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Hiking near Bologna and Real Italian Minestrone Soup

Good morning, luvs!

After my Bolognese friend Maddalena and I explored bombed out villas in a beautiful Italian park near Bologna, we emerged from the tree line to see this stunning view.

I could hardly believe it! The colors were so rich and glorious in the late Indian Summer sunshine, looking more like a painting than a real life scene. The sun was warm on our skin and we soaked it in little knowing that the next day summer would flee for good, replaced by bitterly cold winds and drenching rain.

We shared the trails of Parco della chiusa or Parco Talòn  in Casalecchio with Italian couples strolling hand in hand, young moms visiting animatedly with their friends, and joggers huffing and puffing up the steep incline.

And it was steep! Instead of sticking to the gentle incline of the main trails, we took a deep breath and headed straight up the hillside, bent almost double to keep from sliding down the dusty pathway.

By the time we reached the top we were wheezing and gasping like the joggers we had seen earlier, laughing as we made our quivering legs take those final steps to the top.

The view was worth every shaky step and near tumble and we stood for a while enjoying it thoroughly as we filled our lungs with fresh air.

After a bit we continued on our way, the going much easier now that we were crossing the ridge line instead of laboring up steep paths.

It was my first time visiting Italy in the Fall and how I loved crunching through the leaves, finding bushes laden with ripe berries, and feeling beautifully warm after my chilly summer in Amsterdam.

We didn’t actually know where we were, so we just followed whatever trail took our fancy, assuming that one of them would take us home again. Along the way we found ivy covered walls and this wonderful old villa glowing warmly in the setting sun.

At the villa we picked up a couple of friends, two little kitties – a black and a gray – who gamboled after us, stopping often to roll in the dust-filled potholes and arch their bodies against our legs.

All too soon it was time to head home for dinner. We drove through the golden hills back to Maddalena’s house, and sat down to a perfect meal of fresh bread and homemade minestrone soup. It was nothing like the glutinous stuff I’ve had out of cans with soggy bits of pasta floating in a sea of overcooked vegetables. Nope, this was marvelous, a delicate vegetable soup drizzled with good quality olive oil and topped with freshly grated Parmesan.

Maddalena was surprised I wanted the recipe. To her it is simple country food, a hodgepodge of whatever leftover vegetables she might find in her fridge. But to me it was something special.

It was minestrone soup as it was meant to be. A delicious end to a wonderful day.

sunset in Italy

What is your favorite meal after a nice, long walk?

Real Italian Minestrone Soup

Maddalena and her aunts always use a pressure cooker to make minestrone soup. They add vegetable broth, salt and pepper and an assortment of chopped vegetables. While the combinations are endless, they do have certain traditions concerning the vegetables.


hunk of Parmesan cheese
good quality olive oil
chopped vegetables (see below)

Vegetables that SHOULD be Included:

beans (small dried)
green beans

Vegetables that CAN be included:


Vegetables that MUST NOT be included:

aubergine (eggplant)


  1. Add all ingredients to pressure cooker and cook for 15 minutes until all vegetables are tender.
  2. Ladle into bowls, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan.


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Bringing Sunny Italy to Rainy Amsterdam through Pasta » Rambling Tart - […] peppered Maddalena with questions about Bolognese Italian cooking. I loved learning how to make real Italian minestrone soup and thoroughly enjoyed  real Italian breakfasts complete with pastry and […]

Erica Kuschel - This light! Oh my goodness! Everything is so golden!

Ayngelina - Absolutely gorgeous. I was just in Italy and didn’t have time for Bologna and now I really regret it.

Stevie - What a beautiful afternoon.  The colors of the Italian countryside really do look like a painting. Your minestonre looks mouthwatering.  I like it that you sorted the veggies into should include, may include and don’t include.  It makes it much clearer. 

Krista - Ohhh, I’m glad I could inspire your middle-of-the-night reverie, Susan. 🙂

Krista - Oh that’s great, Joanne. 🙂 You’re such an awesome cook I bet the soup is FABULOUS! 🙂

Krista - She IS a special friend, Tuula. 🙂 So brave and inspiring and fun. 🙂 So glad you like the colors and views too. 🙂

Anonymous - Awake for a glass of water and enjoyed my hike with you through  that lovely countryside…enjoyed the table setting too!
now back to sleep 🙂

Joanne - I’m actually eating soup NOW after going on a nice long walk. I’d love a bowl of that minestrone though!

