Everyone was ready and out the door by 9:00 to head to our 9:25 train at the Santa Maria Novella station here in Firenze.
We had a quick ride over to Bologna (35 minutes on the high-speed .italo train! Steve and I had seats that faced each other with a table between us today (a man was sitting in Steve's seat, and as the seats are assigned, we asked him to move to whatever seat he was assigned to -- he told us it didn't matter but as the train was crowded (and the seats we were assigned were great seats and we would have been separated if we moved to other seats -- all were singles that were left) we asked him again to move, which he finally did.) Here's a picture of a happy Steve on his way to Bologna:
We arrived in Bologna and started our long walk -- and immediately found a beautiful, old church:
There was a mass going on:
We didn't stay but ended up walking past a beautiful portico with a fountain:
We then headed over toward the Duomo Square (through the portico in the picture above), and found lovely sights along the way including, yes, more interesting doors and doorknobs and knockers:
We ended up at the Cathedral, where I lit candles, prayed and stayed for part of the Mass. Donna stayed for whole mass and received communion. I left before communion.
Lots of incense in use and the liturgy of the table was chanted:
We headed on over to the main Duomo square. On the way the street was closed off and it was a jammed packed pedestrian thoroughfare. There were live "bands" -- really a one person band on either side of the duomo but even with the big speakers you couldn't hear the "mix" of the two:
The Duomo Square was very large! At one point there is a smaller piazza with a statue/fountain of Neptune:
We made it over to the Basilica:
Once inside, I had to pay two euro and get a wrist band to be able to take pictures (there was a Mass going on, but the Basilica is so large taking pictures at the back wasn't disturbing the Mass). I was glad I spent the money and got the wrist band -- the stained glass windows were magnificent! I also lit candles and prayed for those I was holding on my heart.
We started walking again, and found interesting things to look at along the way to lunch:
We made our way to lunch at Ristorante Donatello -- a WONDERFUL place with amazing food. We had an appetizer which I couldn't get a picture of because we attacked it the minute it was put down on our table: veal with cheese drizzled with balsamic vinegar, potatoes with cheese and ham, and egg plant Parmesan. Delicious! I had pappardelle with bolognese (of course!):
Powered by pasta, we continued on our journey through Bologna. Who knew that there were canals in Bologna? Most of them are underground, but we did pass by one above ground canal:
We still don't know what this means, other than maybe the house will be blessed?:
And the requisite stop for gelato -- this place was fabulous:
We stopped by a cheese and meat shop:
We then entered a small piazza on the back side of the duomo (Basilica) where the Basilica is under construction. For 3 euro each we could go up in the construction elevator, climb a few more flights of stairs above it, and see from the top of the Basilica onto the view below -- but we had to walk down the stairs the whole way down. Donna was able to take the elevator back down, but the rest of us walked it:
Some signs at the top of the scaffolding:
After we climbed down we went in search for something cold to drink. We found a little place near yet another square. I loved this drink:
We continued on our way.
We came across a "revival" of sorts, with the people singing "rescucito" in Italian -- it's a song we sing in Spanish. Donna joined the dance circle:
We passed by a statue of Garibaldi:
We walked through a park heading back to the train -- it is a beautiful park -- it is above the portico that we started out at earlier -- and it was full of families and people:
Back to the train station -- it's HUGE in Bologna, on various "underground" levels:
We arrived back at 6:30 into Florence and headed to a local place -- Osteria Pastella -- where they make their own pasta. As they weren't quite open yet, the staff member sat us outside with a bottle of water and the menus to wait the 20 minutes until they opened. We were entertained by watching the woman in the window make pasta:
...and then there was dinner! Steve ordered the 1 kilo Florentine steak. Needless to say, LOTS was taken home:
We came back to the townhouse in a food coma, but it was another wonderful day in Italy! Full of prayer, walking, good food, sightseeing and being together!
Total number of steps walked today: 22,161, 8.53 miles.