Monday, June 25, 2012

A Taste of Home in Italy: Day 4

On our last day in Bologna, we had some 'free' time in the morning, so what did we do?  We went shopping! 

First we wandered through the market area, with vendors selling fresh produce, meats, cheese, and other goodies.
 Sadly, no one in our group was tempted to bring home an entire pig's leg.
Meat & Cheese shop
I could not resist buying some more cherries and apricots -- they were as good as, if not better than, the ones I used to eat straight from the trees at my parents' house in central California.
Giant apricots!
 I was a little puzzled by the merchandise in this shop near our hotel...
Did you spot the American flag boxes in the background?
We found some cute shoe stores, but we were reluctant to buy shoes based on how they fit after three days of eating lots of salty food in hot, humid weather.  Nearly every woman in our group complained of swollen feet and a bad case of 'cankles' -- but it was a small price to pay...

We had to check out of the hotel by noon, and then piled back into the bus with our luggage to set out on one last Italian adventure.  Our first stop, the cute little town of Castelvetro di Modena.
We had lunch at a little cafe that seemed a bit overwhelmed to have a dozen people show up all at the same time, but they rose to the challenge. 

The main plaza had a clock tower, what looked like a mini-castle, and a lovely view.
Clock tower
The local church
Rose window
Must be fun hanging the laundry out to dry...
Our next stop was the Ca'Berti winery, which produces several varieties of the sparkling wine that this region is known for.   On the drive out there -- as I had at several other points during the trip -- I felt like I was back in California.  The landscape, the climate, and the vineyards and orchards reminded me of my home state -- and all the fresh produce and local wines.  We could have been in Napa, except everything was in Italian...

Tree and petunia-lined entrance
Wine shop and restaurant
Nice tile!
I heard through the grapevine that the wine is quite good
The owner and his son (age 12) gave us a tour of the winery.  They both spoke a little English, but preferred explaining the process to Mara in Italian and having her translate.
The owner explains to Mara how to make sparkling wine
Case of Ca'Berti wine
After the tour, we got to taste several wines, which the owner's son helped open and pour.  "I like wine!" he told us -- in English. 
Care for a taste?
Of course, no tasting is complete without Parmesan Cheese
The sparkling white and rosé wines were nice, but I think some of us were put off by the sparkling red wine.  It's just not something we are used to, so it's a little bit of a shock to sip a red wine with bubbles in it.  Like wine itself, it's probably an acquired taste.
Mara does her best Vanna White impression
Assortment of Ca'Berti labels
Are we in California?
We would have happily stayed there all afternoon sipping wine, nibbling on cheese, and enjoying the beautiful view and warm weather, but we had a plane to catch...

Arrivederci, Italy!  I had a wonderful time, and I look forward to seeing you again -- soon, I hope!

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