Bologna: La Dotta, La Grassa, La Rossa.
The Learned, The Fat, and The Red.
The famed university, oldest in Europe (and many bookstores).
The food! (more on that later)
and (depending on who you ask)
its red rooftops or its far-left/Socialist/Communist political leanings.
A vital, thriving, non-touristy city.
Exceptionally walkable with 40 km of porticos,
and severe limits on center city traffic.
Beautiful, medieval, small, complex.
that occurs every evening in villages, town, and cities throughout Italy.
Families and friend stroll, gossip, chat, flirt, pause
for a gelato, espresso or aperitif, to admire a baby or a small dog.
I adore this ritual, observed it, happy and envious.
I got sick right after I returned. A cold, a virus, but also
my reluctance to return here from there,
my way of stretching out the space between,
savoring it, imprinting it deeper,
so when I fully return I will be a little different than when I left.
And the food. Oh, the food. The freshest, most flavorful pastas,
deeply savory cured meats and cheeses.
The challenge of ordering from salumerias and formaggerias
with my thirty words of Italian.
Fruit and vegetables from hot wild places to the south.
Every day I bought clementines from Calibria,
the leaves still fresh, the fruit so sweet.
The scent of political engagement everywhere, especially in the university quarter.
Memorial to the victims of the 1980 Bologna train station bombing that killed 87,
and the victims of two train bombings.
The horror in France occurs while I am in Italy,
and I am reminded how small and strong and vulnerable and unique these countries are.
A room with a view.
(If you missed it, my previous post was about New Years Eve in Bologna.)