Italy: 1/2 Day in Siena and 1 Night in Bologna

DSC_0144-001

After our adventurous day in Florence, we started our last morning in Florence with a quick 30 minute run.  Florence is like Madrid- the stores and shops are pretty much closed until about 10 am, so it made running through the old streets much, much easier!  

While I packed up the Airbnb and made some sandwiches, Luis took the bus to the airport and went to pick up our little Ferrari.DSC_0083-001

Sort of 😉

Within an hour, he was back, so we loaded up the bags and drove a couple hours towards Siena.

SIENA

DSC_0983

Siena is this really cool medieval Tuscan town that doesn’t look like any other town I’ve ever seen.DSC_0964  

The grandiose brick buildings that surround the main square, surrounded by cobblestone-lined streets kind of take your breath away when you first see it.DSC_1003

And luck would have it, the day we were there was the day of the Palio di Siena, which is a horse race that happens twice a year in Siena.  There are ten horses and ten riders, and thousands and thousands of spectators.  We didn’t see the actual race (which is only about 90 seconds), but we were there for the parades and the great costumes that they sport.DSC_0046-001 DSC_0050-001

They take it very, very seriously!  Haha.  It was exciting to be there for that day.  Since we were there many hours before the race, we spent the afternoon walking around, seeing churches, and climbing uuuuupppppp and dooooowwwwn the huge hills in Siena.DSC_0080-001DSC_0953-001DSC_0987DSC_1011DSC_0018-001DSC_0020-001

By 5:00, we were ready to head out so we stopped for a slice of pizza and then tried to find the Ferrari.  Since all of the gates to the town look the same, we got confused and ended up walking a little further than we intended, but we found it.

DSC_0075-001

If there is any photo that describes Italy, that would be it^^

From there, we hopped back in the car to another city that was so different from anything I imagined!  

BolognaDSC_0169-001

If you are wondering, Bologna (the suspicious lunch meat) doesn’t exactly come from Bologna, Italy.  However, mortadella is a similar suspicious lunch meat that DOES come from Bologna.

I honestly had never heard of Bologna (besides the iffy meat) before this trip, but I ended up LOVING it.  In terms of beauty, it wasn’t thaaaat nice, but in terms of authenticity?  I was smitten.DSC_0153-001

And I look high in that photo.

Anywho, you might be wondering what exactly I loved about Bologna?  Because in all honesty, the actual city is a little bit dark and dirty.DSC_0164-001

What I loved was the AUTHENTICITY.  Milan, Venice and Florence felt so…touristy.  I have never heard as much American English as I heard in Florence.  But then Bologna was so different.  It had incredible food, everything was so reasonably priced, and the people that were there?  They all lived there.  And it was so YOUNG.ita25  

There is a university there, so it was just full of students.  In short, it was the first city that didn’t feel like Disney World.  Not to mention, our hotel was only 33 Euros for the night (with a shared bathroom and a nice kitchen).  View from the kitchen:

ita24

Backing up a second, to when we arrived.  We found parking outside of the city center, which was really great because it was free overnight and we could pay a little bit for the morning hours.  The garages are pricey!  After dropping off our bags and listening to the 30-second spiel by the “welcome committee” at our hotel (I use that term lightly), we headed off in search of dinner.  Like I said, the awesome thing about Bologna was that you can eat so well and so cheaply.  We saw a number of “American” restaurants that looked really good and really affordable.  4 Euro pancakes?!  But we stuck to Italian food for dinner and headed to Osteria Dell’Orsa after reading good review after good review.  The place was HUGE, but I wanted to sit outside so we waited for a table.  Once we were seated, we order a few plates off of their menu that features two homemade pastas, some paninins, bruschettas, and a few other things.DSC_0105-001 DSC_0109-001DSC_0112-001

And that includes a 1/2 liter of wine 😉  

After all of that food, we had the BEST GELATO OF OUR ENTIRE TRIP!DSC_0118-001

A quick Google search brought us to Cremeria Funivia and the line out the door confirmed how good it was. DSC_0114-001 

Then our taste buds double confirmed it.  GO THERE.

Finally, on our way home we stopped for about 5 minutes to watch this outdoor movie that neither of us understood (and it was in English, but the echo was so bad).DSC_0125-001

The next morning, we picked up some groceries and then packed up and headed out.  But first, one more walk around Bologna, plus a quick stop for coffees…and lasagna 😉DSC_0138-001DSC_0173-001 DSC_0163-001

Bologna, you surprised me in so many ways.  After that, we were off to PISA!DSC_0204-001


Overall tips for Bologna

  • MyRoom ECO for sleeping (super inexpensive and in the center)
  • Cremeria Funivia for the best gelato in all of Italy
  • Osteria Dell’Orsa for a yummy, inexpensive dinner
  • search for parking OUTSIDE of the city center, as it’s free overnight and then you just pay for a couple hours in the morning and it’s much cheaper than the garages
  • BE CAREFUL OF THE ZONES WHERE YOU CAN’T DRIVE

You may also like