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!
Sort of 😉
Within an hour, he was back, so we loaded up the bags and drove a couple hours towards Siena.
Siena is this really cool medieval Tuscan town that doesn’t look like any other town I’ve ever seen.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
And I look high in that photo.
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.
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:
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.
And that includes a 1/2 liter of wine 😉
A quick Google search brought us to Cremeria Funivia and the line out the door confirmed how good it was.
Then our taste buds double confirmed it. GO THERE.
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