I visited Bologna and San Marino during the President’s Day holiday weekend. As I mentioned in previous blogs, I was looking for a new place to visit – with cheap airfare, small enough to see in three days, and a place warmer than Wiesbaden. The trip met all the requirements.
We arrived in Bologna late Saturday afternoon flying with RyanAir, a low fare airline in Europe. The bus from Bologna airport to the city center was convenient. Shortly after checking in to our hotel, we went directly to the city center and started sightseeing. Bologna is not a big tourist destination. Because of this, most of the tourist sites, businesses, restaurants, etc. are closed on Sundays. Instead of hanging around Bologna for Sunday, we decided to take a day trip to San Marino. San Marino is a small independent republic (second smallest in the world) nestled within Italy not too far from the Adriatic coast. Most of San Marino is located in the Apennine mountains. From Bologna, we took the train to Rimini; from Rimini we took a regular bus service that goes back and forth between San Marino and Rimini. San Marino was a pleasant surprise. The weather was cold up in the mountains, but the view was breathtaking. The top of San Marino affords a scenic view of the nearby mountains, the towns below, and the Adriatic Sea. On the highest point of San Marino are three fortress towers that was used long time ago as lookout towers to protect the republic. In town were the city hall and many shops. Apparently, San Marino is a shopping destination for many Italians because it does not charge sales tax. (See the following link to my flickr page for pictures in San Marino.)
The whole day Monday and a few hours on Tuesday before heading back to Germany were spent walking around the city and seeing its sights. Most of the sidewalks in Bologna city center are “arched” covered (see pictures below). You can probably stay dry walking the streets of Bologna during a rainy day without an umbrella. Piazza Maggiore is the main square. In the main square is the Fountain of Neptune, the basilica of San Petronio, and the city hall. Nearby are two towers from the medieval period that are leaning precariously. Bologna has the oldest existing university in Europe. We visited former a campus building that was used for medical studies. The building, now used as a library and museum, has an ornately decorated covered walkway ceiling in its interior portico. The main market was full of fresh produce. I was amazed at the number of purple colored vegetables such as artichokes, radicchios, endives, salad greens, etc. Bologna is the home of mortadella, the original Bologna sausage. I was not overwhelmed by the taste of Mortadella, but we did manage to get very decent meals in Bologna. (See the following link for pictures in Bologna.)
The Bologna visit was a good break from the cold, gray weather of Wiesbaden. The city can be covered in a day to a day in a half of walking and sightseeing. Would I want to come back again for a visit? Probably not.
The following are pictures from Piazza Maggiore:
Inside the San Petronio Basilica:
The leaning towers of Bologna:
Igor Mitoraj's Tindaro Screpolato Sculpture:
The covered walkways:
Grotesque faces in Bologna:
Pictures from San Marino: