There are some rather less visible glories in Bologna which I sought out yesterday morning before leaving. For musicians Saint Cecilia is rather important, not just because Benjamin Britten was born on her day, November 22. The patron saint of music is gloriously celebrated in the Oratorio di Santa Cecilia in Bologna. Seek it out if you are in Bologna - a richly rewarding discovery. There was no one else there apart from a sleepy old guy selling postcards.
I then went to the Palazzo Magnani which is now the headquarters of Uni Bank in Emilia-Romagna. Pretty well unadvertised, there is a room on the piano nobile with astonishing Carracci frescoes - Histories of the Foundation of Rome. I rang the bell of the palazzo's front door and persuaded them to let me see them. Try it - it worked!
Romulus and Remus Suckled by the Wolf - Lodovico Carracci. Palazzo Magnani, Bologna
My next stop was Tamburini. Of course there are many places to buy ham and cheese and other Italian specialities in Bologna. But this place has an aura about it of being "the best". So of course I invested in an enormous piece of parmigiano of some maturity. I have little doubt, when I dare to bite into it, that it will indeed be the best. So my friends, if you get to Bologna you need to go and have a look, a sniff, and a taste.......and there is much more there than cheese.
And my final stop before flying back to London yesterday afternoon was a very simple and completely authentic Bolognese family restaurant. This was da Bertino on the Via delle Lame, not in the old part of the city but convenient to the station and that area. Bologna is a small city so wherever you are you can do it on foot.......go for the tortellini in brodo, go for the semifreddo al mascarpone, everything homemade by the family that still runs it since 1957. And you can even ask to take away portions of the delicious tortelloni to enjoy back in London. As long as you can devise yourself the right broth from a boiled capon!
So I am back in London - sunny and stormy, rain.........I have some nice things coming up this weekend. But I will let you know about those on Sunday!