Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 187 - Milan to Bologna

Took a train from Milan to Bologna and arrived in the city at around 2pm. I walked to my hostel to check in, only to find out that I am the only one who will be staying there tonight since it is low season and nobody else booked a bed in the dorms there. It was a small dorm, without a 24-hr reception, two rooms, and a total of 9 beds. I would have the entire place to myself, which I thought was pretty cool, but at the same time pretty creepy, especially at night. Good thing I didn't watch any horror Hostel movies or anything to freak me out.

I took a brief tour of the city with the help of the receptionist who was there to let me into the hostel. You could see right away that this was a college town, with university students flocking in every direction. I headed to the city center called the Piazza Maggiore, where there was the main library and students hanging out on the steps of the entrance way. Below the library there was an archaeological site dating from the 1st century B.C. The best thing about the library? Free bathrooms! (i might be kidding) but I've been having to spend a fortune in Italy just to pee!

After the tour, I headed to the main piazza, where the Basilica di San Petronio stood tall. The main church of Bologna, it is also the 5th largest church in the world. There was restoration work being done on the front facade of the church, and it was covered with scaffolding and posters. Seems like Italy is always under renovation, but it makes sense with so much history in the country, and more and more ruins being discovered every year when metro systems are being constructed.

I opted to skip going inside the church and instead, wandered some more through the city. I stopped by the Biblioteca Comunale dell'Archiginnasio, which is another public library with a lot of history. The most interesting place there was the Anatomy Theatre, which was built in 1637 and where copse dissections took place. The place is no longer used for classes, but for visitors to view. The room was made almost entirely of wood, and there are statues around the classroom of famous Bolognese physicians. The professors chair was placed high and is being supported by two skinless statues. Again, a little creepy to think what occurred in this room when class was in session, but I HAD to get a picture of myself lying on the slab of marble in the center of the room. I asked security if it would be alright to do so, and surprisingly, it was!

The last stop I took was at the Basilica di San Domenico, another church near the city center, before heading back to my lonely hostel. I made sure to get suggestions from the receptionist on where to go for dinner and she suggested a place where they had very good traditional bolognese food. I headed there for dinner, where I opted for their main traditional meat sauce platter. Pretty good stuff...

Fontana del Nettuno

The Library and the Archaeological Site Underground

Bbiblioteca Comunale Dell'Archiginnasio

Basilica di San Domenico

Traditional Bolognese Cusine

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