From Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about my city, Bologna. Bologna is very close to my heart indeed:
I don't recall now if it was before or after Lucca that I went to Bologna—a city so beautiful that I couldn't stop singing, the whole time I was there: "My Bologna has a first name! It's P-R-E-T-T-Y." Traditionally, Bologna—with its lovely brick architecture and famous wealth—has been called, "The Red, The Fat, and The Beautiful." (And yes, that was an alternate title for this book.) The food is definitely better here than in Rome, or maybe they just use more butter. Even the gelato in Bologna is better (and I feel somewhat disloyal saying that, but it's true). The mushrooms here are like big sexy tongues, and the prosciutto drapes over pizzas like a fine lace veil draping over a fancy lady's hat. And of course there is the Bolognese sauce, which laughs disdainfully at any other idea of ragu.
When I came upon this passage a big smile cross my face - she was describing my city. The city that I knew inside out and love even though we have been apart for almost 10 years now. I'd never heard the "Red, Fat and Beautiful" thing - though Bologna is known as the Red city - Red for the brick, the communist leanings, and the blood that its residents have shed fighting in many revolutions and wars. It is also a city commonly referred to as having the three 'T's : torre, tette, and tortellini (towers, tits, and tortellini!) I have had many relationships with cities over the course of my life: Berkeley, San Francisco, even Irvine... and Bologna was certainly the city where my spirit ran the most free. While living there I felt there was a part of me exuding from every corner. When I walked the streets I held a sense of pride. Gilbert focuses on the food in Bologna and yet there is so much more to this city than food: jazz performances in abandoned theatres, movies in piazza, anarchist gatherings, smoky lecture halls, hippies and communists, manifestazioni (demonstrations), and dance parties until 5 am.
I know the city goes on without me but she is very much in my heart and mind.
photo by michele gattuso