As I leave Pisa, I’m a bit nervous with the mountain crossing planned for my next leg. Italy’s mountains run the full length of the coast, and, if I want to get to the other side where Bologna is, I’ll need to cross them. They are relatively low compared to the mammoth peaks I faced in the middle of the United States, so flying over them in my Piper won’t be a challenge. The real issue is that, in the event of an emergency, there’s no good place to set down.
As I cross over the peaks and stare back at the green slopes, I breathe a sigh of relief.
The trip to LIPE Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport is 64 nm and takes forty minutes. The airport is named for Guglielmo Marconi, the famous engineer who invented the radio.
Once in Bologna, I visit Piazza Maggiore, wandering to Piazza del Nettuno and checking out the Fountain of Neptune. Next, the Piazza di Porta Ravegnana is home to two leaning towers which have names - Asinelli and Garisenda. Asinelli is taller than Pisa’s. Lastly, I grab a dish of tortellini at Trattoria di Via Serra. With a full belly, I head back to the airport.
Scattered clouds roll in, but the weather shows a ceiling of 6500 feet. I’ll keep at 4500. Visibility is good at twenty kilometers. When I take off, puffy clouds dapple the sky.
A patchwork of green and straw glides beneath me.
As I approach the halfway point, the Po River snakes east. I follow it towards Venice.
As I approach LIPZ Venice Tessera Marco Polo airport, the waters turn azure and sea green with sinuous channels.
One I set down, I find another pilot prepping a twin-engine Piper PA34 Seneca V. He’s Italian, but speaks fluent English, and has two female passengers who seem more like friends than customers. We get to chatting and I offer to kick in some gas money if he’ll take me up with them.
The Seneca’s cockpit is fairly modern — not as high-tech as the Cirrus SR22 I saw in Florence — but still much more advanced than my 70’s-era Arrow.
We take off and fly over Via della Liberta, Venice to our left.
It’s a beautiful plane, but I still prefer my Arrow for sightseeing. Those huge 220 HP engines extend well past the cockpit, giving me a view of nothing but propeller when I look out from the co-pilot’s seat.