I’ll be in Bologna for a month- to experience a new Italian city and learn everything possible about the cuisine of the Emilia-Romagna! This is the stuff Italian food dreams are made of!
A lot of people ask “so what brought you to Florence?” and the answer is essentially I’d always wanted to move to Italy and work in food and wine. They also ask “what’s your blog all about?” This blog is about where & drink eat but also about an American-born food enthusiast who moved to Italy from Seattle. In the past, I never thought anything more of Florence than a touristic city and was surprised to learn it was indeed a pretty cool place to live.
In case you’re a first time reader, for years I had been planning to move to Italy, since the day I first visited Florence in 2005. In 2012, I moved to Florence. Before this, I had basically given up on this goal. Anytime I met an Italian and told them I wanted to move there, they’d say “why would you want to leave Seattle for Italy? There is no work! Don’t be foolish- Italy is a corrupt state that will corrupt your mind!” I didn’t have any reliable professional contacts, the job market sounded frightful and the politics an never-ending joke.
Prior to my arrival in 2012, I was working on a certificate in food & wine pairing and I saw a flyer around campus to study abroad at an International culinary academy in Florence. I thought this was the ticket. Going to Florence to round-up my studies in food & wine seemed more structured rather than just showing up without a plan.
People had their opinions, both good & bad about my move to Italy, but I’m convinced that if there is a will, there is a way. Perhaps I’ve been lucky, but I really think we have more power to make things happen than what we give ourselves credit for.
Eventually though, I landed one of the best jobs I could have asked for (organizing culinary vacations) and in my preferred field of food and wine.
Since 2012, I’ve been in Florence. The city is gorgeous, getting fresh produce is accessible, tons of tourism/fashion/arts sustains the local economy, anytime I need an artsy fix I just head over to the Oltrarno aka the Artisans/Bohemian quarter, there is an never-ending selection of quality eating and drinking holes, it’s small enough to where you can get to any part of town in 20 minutes by bike and Florentines in certain ways are charming.
Despite all that, these last months I’ve been feeling a bit bored with Florence, curious to try a new place. I think that life should be flexible, doors can be open and shut and there should be room to experiment. I’ve left and come back before, but always with a new perspective and game plan.
Then it dawned on me- why not check out Bologna? I’ve gone a few times over the year to visit friends, it’s a cool alternative city and the region as a whole is a culinary treasure chest. The best part is that it’s a 30 minute train ride from Florence! And before you say Bologna is just a student’s town- hear me out. Bologna is definitely a working town, there is a large student population but according to some stats I researched, makes up 10% of the entire metropolitan population of Bologna.
As a food lover- Bologna is a paradise. Bologna is located in the Emilia-Romagna and the region as a whole has a lot to brag about in terms of food: tortellini, fresh egg pasta, prosciutto di parma, PARMESAN, currently the world’s #1 restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena, speaking of Modena- aged balsamic vinegar, lambrusco wines, other delicious wines from indigenous grapes that are unsung and grow in the hills surrounding Bologna, fried dough, mortadella, all the cured meats that savory dreams are made of…the list is staggering and troublesome for my arteries.
There is a thriving alternative arts and music scene in Bologna, and it feels like there is more contemporary action happening in the way of food and daily life. There are green initiatives, start-up culture and the people from the Emilia-Romagna have a reputation for being some of the nicest people in Italy.
I am trying to be careful to not build Bologna up and throw Florence off her pedestal. So, I have decided to try out Bologna for a month, to see how it fits. If I like it enough after this month- I might move here! As the title says- this is a test. Even though I’m just a train ride away from Florence, it feels like a dramatic change. This only goes to show you how provincial Italy is and how changing city can seem very drastic.
So stay tuned, curious appetites! I’ll be updating my daily affairs on Instagram (stories too) @curiousappetite Facebook, and snapchat- I will probably have way too much time on my hands barely knowing anyone or anything so I’ll definitely be scoping out the city and documenting my journey.
If you have any tips or people I should meet, please let me know. Like I said, I will know like 2 people and have a little list of eating-to-do but other than that, I’ll be wandering the streets and following my nose as I did when I first started to get to know Florence. Stay tuned!
In your grassa trust,