Most travelers en route from Venice/Milano to Firenze Santa Maria Novella station never get off the train at Bologna. That's one good reason right there to visit the 'red city' città rossa.
37 kilometers (almost 23 miles) of arcades to walk through - another reason. The Museo Morandi is the best reason.If you turn some Morandis upside down you'll see classic arcade shapes in the negative areas around the objects. Bologna's neutralized ochres, burnt siennas and raw siennas gave Morandi his palette too.
"It takes me weeks to make up my mind which group of bottles will go well with a particular coloured tablecloth. Then it takes me weeks of thinking about the bottles themselves, and yet often I still go wrong with the spaces. Perhaps I work too fast?"
My friend, Maryann, has a "Morandi" sitting on her window sill and she didn't go to Bologna to get it...just to the flea market for wooden dowels. The postcard size calendar on the right is best souvenir I got in Bologna - photos of Morandi's still life objects. Morandi's objects, the flower vases, bottles, jars, pitchers are sitting on pedestals in the gallery, like guests of honor, among the paintings. Many are painted flat white or greyish to destroy all reflections. He often painted the same setups over and over, just stepping a few centimeters to the right or left. The calendar page shows Morandi's paint-glutted palette and the closeup shows you how lush his tranquille still lifes are. Every brush mark is visible.
The museum has a "study room" , a reconstruction of his studio. It's full of 100s of his objects plus his narrow camp bed. Morandi rarely left the house. He painted his landscapes looking through binoculars from his window... Gelateria Gianni is another good reason to visit Bologna. Chef Mario Battali trained with Gianni, and his cookbook hangs on the wall over the long case of 20 - 40 delicious flavors. And don't miss salsamenteria Tamburini at lunch time.