This past weekend I decided to take two trips, one to Ferrara, a town I visited on my first trip to Italy, and the other to Modena, the next big town over from Bologna and site of one of the most charming squares in this region, so they say.
I wanted to visit Ferrara in particular to see again the wonderful old Romanesque cathedral, whose facade is one of the more interesting examples of the style, and to visit the art museum. Ferrara developed its own school of art during the Renaissance, a school which I like but don’t know much about.
Upon arrival in Ferrara, I headed cross town to the art museum, where I was informed that half of the museum was closed (no reason was given). It was the half with the home-grown Renaissance painters. Afterwards I tromped to the center of town, where I discovered that the facade of the cathedral was completely covered for restoration.
The next day I set off for Modena. I went to the station, bought my ticket, and found the platform, where the train was there waiting, albeit with its doors closed. An announcement kept coming over the PA that the train to Milan (the one stopping in Modena) was leaving from platform 5. I probably heard this announcement a dozen times, right until the minute before it was scheduled to leave, at which point the announcement simply said the train to Milan is cancelled. I went home, and came back to the station in time for the next train, which I found was also cancelled. I went home again, and came back for yet the next train, which was an hour and a half late, no doubt due to the previous cancellations, at which point it was too late in the day for a trip to Modena. I found out the next day that there had been a sciopero (strike). During a strike, there is no advance notice as to which trains are not going to get crew members, since only a subset of railway workers actually stop working.
When my Italian teacher asked me about my weekend on Monday, and I told her my tale, she said Ah! Veramente un fine settimana Italiano!