There’s something very exciting about visiting a city for the first time, not knowing what to expect and looking forward to each and every discovery. Usually I do a fair amount of research before traveling to a new city or area. I do not make a lot of plans, but I prefer to have an idea of what I’d like to see and do. I’m not sure why, but I really didn’t do any reading about Bologna. I did get a great overview of the city from my friend Palma, the Bologna expert and off I went.
Immediately after settling into my room in Bologna I took off to find Piazza Maggiore, the main square in the center of the city. Ten minutes later and I walked into this grand square surrounded by buildings constructed between 1200 and 1400. It is tremendous and the perfect gathering place for tourists and locals alike.
I did take a walking tour of the city one morning and much of it took place in this piazza. I heard a lot of great information on the history of Bologna and of the buildings in the square, but truth be told, I don’t remember most of it! I do recommend the tour and you can get the information at the tourist office located right in the piazza. One of the things I loved about the tour is that if there are English and Italian speakers in the group, the guide does the whole tour in both languages. It gave me a chance to test out my comprehension-more on that later.
I found myself in Piazza Maggiore a few times every day-sipping a cappuccino, having a gelato or sitting on the steps of the the Basilica of San Petronio just taking a breather and watching the action. I miss all these things-are you surprised?