line showing the seasons of the year. We decided to go back into the city to see San Petronio, which has a similar meridian line, dating back to 1655! You must google this! After a delicious meal at Fausto’s restaurant in San Tommaso, some vey good crescentini, we went to bed. Today we saw San Domenico, San Paulo and San Francesco, all lovely churches. We met Reanda, Edera and Beatrice and had lunch together at Sole Mio – the food was very good. Beppe and Vera had to leave at 4 – thank you for coming to see us – it was great to see you again…. Martin and I had a drink in the Giardini Margherita …. beer, and a prosecco for me …. then home through the porticoes … Beppe e Vera, i nostri cari amici del Piemonte, sono arrivati ieri – era meraviglioso di rivederli. Abbiamo esplorato le 7 chiese di Santo Stefano e il centro di Bologna, e poi abbiamo fatto un pisolino. Alle 4 siamo andati in autobus alla bellissima San Michele in Bosco in cui c’e’ una linea


On Tuesday morning we left for Florence on the train…a shock awaited us – it was just so full of people – American tourists everywhere. We tried to see David and the Duomo, but the queues were endless, then Penny arrived on her bike… it was so wonderful to see her again … She took us down a narrow street and the crowds were gone … this city is beautiful … we tried to book tickets for the main sights, but Friday was the first available day .. so we went to see a virtual presentation on Leonardo in a church instead … a good start … then we walked with Penny … The best way to see this city … and we saw everything …  the architecture, the stunning view from the Bardini gardens, beautiful frescoes in ancient churches, hidden piazzas, the Ponte Vecchio from both sides and the Arno! Penny went back to work, and we met again at around 8.30 and took the bus to her apartment … after lots of catching up, a chat with Rose in Canada and a very good meal we crashed…. Penny went off to work again after breakfast and we took the bus to Piazza della Repubblica to meet Helen and her lovely daughter, Lynne. Lynne lives in the city and Helen is visiting from SA. It was wonderful to see them. We had

Modena and Bologna!/Modena e Bologna

On Sunday we went to Modena. James asked for some balsamic vinegar and so we decided to get him the real thing. The city is beautiful and there is a beautiful church in the square – it is a world heritage site. We climbed the tower – Ghirlandina. We also had a look at the Ferrari museum and thought of Alistair and Judy. This morning, I climbed Bologna’s tower for the second time with Martin. It is high!!!  We have been resting this afternoon and are off to Florence tomorrow for 2 days. We have just heard that Beppe and Vera will be here on Thursday and Friday, and Rosie and her family arrive on Saturday. I can’t wait to see them all.  I really love this city full of porticoes! Domenica pomeriggio siamo andati a Modena. James voleva l’aceto balsamico e volevo comprargli la vera cosa. La citta’ e’ bella e c’e’ una bellissima cattedrale in piazza – un patrimonio dell’umanita’. Siamo saliti sulla torre Ghirlandina e abbiamo anche visto il museo di Ferrari e ho pensato a Alistair e Judy. Stamattina sono salita sulla torre a Bologna per la seconda volta con Martin … Mamma mia e’ alta. Abbiamo fatto un pisolino questo pomeriggio. Andremo a Firenze domani e mercoledi’ e abbiamo appena sentito che Beppe e Vera vengono giovedi’ e venerdi’ … Rosie e la sua famiglia arrivano sabato …

Castiglione dei Pepoli

Today we went to Castiglione dei Pepoli with Mauro – it is so beautiful. 401 South Africans who died  during the 2nd World War are buried in the cemetery here – if I were to choose a place to rest, I would choose this place. There is also a wonderful museum nearby specially about the South Africans and put together by Mauro and his friends. We had dinner at a charming country restaurant called Antica Hostaria della Rocca di Badolo – the food in Emilia Romagna is excellent – thank you Mauro for everything – much appreciated. Oggi siamo andati a Castiglione dei Pepoli con Mauro – e’ molto bello. 401 sudafricani sono sepolti nel cimitero – sono morti durante la Seconda Guerra Mondiale. Se dovessi scegliere un posto per riposare, poi sceglierei questo posto. C’e’ anche un museo vicino al cimitero – il lavoro di Mauro e i suoi amici. Abbiamo mangiato in un ristorante magico in campagne – Antica Hostaria della Rocca di Badolo – il cibo di Emilia Romagna e’ buonissimo. grazie Mauro di tutto cio’ che hai fatto per noi- molto apprezzato!