Come with us as we explore Italy and check out properties for Gira! Italian Vacation Rentals.
We retrieve our car by the train station in Mestre, and it’s easy to find our way out of town and onto the A4 toward Padova. Here we meet the A13 and it’s a straight shot through the flatlands of central Italy, past Ferrara and right into Bologna. Even though there’s some city traffic — and just one wrong turn — we are early to meet with our good friend. She is true Bolognese, born and raised here.
She’s happy to get our call on the mobile and we agree on a spot to meet that is within walking distance of the city center. She greets us and we breeze down the city streets she has known all her life. She stops from time to time to tell us stories from her life about some of the spots along the way.
The weather is good to us, and it’s getting to be mid day, so there is time for a stroll through the centro and some lunch.
We’ve been curious about all the buzz surrounding Eataly and decide to pay a visit. Eataly is a wildly successful and fast growing marketing phenomenon that began three years ago with the founding of the first location in Turin. Now there are ten locations, including five in Italy, four in the Tokyo area and one in New York city. By the time you read this, there may be more. We walk inside and discover it’s much more than a place to eat. It’s a thriving book shop with frequent author visits, a high quality food/gift shop, a coffee bar and a first class restaurant (am I leaving anything out?). It’s possible to while away a great deal of time here–and to spend a little bit of cash.
We have a tasty lunch that includes a beef crudo (something like a steak tartare) for antipasto, followed by a spicy pasta puttanesca. In the gift shop we pick up some tasteful (and reasonably priced) wine bags with the trendy Eataly logo to give our friends as gifts.
After a quick gelato, we walk to the unique collection of churches known as Santo Stefano. It’s hard to believe that it is a place where seven churches are joined together into one complex. It’s on the square that is known–of course–as Sette Chiese (seven churches). We go inside and flow from one church to another, seeing clearly that some parts of this structure are ancient, going back to the fifth century. The first church was built on top of the remains of a Roman temple dedicated to the goddess Isis. The others were built in later centuries.
Our next stop is a music shop where our friend shares with us her taste in jazz and Italian music and we listen to lots of CDs before we settle on one from Ornella Vanoni and one from Mario Biondi. Mario has a deep and warm voice and a style that varies from jazz to pop to bossa nova. Ornella is a legendary club singer with a wonderful collection of ballads and love songs.
Our trip to Tredozio in the countryside of Emilia-Romagna will only be an hour and a half, and we will have great music to keep us company.