Monthly Archives: April 2013

Festivals in Bologna, Italy: Par Tòt Parade

Par Tot

creative commons photo by RedGlow82 via Flickr

In Bolognese dialect, Par Tòt Parata means “parade for everyone” and anyone interested in performing in the parade is welcome to take part.  The parade started in 2002 and now takes place in Bologna every two years.  2013 is a parade year and this year’s Par Tòt  is scheduled for June 15th.  The heart of the festival are the free artistic workshops run by volunteers in the months leading up to the parade, aimed at preparing the people of Bologna to be street performers.  On the event website, it says that the parade and the workshops are like macaroni and cheese: one is unthinkable without the other.  This year’s workshops kicked off in April and include courses in dance, percussion, miming, clownery, float construction, mask construction, costume making, hair & makeup, and more.  The courses are free and open to everyone.  For more details, visit the Association Oltre website and check out the flyer for the artistic workshops.



Living in Bologna, Italy: Boot Camp classes in Giardini Margherita

Joanna Faso Fitness

Body Wellness Bologna Instructor Joanna Faso

My good friend Joanna Faso from Body Wellness Bologna is moving her Boot Camp fitness classes back outside for Spring and Summer. The classes are 45 minutes of challenging yet fun exercise with a blend of strong aerobic movement, some TRX training as well as deep yoga stretching. Classes are taught in a mix of English and Italian. Send Joanna a note to RSVP before class as the schedule is subject to change due to weather or other factors that arise.

Giardini Margherita in front of the small lake

Tuesday/Thursday: 9:15AM
Wednesday: 19:15PM
Saturday: 9:15AM

Single lesson: €15
5 class package: €60
10 class package: €110
If you have never been to a class, your first lesson is just €10 and if you bring 2 friends with you, your class is always free.

Joanna Faso: joannafaso [at] hotmail [dot] com

Buon workout a tutti!

Our Favorite Parks and Gardens in Bologna

View of Bologna Centro from Parco San Pellegrino

View of Bologna Centro from Parco San Pellegrino

The day before I moved to Bologna, a friend of mine from Austria told me that he wasn’t too fond of Bologna — it’s very industrial, he said.  With these words ringing in my years, I admit I was a little apprehensive my first day in Bologna while walking around the Medieval city center.  In my nervous state, the buildings seemed dusty and old; my eyes locked on the dog wiz and cacca on the side walks; and I didn’t see a single tree or patch of grass.  But I soon discovered that there’s plenty of greenery to be found in and around Bologna.  If you peek through entrance gates and doors as you stroll through Centro,  you’ll be in awe with some of the beautiful courtyards and gardens that lie behind the Medieval building facades.  And shortly after leaving the city walls, you’re in what the locals call the colli (the Bolognese hills).  Upon entering the colli, any nature deficit that you’ve been feeling will immediately fade away.

Now that Spring is here, we plan to spend much of the coming months outdoors.  Here are five of our favorite parks and gardens in and around Bologna where we head when the sun’s shining and Mother Nature starts calling. Continue reading

ARCOIRIS: Italian course for immigrants


I recently received a tip from a friend about the Italian course for foreigners run by the association ARCOIRIS.  The classes are run by volunteer Italian teachers and the course is practically free — you just pay $20 for an annual membership to the association, which also gets you the association’s grammar workbook.  Classes are 2 hours/lesson and meet twice a week.  Classes are held at five different locations in the city and are offered at various times of day.  The current course finishes up at the end of May (it started in the beginning of February).  There will be a break for the summer months and then classes will start up again in September.

I’ve attended a handful of classes now and managed to wiggle my way into the advanced class with my friend’s recommendation (it’s a good thing we’re not being graded!)  Our class is a melting pot with students from Denmark, Morocco, Albania, Siberia, and Syria.  For one class, a number of us agreed to bring a typical dish from our home country — we had cous cous from Morocco, byrek from Albania, and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from the U.S. (my contribution).

For more details, check out ARCOIRIS’ website, blog, or Facebook page.

Soup’s on, Bologna! Gran Festival Internazionale della Zuppa

logo zuppa

Get your soup on this Sunday!

April 21, 2013 is Bologna’s 8th Great International Soup Festival, a soup cook-off with more than 100 different soups.  The festivities will take place on Via Stoppato and Via Colombarola in the Corticella neighborhood.  People are encouraged to come by bike or bus and bring their own bowl and spoon.  The festival kicks off at 4PM, the tasting starts at 4:30PM, and the winners are announced at 7:30PM. Last year, Luke and I rolled up near the latter end of the festival and all the soup was gone, so make sure to go early if you want to take part in the tasting.  But if you miss the soup, it’s still worth checking out as the street party should continue well into the night.  Soup festivals also take place in Barcelona, ​​Berlin, Krakow, Frankfurt and Lille, France (where the tradition started 12 years ago).  The winners of Sunday’s cook-off will win a trip to one of the other soup festivals abroad.  The festival is organized by cultural associations Oltre…, Agorà dei Mondi, and Krila-Tdo in collaboration with Centro Sociale Ricreativo Villa Torchi and A.N.P.I. Corticella.  For more details, see the Associazione Oltre website or the festival’s Facebook page.

Tools for the Expat or Traveling Yogi

My hand on yoga mat

In the US, a consistent yoga practice for me meant buying an unlimited monthly pass at a studio and then attending class as often as I could.  Yoga studios operate a tad differently here in Italy: Unlimited monthly yoga passes are a rarity; And most studios require you to register for a specific course, registering for a period of one or three months at a frequency of either once or twice a week.  For me, this model makes a lot of sense and would be a great complement to a regular home practice, but is not enough yoga for me on its own.  Even before moving to Italy, I was wanting more of a home practice.  Yoga, after all, is a technique to become more self aware, which is generally easier to do when you’re alone.  But ultimately, the move to Italy motivated me to start rolling out my mat at home more regularly. Continue reading

Yoga in Bologna at Spazio Indue

One-Legged King Pigeon Pose

via flickr by lululemon athletica

I’ve tried out a handful of yoga studios in Bologna, taking advantage of the free trial class (la lezione di prova) offered by most studios.  I found a couple I liked, but decided to practice at home for the time being — focusing on developing a home practice and saving a little cash.  Then last week, a friend told me about a deal too good to pass up:  €3 drop-in yoga classes at Spazio Indue in Bologna Centro.  I found my way there as quickly as I could. Continue reading