"This morning I visited nearly all the churches of beautiful Bologna. Maybe if I have a few minutes of time left before leaving I'll visit the art museum.
Many greetings and kisses.
We were privileged to celebrate Mass in the chapel of St. Dominic but Pier Giorgio’s sense of humor was at work. As Mass started and for quite a few minutes into it, the distracting sound of vacuuming from a nearby chapel was drowning out our priest. Fortunately, a sacristan came and corrected our microphone problem so we could hear better and, eventually, the vacuuming stopped. I did find it amusing that we would come so far to have a special Mass here and have to contend with a vacuum cleaner! After Mass, we were greatly rewarded for our perseverance when Brother Tarcisio gave us a wonderful tour of all things Dominic! He provided detailed info about the sarcophagus, bust, relics, xrays, chapel, church, cloister, etc. He brought us back into the cell of St. Dominic where we also saw items belonging to him and relevant to his canonization. Brother Tarcisio also walked us through the original library of the monastery which is currently undergoing restoration.
We ended the tour outside of the basilica and realized it was time for lunch. But where? Just then, a little old Italian lady carrying grocery bags passed by. She told us there was a place nearby and she was going in that direction. We walked down a side street and she pointed out two lanterns above a doorway. It was a place we would have never found on our own and it turned out to be a wonderful non-touristy restaurant and a great spot for a long Italian lunch. Our Canadian pilgrim turned out to be our Bologna expert and informed us that lasagna originated here. Our waiter confirmed the fact and claimed that the Italian pasta called tagliatelle also originated in Bologna. This was an interesting coincidence because Pier Giorgio shared the recipe for tagliatelle in a letter to one of his friends. Needless to say, the food was delicious.
After lunch, we attempted to visit the basilica of San Stefano but it was still closed. This can be a bit frustrating when traveling in Italy but it is the way it is. We all wanted to return to San Domenico anyway, so we headed back for more time with St. Dominic. It is very pleasant to walk around Bologna -- known for its porticoed sidewalks and the two large towers in the main square. The weather cooperated with us again, threatening rain and thundering a bit but never letting a drop fall on us. We met our bus and were on our way to Pier Giorgio’s hometown. Another great day in the company of Pier Giorgio. Until tomorrow in Turin….verso l’alto!