To Fieldthistle's wife: Regarding Bologna, Italy, here's an excerpt taken from the NY Times [Sunday, 9/3/06] Travel section (delivered to us country-folks with their Saturday paper):
"The Frugal Traveler Sees the World - May 31; Bologna
If anyone knows how to travel frugally, it is a college student. So I headed to Bologna, Italy's quintessential caollege town. There, I indulged in all the perquisites of student life. I woke up late and ate pizza; I browsed the library at the Sala Borsa, the old stock exchange whose Roman foundations are visible through clear plastic floors; I I marched through 666 arches to the hilltop Sanctuario di San Luca; and at night I met an ever-growing circle of students for apertivi--those free spreads of pastas, veggies, bread and cheese that bars offer to drinking customers.
Several days of apertivi, however, left me hungry for more. Besides its university, founded in 1088, Bologna is renowned for its cuisine, reputed to be the best in Italy. Its most famous dish is arguably tagliatelle al ragu, otherwise know as spaghetti [actually more like fettucine] bolognese. And now here I was, in the city that invented it, with my nose against the glass.
The students had one word for me: Quindici['15'], an osteria known for its belly-filling meals at prices that won't empty your wallet (via Mirasole 15; [tel.] 39-051-331806). On my last night, three students and I managed to consume an impressive antipasti spread there--ricotta with syrupy balsamic vinegar, marinated olives and artichokes, a tub of squacherone cheese, and a platter of prosciutto, mortadella and salami--plus a liter of the house Montepulciano. For main course, I ordered the tagliatelle al ragu. It was the best I've had in a long, long time: meaty, with an intense tomato flavor and perfectly chewy noodles. The bill was 23 euros (about $28) each, by far my highest expense in Bologna, but worth every cent."
I think I'll check flights out of JFK...