Our final IES trip brought us to Bologna. The entire three-day trip was cloudy, rainy, and cold: typical Italian November days for an awesome trip.
We may have frozen a bit the first day, during a city walking tour, but we saw the best parts of Bologna: the main square, ancient churches, the University, the cathedral. My favorite room at the University of Bologna was originally used for educational human dissections. The walls were decorated with wood-carved sculptures of famous scientists, such as the man who completed the first face transplant on a man missing his nose. The professors’ dais was topped with amazingly intricate figures of human musculature. Though the room had to be reconstructed from salvaged parts after a WWII bombing, the center dissection table, of thick Italian marble, is the original used to display cadavers during classes. Our tour ended with a walk through the Bologna cathedral. In general, it didn’t seem especially unique in terms of architecture or art – until we were told the cathedral is under constant military watch due to threats. Why? One of the church’s family side chapels has a renaissance frescoes depicting hell – with Muhammad in the center, whom should never be depicted according to religious law. Certainly one of the most disturbing artworks we’ve seen so far.
Our second Bolognese day was a whirlwind of tours. First: a Parmesan-reggiano factory. The overwhelming odor of aging dairy was a bit painful, but a final cheese tasting was a treat. We then visited a family who has been producing balsamic for generations. High up in their attic are barrels and barrels of vinegar: each is carefully watched and timed to create specialized types of balsamic. Their longest aged balsamic was thick and sweet, something to be served on ice cream and cheese. Our last stop was the Ferrari factory showroom: all things Ferrari, including spins in a sport car.
Then we made pasta. The last day in bologna was spent stretching, slicing and sculpting basic dough into three types of Bolognese pasts. Tortellone, filled with cheese and herbs; tortellini, with cheese, meat and served in broth; and tagliatelle, tossed in olive oil and meat sauce. Sitting down to eat the pasta we’d prepared ended our trip on the best note: delicious.
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<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Caeli Smith is a junior at Connecticut College and majors in English and Art with a minor in Italian and is part of an international studies program. She likes nothing more than heading out on a travel adventure - to sightsee, try new food, wander, and get a little bit lost.</span></div>