Bologna 'only for work'

  • bologna dall'alto in licenza CC di EvaUppsala

Well, actually I cannot talk about good things in Bologna, because I do not know them. I don't have time for good things in Bologna since I go there only for work. Otherwise I would stay in Genoa with my children and my husband. I need to do the laundry, I have to attend parent-teacher meetings, walk the dog out, pay the bills, in Genoa. Just imagine if I have time to go to Bologna to see good things.

I go to Bologna only for work.

And what's more, Bologna is not so good for work if you come from another region. Someone also told me that "Bulaggna, la grasa par chi i sta, brisa par chi i pasa", which means that Bologna citizens cheat you, this is how I figured it. Some acquaintances told me that, while eating gnocco fritto, tigelle and sgabei in that border zone of the Ligurian-Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, land of meetings.

They told me how "Bologna business school" works: Bologna businessmen are always kind, easy-going and helpful. They take you out to eat tortellini along with a bottle of wine. They speak in Bologna dialect, which is so soft and always makes you laugh. And then… bam! They cheat you. You sign and then you are not as friends as before. At first they are open-minded and willing to help you, almost welcoming, and then an impenetrable wall raises and everyone minds his own business.  

"Al ciàcar a gli è ciàcar, mo al papetti a gli è papetti. Ma io sun zeneize risu reu strinsu i denti e parlu ceu": dialect versus dialect, no one understands, but the gist is that both Genoa and Bologna citizens are no joke when it comes to work. And I go to Bologna only for work, but I have already said this. "Chi en lavòura va in malòura" people say in Bologna. "Chi no sappa no lappa" we say in Genoa.

Whenever people ask me if Bologna is beautiful, I always explain that every time I leave the Lanterna (the Lighthouse in Genoa) to go to the Due Torri (the two Towers of Bologna), I do not have time to observe spires, churches or walking in Piazza Maggiore or Piazza Santo Stefano. I keep my eyes down even if I walk, between a break and another, 35 km of porches of the most colonnaded city in Italy. All of them. Every time. Of course, I go to Bologna for work, yet between an appointment and another I go out and have a walk. I go there for work, but I also stroll around the city, since I am there. I amortize the travel's expenses. I look out the window of Via Piella and see the channel with flowing water and the houses leaning against each other that remind me of "La Superba", nickname given to Genoa. Maybe, if I have enough time – since I am there only for work – I have a walk along Via del Pratello, where there is a wine bar every ten steps. Or along Via Mascarella, where, by chance, between a task and another, I go to Malazeni to taste its traditional peasant recipes from the world and look at its paper-mache Sicilian puppets.I really love them and, after looking at them for a while, I think why there are Sicilian puppets in Bologna, I don't know, anyway they are nice. When I think of Bologna I think of Malazeni's Sicilian puppets too. There is also another restaurant, Ortica, where they prepare, among others, vegetarian dishes and have apple cider, and next to it there is the bookshop, "Modoinfoshop", of which – by chance – I have the card. And Cantina Bentivoglio, where they play Jazz music, it is a bit expensive, but you can choose to go to a brewery which sells homebrew wheat beer at € 2.50 per glass. But if you decide to go to Bologna, I really don't know what to suggest you to do, since I only work there.

And when I am in Bologna, everyone talks about "cinni", "cinni" that grow, that are good and one needs to keep them safe, and at first I thought "wow, Bologna citizens are rich, I did the right thing by coming here to work", but later I discovered that "cinni" are not money – as "citti" in Genoa – but kids, children. And then I think "Ah", and then "Well, children are precious things too, actually, even more precious than Euros". 

Another thing I love about Bologna is the Torre degli Asinelli, one of the two Towers, because I suffer from vertigo. So, when my husband and my kids come to Bologna to visit me, I say to them "Well, you could go and see the Torre degli Asinelli" and they ask me "Why? Is it nice?" and I reply "I do not know, I have never gone up there, I'm afraid of heights, you should go and then tell me if it is nice". Thus, my husband takes my children up to the Torre degli Asinelli and they spend the whole afternoon there, as happy as a clam; meanwhile, I can go to my office to do my work, because I go to Bologna only for that. But this "Torre degli Asinelli" thing is very convenient to me. 

I cannot compare Bologna with Genoa, because people say that Bologna is good in terms of towers. In the Middle Ages it had about 180 towers, practically there were more towers than houses, while in Genoa there were more or less 66 towers. Torre degli Asinelli is 97 metres high, it is a real tower; while the highest tower in Genoa, Torre Embriaci, is 41 metres high. You hardly see it. Telephone boxes are almost higher. Well, when there still were telephone boxes, because they removed them. But not Torre Embriaci. However, it is short, and we, the people from Genoa, are not particularly proud of how tall our towers are. In a conversation with a person from Genoa, hardly ever he will tell you "Ah, do you know that in Genoa we have a tower that is 41 metres high?". Pay attention to this. For those interested in towers' sizes, and I don't think there are many, well, Bologna wins. But I don't care, because I don't go to Bologna to visit the towers, since I am afraid of heights. I have to work there.

One more thing I like about Bologna is the sea. Well, in Bologna there is no sea, but if there was I bet it would have been a great sea, as all the rest. It should be a proper sea, adequate for the rest of the city. I imagine it with lots of free beaches, where you don't have to pay for the beach umbrella, you only need a towel. And all Bologna citizens, before going back home, clean all the beaches. I have never been there, but I imagine it as a civilized sea, very nice to visit. If one doesn't have to work, of course.

On the contrary, in Genoa, if you want to go to the beach you have to take with you a lot of "cinni". No, not the children, but the money.



Maria Cecilia Averame
Maria Cecilia Averame

Maria Cecilia Averame, from Genoa, deals with editorial promotion and social communication. Tw: @AveCecilia

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