On this past Friday, my roomies and I had decided to go to Bologna for the famous cuisine. I mean, Italians are known for their food already, but Bologna is the food capital of the country, where bolognese sauce, balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese reign supreme. We took an early train from Santa Maria Novella Train station in Firenze to Bologna Centrale, only about an hour north of us. Once we got there, we were starving. We walked a bit of a ways away from the train station to get away from the tourist places and stumbled upon this beautiful cafe called Naam Caffe. The pastries were beautifully crafted and coffee was tastefully done up with foam, espresso and complete with a flower on top.
After walking a bit more, we came upon the city center and took photos of Neptune’s Fountain. But again, we weren’t there for the fountains, we were there for the food. (We have no shame!) Our Italian professor, Carlo, had recommended this small restaurant that makes homemade tortellini. His wife used to work in Bologna, so we took his advice. The pasta was fresh and the sauce was amazing. They were homemade morsels of heaven. The older women that worked there only spoke Italian and there were only locals, so we stood out a bit. For dinner, we found a small place that looked good and had good reviews on Yelp. It was delicious, as expected.
Italians are very proud of their food, as they should be. It’s like the ultimate comfort food, even in America and other parts of the world. So, as a result, the eating of a meal is not just consuming food, it’s the process of savoring the food itself and enjoying the company of those around you. As I sat at the wooden table eating pasta and homemade bread with my roomies and our new found friend Christy, I found myself torn between my two places. It was September 11 that day, which holds profound significance for Americans, however, it is not commemorated in Italy, why would it be? I found myself wanting to be back home in my good old US of A, but at the same time, these people from such different walks of life have become my own version of an Italian family. We had bound ourselves through our mutual love of food, like the Italians intended, and it made me grateful for other cultures despite the fact that we do not get along all the time.
Bologna was amazing and beautiful, but part of my heart was back in the USA. Never forget.