Despite seeing few tourists there are plenty of reasons to go to Bologna. It's a very pretty university town (older, I believe, and dare I say it, than Oxford and...what's that other place called?), it is the inventor of the world's beloved spag bol, and Roberto Baggio once played for the city's football team. My friend Melissa also now lives there, giving me more and more reason to stick fingers up at those tourist meccas of Pisa and Venice.
They must love "on-the-piss" towers in Italy. As well as in Pisa there is a leaning tower in Bologna, or rather one leaning and one straight, right next door - the Due Torri. So up I went for great views of pretty, terracotta Bolgna, all roads leading like spokes to the axle which is the Two Towers. But try as I might, could I find spaghetti bolognese? I could not! Tortellini yes, tagliatelle yes, but spaghetti?
On my third day, due to a public transport strike, I also spent the day in Bologna, wandering and drinking coffee and unsuccessfully eying up totty, before joining Melissa's team in the college pub quiz. One of the few questions I got was identifying Rolf Harris in the picture round, which gives you a clue as to my largely unhelpful role in our team's low-scoring performance.
Day two was spent partially in very pretty Modena, home of balsamic vinegar, the salad's best friend, and rather drab Maranello. The reason for going to this gloomy, industrial town is of course that Maranello is the birthplace of Ferrari, the world's sexiest cars, and Modena isn't. The closest mere mortals can get to the off-limits factory is a photo of the prancing horse emblem and an earful of roaring engine from the test track. There is also a museum, though, which even for those uninitiated in valves, outputs and cylinders, like me, is great fun. They made a point of saying "We do not want to put barriers between these Ferraris and you, we want you to be able to get as close as possible. However, these cars are extremely valuable. Please do not touch." I thought that was a really nice touch. Christ knows how much money the sum of those road-going and F1 cars is, butI'm sure Enzo and the boys can afford a couple of scratches.
And that was that. Lovely city, fun times, and off I go again.