Anonymous - What a lovely walk – that is a gorgeous view and the fall colors are fantastic! Love the photos of you two, what a special friend.. & in 
Italy no less, lucky you!

Krista - Ohhh, I love that story, Jamie! What a beautiful tradition to share with your family. 🙂 I miss Italy too, so much. 🙂

Krista - Not presumptuous at all, Paradis!! I’d love to go exploring with you. 🙂 I completely agree about the food. I collected more recipes from Bologna than anywhere else in Italy. 🙂 Yum!

Krista - Isn’t it the best, Tracy? I was utterly smitten with it. 🙂

Jamie - Everyone is going to Itally! And I love seeing you hike the hills of Bologna in a pretty little sundress! You are cute! Ah, how I miss Italy and your stunning photos bring it all back to me. And love the Minestrone – we have a favorire restaurant in Milan we used to bring the boys once a week for dinner when they were little and we lived there and we always ordered their minestrone which looked just like this. And guess what? Earlier this month as we were passing through Milan we stopped there for dinner and ordered this! What a fabulous memory and what a great bowl of soup! xo

mlleparadis - How gorgeous – wish I could have been with you two!  (Am I being presumptuous?)  When I visited Bologna years ago, I had THE BEST FOOD!  (Sorry Florence, Venice and even Rome!)  Will definitely try this recipe – but I’m sure it’s also all about having super fresh seasonal veggies.  

tracypickle - I love that path…I want to walk that path.

Krista - Thank you so much, dear Linda. 🙂 I really appreciate you sharing it with others! I am settling in and am so happy here. 🙂

Krista - Thank you so much, Cathy. 🙂 It’s one of my favorite dresses, so feminine and breezy on hot summer days. 🙂

Krista - Thank you, Zita! 🙂 That sounds like a perfect way to experience Tuscany. 🙂

Krista - Thank you!! 🙂 I’m so glad you’re going to make it. I think my friend has a pressure cooker I can borrow, so I hope to make this soon too. 🙂

Krista - Oh, that’s perfect, Val. 🙂 I just had grilled cheese today and it was so comforting and nice. 🙂

Lindyloumac - A gorgeous post Krista and as it is set in my beloved Italy I took the opportunity of retweeting this post to tell my followers what a great blog you have. Hope you are settling in well by now to your new Australian lifestyle.

Krista - Thank you, Amy. 🙂 I love that word too! It’s so very apt. 🙂

Krista - I agree, Hila. 🙂 I’ve lingered over them many, many times, loving the warmth and beauty of this place. 🙂

Krista - It IS so different, Jenny. 🙂 I love both places but I’ve never seen Oz in the fall. I can’t wait! 🙂

Cathy - Fantastic photos Krista.  I love your dress!  You look so relaxed and happy.  I really like how you have set out the minestrone recipe with regard to whether the vegetables should or shouldn’t be included.

Zita - Beautiful photos, Krista! I ate Minestrone and Ribolita soup a lot 3 weeks ago in Tuscany. I love it! So yummie!

Overlooking Mississippi - Hi Krista,

Lovely scenic photos as always..love love minestrone soup-I’m going to make it tomorrow 🙂

bellini - I have something for a nice grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of soup. Hearty and heart-warming after a long hike. Thanks for sharing all of these wonderful photos with us. I felt like I washuking as well ..in the kitties footsteps.

Amy @ Seven Grey Sweaters - How beautiful! The kitties gamboled after you — lovely and fitting verb choice! 🙂

hila - oh gosh, I just want to step inside these photos and never leave.

jenny@atasteoftravel - What fun to be hiking in this beautiful countryside with the autumn colours all around you and such amazing views. Your photos capture it all so well. Very different to Oz!

Krista - Thank you, dear Margo! 🙂 I’ve never used a pressure cooker in my life, but I absolutely have to now that I’ve tasted this soup. 🙂

Margo Millure - Absolutely gorgeous! And can’t wait to try the soup recipe… I’ve got a pressure cooker somewhere in the back of a cabinet 🙂

Krista - I’m so glad they delight you too, Ruth! 🙂 I’m so glad I got to experience a bit of Autumn in Italy, because now that I’m home in Australia it’s SUMMER! Today it’s beautifully cloudy and cool though, and I’m a happy camper. 🙂

Ruth Dear - Wow the colours in those photos are fantastic! Autumn is quickly becoming my favourite season, I’m enjoying the red, browns and yellows so much, I only wish autumn lasted longer and winter was shorter!

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