Bologna, Italy has a long rich history and the gastronomical delights are not bad either. Today, the ancient castle, Due Torri Two Towers, is lively with restaurants, galleries, museums, shops, and Christmas markets welcoming a festive ambience. I loved watching, observing, and learning how the Bolognesi enjoy their flavors of Christmas.
The Fountain of Neptune, built around 1555, was given to Bologna, a Papal State, a public drinking fountain to solidify their political Papal Legate.
Bologna porticoes during Christmas are a site to see.
Pedestrians, merchants, locals, and visitors’ have enjoyed these urban architectural covered pathways for centuries. Porticoes became an integral part of Bologna since the 11th c. and are made from stone and brick since wood was banned around 16th c due to fire risks. Such cultural architectural importance, they were declared UNESCO. The ornate porticos are highly decorated frescos and plaques commemorating their history.
Shops & specialty stores, cafes, bars, pizzerias, trattorias, restaurants, osterias are cuddled into the porticoes, loggias, colonnades, and arcades.
A Christmas tradition is Pandori & Panttone, the Italian way, a sweet and fluffy cake. The homemade treat is wrapped in beautifully creative packages also store bought.
Bolognese enjoy their festive foods with sparkling wines from D.O.C.G Colli Bolognesi Pignoletto.
Crafted smaller producers of Lambrusco, history dates Etruscan civilization,
offer sparkling wine:
The red wines from the Colli di Romagna, the hills of Emilia Romagna.
Experience a local professional guide’s comparative & comparision learning while tasting with three wines from the wineries’ portfolio:
Local wine and food rules and culture have remained unchanged for centuries. For example, take the classification system within parmigiano cheese:
Cured meat charcuterie boards made from the rolling hills of Emilia Romagna is a foodie delight.
Again, classification differences between parma ham and Prosciutto di Parma DOP are interesting to learn. An example of ham classification culture is Culatello; a small salami made from the section in the thigh muscle from rear to inner leg, hence, called a little ass Salami di Culatello. The top tier Culatello di Zibello PDO is cured in dark cellars for months and its climate control is the labor, knowledge and skill of when and where to open the small windows and regulate humidity for particular results in its mold casing; this is a complex meat. Mortadella Bologna IGP and on it goes. A delicious wine & food destination.
Making pasta is a matter of patience, time and talent.
It is a form of art that depends on the size of eggs, type of eggs, temperature of the room, and other important factors that go into making remarkable pasta. One traditional Pasta Emiliana dish of Parmesan cuisine that dates from Middle Ages is Parma Green Tortelli
The local Bolognese Ragu pasta includes peas and rabbit meat that pairs nicely with local red wines from the classifications. Blended grapes from Colli Bolognesi D.O.C. or singular Sangiovese grape from Sangiovese di Romagna D.O.C and Sangiovese di Romagna Albana D.O.C.G.
One local grape made in a sparkling wine style, Pignoletto, is also produced in still white wines. In this region, many white wines are blended with Trebbiano.
Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna
Università di Bologna is Mother Feminine, their alma mater studiorum is “Nourishing Mother of Studies” and is the oldest university in Europe. Founded in 1088, it was here that the word ‘universitas’ was first coined. I can safely presume that low information students need not apply.
Our hotel room window view of the Università.
When someone speaks an off remark that does not go with the cultural norms, an old English saying to dismiss the silly notion is, “Go away, you are full of baloney.” It is a scoff that translates, ‘Don’t be silly dear, we have standards.’
University towns are filled with individual thoughts and forward thinkers. An example of individual thought is seen in a sculptor who was ripe of courage. Niccolò dell' Arca depicted raw emotion in his biblical scenes and was heavily criticized for not conforming with societal norms.
600 Years Old Statues
In Bologna, an early Renaissance sculptor, Niccolò dell' Arca-Ragusa 1435-1494, went against the conventional and traditional cultural expectations and followed his freedom of artistic expression. The biblical artist challenged the accepted Roman Catholic Church establishment.
Biblical scenes expressed in individual artist freedom was not the style du jour when contemporaries were creating modest biblical scenes and stories from the priests’ interpretations of the biblical word. Because of Niccolò dell' Arca’s degree of outward emotions of the sculpture figures, the sculptor was shunned, mocked, and given scornful looks by the church authorities, critics, and his contemporaries. Raw human emotions and reactions to the biblical word was considered savagely unhinged and not on par with their standards.
Lamentation Over Dead Christ, il Compianto Sul Cristo 1463, inside the sanctuary Santa Maria della Vita. The Lamentation of Christ was a common scene in artform since the Middle Ages and had been depicted by artists being peaceful and composed with Priests’ high ground of truths. Niccolò dell' Arca was the first artist to depict this bible story a bit differently.
The life-sized seven terracotta figures are displaying dramatic emotions, their grief and torment is seen in their authentic body language. Madonna is clenching her hands and she is in complete agony for her son. Mary Magdalene’s clothes are swelled by the wind as she quickly rushes to his side hysterically screaming in disbelief. The figure with his left hand under face reads disdain as he looks at viewer; this character was a contemporary artist Giuseppe d’Arimatea.
Today, true traits of courage echoes to defend your self-value. If you live your life within the arbitrarily defined parameters by the vacillating moods from the consensus, you will hinder your self-being. If you assimilate to satisfy the current society’s orchestrated narrative, you will hinder your admirable contributions to life. Deprived, you will reside in a narrow band of freedom to express your perceptions and beliefs.
No doubt, the applications of devaluing oneself to another's subjective appropriate standard of representation is passé and displays unattractive behavior.
The Delong 100 Grape Varietal Challenge encourages all wine enjoyers to expand their wine drinking horizon by seeking out unusual grape varieties. These past few years, I have tasted over 180 grape varieties. After all, there are over thousands of grape varieties world wide. With so many wine grapes, styles of wine, and wineries to explore, wine is an educational adventure. So grab your virtual passport and come along with me on a Grape EdVenture™ around the world.