Buona Bologna, buona vita – the last night in Bologna
Seeing Via Belvedere didn’t turn out to be the only highlight of the pub life in Bologna at the end. I had to go and experience Via del Pratello to have it all. It was a long and incredibly crowded street with bars, pubs, street food bistros on both sides and many-many people on the street till dawn. But before I arrived there, I still had entered an American style bar in the University quarter.
To be honest, La Gazetta di sera (=the evening newspaper) started only as a service stop for me. After the Bavarian restaurant at the beginning I didn’t want any more stop dedicated to other nations but real Italian. I just was in need to charge my phone and to find a decent toilet after the long walk. This seemed to be a good pick, even for writing the drafts for the future posts of the fresh memories. Originally, I wasn’t about to stay long or look around too carefully. This was the first place after two days where they called me Signore and one of the rare venues which had bar chairs.
I ordered a Murphy’s of their international tap beer selection (Belgian, Irish and German) and started to write in the furthest room from the entrance.
Meanwhile I noticed that the songs in the radio were remarkable cool, jazz and soul remixes of well known hits. I felt sympathy for my eternal matchmaker, the red checked table clothes. This together with the black pieces of furniture made the whole room look like a local hideout restaurant of an Italian colony in some backstreet in the USA in the 1930’s. I also found the mirror frame very spectacular.
I didn’t seem to be the only wanderer using this place to rest. Next to me a middle aged couple was focusing one by one to their small screens instead of talking to each other. I don’t want to judge them. It just a moment of their life and not their life. Maybe they just got tired of walking and talking. At the window a significantly older couple represented the opposite. When the gentleman went to the rest room, the elegant lady remained frozen in her chair. She didn’t touch her phone, neither her glass of wine before her man came back. I followed her lead of not touching something, namely my chips that I got to the beer. I was still full of the aperitivo bites of Il Calice.
When I went paying I met Erika in the bar. She was a half-Italian-half Polish girl. Her Papa moved here from Poland but Erika doesn’t speak his language anymore. She was a bit surprised that I spoke more Polish than she does. She revealed to me that to her father one of the hardest Italian word to learn was the rabbit (=il coniglio). I confessed that it was the same for me. I asked her if she knows how they say the rabbit in Polish. She didn’t know and learned from me that it is królik. She got happy about this and said: let’s drink! She took a bottle of a Polish wodka out of the bar with a quick move and filled up two small glasses for us. Na zdrowie!
Her person filled up also the formerly formal atmosphere of this place in the blink of an eye into with real Italian good vibrations. She must have encouraged also her colleague because he also said goodbye to me with a hi5 after this instead of “arrivederci Signore”. It was the right time to take these vibes with me to Via del Pratello.
I was very curious what I will find there. I was pretty sure at one thing. I will see immediately which is my place to enter. I was looking for the craziest, laziest one. No doubt, that Il Piratello was the one. Crazy colors, crazy design, crazy people.
A DJ in his fifties (DJ Trippo) was playing the music in hat!
Everbody was in party mood and party mod. The elder ones danced with the younger, the chubbier with the thinner ones. There were all kind of guests, even the owner of my hostel. He said that he was pretty sure to bump into me somewhere in the Bologna night. The name of the place is a word play. It comes from the Pirate (Il Pirata) and from the name of the street. Barbara was the queen of the place. She sat at the bar in a corner and looked around smiling in her realm. She seemed to have everything under control.
This is were I had my first Raffo beer. It is said to be one of the most economical Italian lager beer. A small bottle of it costed 2,00 Euro. I took it to the almost full terrace.
Two girls took the last table right before me – You won – I said – We can all win – they answered and offered me to join them. I am grateful meeting them. They told me many insider things about the pub life of Via del Pratello. For example that the people who frequently come here usually don’t like the Via Belvedere because it is too fancy for them. I had a pretty good time in both of the streets. I have also found out from them that the pub DJs of the streets play only in the earlier hours the current hits. Later as the audience turn into more and more
drunk tipsy they change the profile to eternal classic Italian songs (for example Adriano Celentano) and of course, the guests sing even louder. They sang me Maledetta Primadetta (damn spring). In return I …no I didn’t sing…I played them the Hungarian version of Azzurro on Youtube (CLICK TO SEE!). The girls also taught me how to curse in Italian.
Luisa was an Italian girl from Sicily but her roommate Charlotte was originally french and I was a tourist. I suddenly remembered that in the communist times in Hungary three general (not exactly premium quality) salami and cold cut were called like us: Olasz (the Italian), Párizsi (the Parisian) and turista (the Tourist).
It was no question that I stay with Charlotte and Luisa when they went to the next pub. We rushed through the street. I could restist the temptation to take photos on the run. Oh Gosh, so many people!? The streets of the party quarter of Budapest aren’t full on Saturday night at all compared to this “concert crowd” we passed by in Via del Pratello. To my surprise this was more of a local area, many people seemed to know each other here and most of them were residents of Bologna. It wasn’t full with foreigners. I witnessed many hi5, hugs, laughters. On the top everything the girls took me most likely to the most crowded pub of all, Barazzo!
They sold mainly medium import beers on taps, König Ludwig, but not by medium atmosphere. The local life was definitely funny there. When one girl before me asked for a beer at the bar, the bartender drained rather himself first a bit into a coffee cup and drank it and blinked at her. When the lady half-seriously complained about this, he just splashed some water at her from the tap tray laughingly. And you can’t called this bad service, because everybody got happier after it than before. We stayed for one more drink and than I went to rest after the long night. Luisa said goodbye the following way: buona Bologna, buona vita! (=good Bologna, good life!) On the way back home I still went to Il Piratello to say hi and I got from the boss lady, Barbara a Raffo beer as present. This was my good bye to one of the favorite cities, I’ve ever been to, Bologna! On the next day I headed to Padova.
To be continued…
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La Gazetta di sera, Il Piratello and Barozzo are also on the map:
Previous post in Bologna series:
Mio Bar – How I found my “regular bar” for 3 days in Bologna