Thursday night came around and we all realized there was no set plan for the following Saturday... a whole day in Italy for us to plan whatever we wanted! The internet at the Study Center became bombarded with "Trenitalia" searches and Google map screen shots. By 11PM Thursday night, five of us had redeye train tickets booked to Bologna, Italy.
Our first stop of the day in Bologna was to the University of Bologna. We had discovered a public botanical garden that was located on the campus and maintained by the horticulture student of the university (how ironic) None of us would have thought that on our day off we would want to go visit a garden but it ended up being the highlight of our day!
The garden is home to several carnivorous plants including the Sarraceniaceae. We explored the 3+ acres of the garden grounds and we delighted when we came across plants we recognized from our daily Italian cuisine. Theses included, Basilico, Lavanda and several other species.
|Lavender is one of my favorite herbs. Although it is not widely used in Italy I have found some delicious Lavender flavored gelato!|
After exploring the garden we made our way through the twisting streets of Bologna to a hole in the wall café that gave off the fragrance of fresh bread from three stores down. Once we were full of olives, bread and tomatoes we wondered our way to the main plaza where we enjoyed live local jazz music and of course, gelato!
We made our way through some art museums, took some touristy photos, chatted with another American student who was traveling Europe then made our way to catch a bus to the famous San Luca Church. Some locals told us the way across the city, where over 700 stairs awaited to lead us up to the tallest point in Bologna.
The view after our trek was well worth the sweat! We were able to take a few minutes to cool off in the church and spend a few quiet minutes in the chapel. Once rejuvenated we made our way back down to the city were we mastered public transit back to the train station. Overall our day off turned into one big adventure that I wouldn't have changed a bit!
Until next time, Ciao!