Nothing better than a good Italian breakfast to get the day going–I enjoyed the mortadella (baloney with fat inclusions) and prosciutto(cured ham)– along with scrambled eggs (yellow gold to almost orange–farm yard fresh). The buffet was large and varied. Kathy’s selection of a boiled egg gave us the laughs of the day. Having not yet eaten the egg, she decided to take it with her; however, in moving the chair and with her hands occupied with purse and room key, the egg rolled out of her hand and lodged in a delicate place on the top portion of her body. Allen and Rhonda looked on helplessly as I gently removed the egg. Once things quieted down, Rhonda, looking at Allen said, “Can I borrow that egg?”
The highlight of the day was the Basilica of San Petronio, one of Italy’s largest churches, exceeded only by the cathedrals in Milan and Florence. Unfinished on the exterior, the basilica majestically anchors a fortresslike piazza. The interior nave, while plain by Italian standards, was solemn and reverent, yet, commanding in its simplicity. The side Chapel of the Magi, painter in dispute, is considered one of the great frescoes. While heaven beckons from above, one’s eye is drawn to Lucifer in the lower portion, gobbling up unrepentant sinners and excreting them into hell below.
We enjoyed the remainder of the day wandering the narrow streets and alleys, looking into markets with fresh produce, (especially interesting were the many varieties of figs) and into shops with giant wheels of parmesan or parmigiano-reggiano cheese and whole ham prosciutto hanging in rows from the ceilings. Salami in more varieties than I knew could exist beckoned from the butcher’s blocks.
It was a refreshing, unhurried day, made all the more pleasant with two stops at the gelateria just down the street from the hotel.