Monty's Italy - Picking Up Dinner in Bologna Quadrilatero

As legend has it, tortellini were inspired by Venus' navel. The Goddess of Love once stayed at a tavern in the town of Castelfranco, nearby Bologna. That evening, the naughty old innkeeper snuck a peak through the keyhole of her room and got a partial glimpse of her. Luckily, only of her navel, else we'd be eating some interesting looking pasta. Struck by what he saw, he ran to the kitchen, rolled out a sheet of pasta, and created tortellini.

Venus Navel Inspired by legend, I headed for Bologna in search of Venus' navel – after all it's not everyday I get to eat Goddess shaped pasta.

 Quadrilatero The Quadrilatero, or medieval market, area is bounded by piazza Maggiore, via Rizzoli, piazza della Mercanzia, via Castiglione, via Farini, piazza Galvani and via dell’Archiginnasio – you won't remember that, so use Google Maps.

Market Area The tiny old cobblestone streets of the medieval market take their names from the traders who used to occupy them back in the Roman times: "via Pescherie is where the fishmongers concentrated, via Orefici housed the goldsmiths, via Caprarie was home to the butchers selling sheep and goat meat, via Drapperie was for the upholsterers, and so on." [Good read on Bologna Uncovered].

Bolognase First, Ragù Bolognese from Gilberto; their bolognese recipe has been handed down through 5 generations.

Paolo Atti & Figli Then Venus' navel from Paolo Atti & Figli ...

Simoni And what would a visit to Bologna be without la grassa (the fat) from Simoni. Mortadella also comes with a legend, – no, it's not inspired by another part of Venus' perfect body – it was presented as a wedding gift to noblewoman Lucrezia Borgia when she married Alfonso I, Duke of Este – apparently it was rather expensive back then.

And the end result...

Tortelli Monty