It’s finally official. We’ll be heading to Bologna, Italy for Easter. I can’t wait.

I’ve never been to Italy and this trip has been planned specifically around The Bologna Children’s Book Fair. It’s the largest book fair for illustrated storybooks in the world – no kids allowed. I can’t take my daughter to the fair, but I can take her to Bologna for other great things.

This isn’t a fair for families, it’s a fair for professionals: publishers, editors, agents, writers and illustrators. The fair itself is a 4-day affair, but because it lands right during the Easter Holiday, I’ll be able to stretch the length of the trip and bring my family with me.

Bologna here we come!

We’ve booked flights & reserved a place for 12 DAYS!!!

After hunting around for quite a while, we discovered we could rent a nearby apartment on the cheap. That means more space, our own kitchen and no tourists. Plus it’s close to the city center without being too close.

The plan is to take full advantage of the local markets in Bologna, which I’ve read are famously amazing – and have been there for thousands of years (since the Middle Ages, which my 3rd-grade daughter recently learned was from 500-1500 AD – she just yesterday took her test on that era).

Beautiful BolognaAs a family, we’ll have several days to holiday together and see the sights… at the beginning of the trip. Not quite what I would have liked (preferring to work before play), but the end of the book fair bumps up at the end of the holiday season. No choice.

The trick now: GET READY! I’ve got to clean the apartment, write GSB articles ahead of schedule (so that subscribers have material to read while I’m at the fair), get all my materials ready (business cards, manuscripts, portfolio, etc.).

Bologna here we come!

What the trip will bring…

I want to take a train ride to Parma and get Parmesan cheese there. We must also (all of us, as a family, so that I do not gain alone) eat gelato, pizza and pasta while in Bologna. No way around that. I want to hike the Portico of San Luca Walk, take another hike up the Torre Asinelli (a 97-meter high ancient tower) and actually look out the window. I want to sketch people and things around the Piazza Maggiore and take my time walking through the famous porticos of this ancient university town. This will be special time with my family, and the first real vacation in many years.

What the book fair will bring…

The most important thing will be in meeting new people, especially those from the SCBWI. I’m very excited about meeting fellow members there. I also hope to meet some people I know from the Frankfurt Buchmesse. I expect I will. What will be more difficult to swing is a meeting or dinner with an agent. I’m working on that. Regardless, there will be a lot to write about and a lot to learn. I’ll be taking furious notes.

AND I plan on coming back home with a bunch of terrific new books! Wahoo!

Have you ever been to Bologna - or even to the Bologna Book Fair? Let me know!


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