A breath of fresh air

A breath of fresh air

Saturday, February 6th, 2021

We haven’t used Laura’s car for over two months and even then it was only to go to a supermarket outside the center. So that means that for over two months we’ve never been further than maybe 200 meters from our front door. Over the last month or so in fact it was against the law to travel outside your city except for some compelling reason (work, health, etc). I was getting a little worried that the car battery might be going dead. As of February 1st the rules were relaxed and it is now allowed to take a trip outside your own city and even to another region (except for two regions which still have a high rate of infections). So we decide to take a little trip.

I had once done a translation of a tourist brochure for the comune of Bologna about nearby points of interest so I knew that there was a relatively well preserved Etruscan village not too far away. After a Google search I found that it was at Marzabotto. Well, preserved is relative since the Etruscans left there about 2400 years ago and so the layout of the town with streets and foundations of houses are there but not much else. There is however a museum with a lot of Etruscan artifacts that were found at the site and surely a lot of other information. In any case Marzabotto is only about 30 Km from Bologna so it seemed like a good outing. Unfortunately all of the Etruscan stuff was closed due to the pandemic.

If interested you can find out more about the Etruscan site and museum here . We’ll be back.

I also found that Marzabotto is noted for something more somber. In and around Marzabotto between September 29 and October 5 1944 the Nazis massacred at least 770 people, the entire populations of some little towns; men, women, children, seniors, priests, everybody. The idea was to terrorize the population to convince them to not support the partigiani (the Italian partisan guerrilla fighters). I suspect that such cruelty served to increase the recruitment of partigiani and supporters. In any case there is a memorial museum in Barzabotto and as you might guess, it too was closed.

The wall at the entrance to the museum with photos (if they were available) of those killed in the massacre.

At least it prompted us to watch a film on Amazon Prime the next day “L’uomo che verrà” (The Man Who Will Come) on the subject of the massacre. It is only available here with Italian spoken language and Italian subtitles. The subtitles are necessary not only for me, but also for most Italians since much of the dialog is an a local dialect. If interested in learning more about the massacre you can follow this link

Then we had our first restaurant meal for 4 months. I had researched restaurants in the area and found that there were some good ones in Sasso Marconi which is larger than Marzabotto and and only 8 km away. The meal was good, the restaurant was very welcoming and the price was incredibly low for the quality of the food. We decided to splurge and has an antipasto (sformato – “flan”), a primo (tortelloni- a fresh stuffed pasta but the size of big ravioli), a secondo (scaloppine) and a contorno (verdure fritte – fried vegetables), plus a half liter of the house red and water and coffee at the end of the meal. The total for everything was 50 euros. It was all good (although the fried veggies weren’t great).

Sformato of potatoes and mushrooms with a parmigiano cream with black truffles.
Scaloppini with porcini mushrooms
The fried veggies
At the end, a free small piece of cake and a kind of creamy limoncello in the green bottle (also free) and coffees for Laura and I

So since we’ll need to go back sometime to see the museums we’ll definitely eat at Osteria dei Sani again.

As we were almost home I was almost overwhelmed by the feeling of being able to have at least a taste of a normal life. It was like taking a deep breath of the early morning air. Don’t we all wish so much for a return to normal – whatever that is – or will be.

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