Bologna is a very underrated Italian city. There is something special about visiting such places, a sense of authenticity which is hard to find in more touristic, well-known destinations like Rome and Venice. Bologna still holds a distinct Italian charm without mass produced pizza parlours and people selling selfie sticks.
We visited Bologna in December to January, and although it was cool, the sun radiated a warmth which I thought only comes with the spring. Perhaps this is why I managed to avoid the post-New Year January blues – it felt like spring was just around the corner because of the beaming winter sun and daily cappuccinos.
Here again I witnessed one of my favourite things about Southern Europe – the emphasis on spending time with family over large dinners with endless wine. No matter how young or old, family members were gathered together all around town, from morning to night.
Even though Bologna is a relatively large city, dog owners were everywhere, strolling along the streets with their companions.
And although churches are often quite similar to each other, the ones in Bologna were full of people and plants, giving these sacred places a refreshed, rather than a dusty and antiquated atmosphere.
Every church had a unique and creative display and it was evident the Italians put a lot of effort into keeping these places current and interesting. These places were thus perfect for reminiscing about the past without becoming stuck in it, a place to remember those who left our lives but nevertheless left a memorable mark in our minds and hearts.
The light, the humane warmth and unexpected cherry blossoms made me realise seasons are not as rigid as our calendars make them out to be.