Emilia-Romanga, Do not pass Go, Gain 15 pounds
Trip Start Jul 10, 2010
16Trip End Jul 25, 2010
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We are staying in Bologna at the NH De La Gare but this stop will be go,go,go. Frankly we are not sure how much of Bologna proper we will really see.
We arrive Friday the 16th in the morning and then to the Rental Car place and off for a day of Fast Cars. First the Lamborghini Museum / Factory in a small town halfway between Bologna and Modena. Then The Ferrari Museum in Maranello. Then the Ducati Motorcycle Museum back in Bologna.
Saturday the 17th we will be picked up at our hotel at 7:30 am for a Day Long Tour of the Emilla-Romanga Region to discover what made it's food so famous. The Parmagano-Regiano Cheese factory where the making and tasting of Parmesane cheese will keep us busy for a few hours, then off to the Balsamic Factory to see what 25 year old balsamic vinegar tastes like. Then a Lunch prepared for us at a quaint little winery somewhere in the Hills of Tuscany.
NEW ENTRY, FRIDAY 7/16: Ok this will be difficult because I am at least a day behind. Bologna is well in 2 words "Dirty & Expensive" boys don't seem to mind but Debbie and I are not impressed. The countryside is great, very much like Napa Valley but once in the city just another busy dirty place, lots of graffiti everywhere.
Off to the car museums. I don't think we can begin to express the Humor related with this experience. Our train arrived in Bologna around 9:00am, a quick check into the hotel near the train station drop the bags and go looking for a rental car (since the museums are not near any transportation) Found a Hertz quick enough, agent spoke english, 90 euros about what we expected. Paid for car simple enough, right.
When we arrived at the garage the attendant was rattling off Italian to us at warp speed, he had me step out of the car so he could sit in the drivers seat to show us something, at this point he started asking Justin (in the passenger seat) questions which were met with very uncomprehending shrugs, all the while Debbie and Kyle are in the back seat in hysterics. The map we were given had no street names on it so…. Picture yourself jumping off a cliff with your eyes closed and that pretty much sums up what it was like turning left out of the garage.
Believe it or not Justin the navigator actually got us out of town relatively easy. Driving north east we were looking for the small town of Sant' Agata Bolgnese. After a stop at the petrol station (which served hard liquor to our amazement) we were on the right track. Justin’s sense of smell (for cars) got us the rest of the way to the Lamborghini Museum. It was very out of place to have this modern glass building with expensive exotic cars out in the middle of all that farmland. Went through the museum for about ten minutes then they were closed for lunch. Agreed to get lunch ourselves and then return, found this fabulous farm house – villa that had the largest pizza’s you have ever seen. Returned to the museum and visited for about another 45 minutes.
SATURDAY, 7/17: The start of our wonderfull food tour, Alessandro (our very charismatic guide for the day) picked us up in front of our hotel at 7:30am much to our delight since no one seemed to want to drive anymore. It is clear why he is in this business since he couldn't stop talking from the time we got in the van. Our first stop was at the Parmegano Reggiano cheese factory where we
learned everything there was to know about making Parmagano reggiano.
The process itself is quite simple, it is the aging that makes the difference. 15 years for class 1, less for class 2 and then class 3 is just called cheese. In other words Parmagano Reggiano is not refered to as cheese. After the tour we had all the tasting our stomach's could handle along with Lambrusco to wash it down. There was a small shop to purchase the products prior to our departure, I am not telling how much we purchased.
Our next stop was at the Acetto Balsamic Factory known as "Acetaia Villa San Donnino" a Villa that it turns out was in an american movie ( I can't recall the name) they seemed to be quite proud of. Alessandro explained that the minumum age of balsamic