Cheap Seats: Bargain airfares to Zaragosa and Bologna
January 31, 2007
Next weekend — Feb. 9-11Zaragoza, Spain: 53.94 pounds, round tripFly Ryanair from London Stansted to Zaragoza.
Start your visit of Zaragoza at Pilar Cathedral on the bank of the Ebro River. Inside are exquisite choir stalls, walls and ceilings decorated with frescos from famous Spanish painters and cupolas painted by Jose Francisco Goya. In the Holy Chapel, you can find the tiny statue of the Virgen del Pilar. You also can visit the Museo del Pilar, which has a collection of jewelry used to dress the Virgen del Pilar statue.
From there, take a two-minute walk to the Museo Camon Aznar, a museum filled with paintings, engravings and other artwork dating from between the 16th and 20th centuries. Then head south to the Museo Pablo Gargallo. The palace is home to 100 original statues by the Aragonese artist Pablo Gargallo.
Art enthusiasts should not miss the Zaragoza Museum, with an archaeology section that houses a broad collection of artifacts. The fine arts section of the museum includes a room devoted to Goya and a collection of Roman mosaics and ceramics.
Now head to the compelling Cathedral of the Saviour, or La Seo, where kings were crowned. This cathedral’s exterior decor of brick and tile is not to be missed. The cathedral is open for visitors Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 to 6 p.m. Adjacent is the Tapestry Museum with a fine collection of French and Flemish tapestries.
If time allows, take in a concert or a bullfight at the 18th century Misericordia (Mercy) bullring, the first in Spain with a retractable roof.
Next month — March 9-11Bologna, Italy: 35.68 pounds, round tripFly Ryanair from London Stansted to Bologna Forli.
Begin your visit of Bologna at the two 12th century leaning towers of Torre degli Asinelli and Toree della Garisenda. The taller tower, Asinelli, stands more than 334 feet. Climbing the 500 steps to the top offers views of the colorful rooftops and hills of Bologna. Unfortunately, part of Garisenda had to be lopped off for safety years ago, and the tower is no longer open to visitors.
On Piazza Maggiore, you can find one of the largest medieval churches in Italy, the Basilica di San Petronio with its 22 art-filled chapels and decorative stained-glass windows. The fourth chapel on the left is the Bolognini Chapel and is adorned with frescos representing heaven and hell.
Also located on the Piazza Maggiore is the Palazzo Comunale, Bologna’s town hall. The town hall is home to the Communal Collection of Fine Arts, which includes paintings from the 14th to 19th centuries and to the (Giorgio) Morandi Museum, which is devoted to his work of transforming the ordinary into works of art. The museum houses more than 250 works, according to www.hellobologna.bolognafiere.it/eng, the city’s Web site.
The next stop, if time allows, should be the National Picture Gallery, which boasts a fine collection of masterpieces by Bologna’s own Guido Reni, Francesco Francia and other Italian artists.
Don’t leave Bologna without eating some traditional Bolognese food, whether its tagliatelle; tortellini; piadina, a pizza bread with fillings; or mortadella, a salted pork.
Airfare prices include estimated taxes and are courtesy of the Web site www.skyscanner.net. Prices were verified as of Monday afternoon when Stars and Stripes UK went to press. Deals are not guaranteed to be available; restrictions may apply.