In 1987, when I was 6 years old, I attended the De Amicis elementary school. It is the oldest one in Bologna. In 1868, when the school was built, Italy was a very young country and “Italian” was a new language to be taught. Indeed, before Italy became a single country, people in Bologna spoke bolognese, a dialect, that is totally different from the language spoken today.
I show you in the video the main entrance that has a typical nineteenth-century classical style.
The school is located at the edge of the city centre, near the train station and the main public garden. There you can still see one of the 12 city gates, Porta Galliera, dating back to the XIIIth century.
In the area there is a great restaurant where you can taste tortellini, tortelloni or tagliatelle. I love tortelloni tomato and butter!
In Italy Father’s Day, Festa del papà, has been celebrated on March 19th (St. Joseph’s Day) since the Middle Ages. In Bologna traditionally we prepare the Raviole, yummy cookies filled with my favourite jam: the mostarda.
They are amazing for breakfast or even better after dinner dipped in Albana passito, a great dessert wine from Romagna. I love thier softness and the contrast between the buttery and sweet flavour of the pastry and the sour taste of the filling.
Alternatively you can use a plum or apricot jam, cream or chocolate, but the most traditional filling is the MOSTARDA which is prepared with pears and apple quince.
In the past the Raviole were offered to the poorest or simply left out of the window to celebrate the end of the winter. A legend says that the distinctive cookie’s shape comes from the Carabinieri (national gendarmerie)’s hat. St. Joseph on his flight to Egypt escaped from the Carabineiri taking with him their hat!
Enjoy Bologna in February eating like a Balanzone!
February is Carnival! Time to enjoy the masquerades and the puppet shows. In the 19th century Bologna was the city in Italy where the puppets were most popular. Still today they represent a wonderful entertainment for adults and kids.
During the Carnival chariots procession the atmosphere is magical! The most typical mask from Bologna is Balanzone (in the picture), the perfect Bolognese professor, one who loves teaching as much as eating!
The green tortelloni of the Carnival are named after him Balanzoni. They are my favorites, filled with ricotta cheese and mortadella! Yummy!
Luckily there are people passionate like Riccardo who keeps alive the puppets tradition. This year we offered tours including puppets’ perfomance in homage to the Bolognese artist Wolfango!