Weekend Adventures

In my first two months of studying abroad in Italy, I have been able to take weekend trips to explore different places. Before coming here, I expected to do more traveling outside of the country, but I quickly realized how much there is to see within Italy. The first city I traveled to was Bologna which was fun because it is a college city in Italy. There, my roommates and I climbed almost 500 steps to the top of the Asinelli Tower. It was amazing view of the whole city and red roofs which the buildings are known for. From Bologna we took a train to Milan. It is more of an industrial city compared to the rest of Italy; it has more skyscrapers, the streets are wider, and everything looks more modern.  We went inside the Duomo di Milano and walked around the “golden triangle” which is a famous designer shopping area.   Then we explored the Navigli area which is known for its nightlife. There is a canal running through the area with cute bridges and lots of street vendors selling souvenirs, clothes, and food. We walked to the Castello Sforzesco fountain, which had a medieval garden in the back with cats roaming all around. Lastly, we saw the Bosco Verticale or “vertical forest” buildings. These are residential high-rises that are covered in trees and plants, which greatly improve air quality in the city. The following weekend I went with my school to Siena and San Gimignano. San Gimignano was an old medieval town. It had breathtaking views of the countryside and was home to Gelateria Dondoli. This gelato shop won world championship titles, so it was the real deal. In Siena we took a guided walking tour of the city, which I would recommend to anyone visiting because the city has an interesting history. Siena is made up of 17 neighborhoods that are all named after animals. For instance, there is the caterpillar, dragon, she-wolf, and goose. Each year the city has a horse race called the Palio di Siena, where each neighborhood has a horse to represent them. It is a huge event and people from all over Italy come to watch which neighborhood will be victorious. The following weekend, my roommates and I took a day trip to see Pisa and other parts of the Lucca region. We had a photoshoot at the leaning tower, and then we took a train to the main train station in Lucca. We walked along the city walls, had pizza, and shopped some more. The most recent trip that I took in Italy was to Viareggio and Venice. Both of these cities are known for big celebrations during Carnivale. Viareggio is a quaint beach town with palm trees and seaside restaurants. This was the first place I had ever seen the sunset over an ocean! Venice was like a movie set with all of its bridges and gondolas. We watched a water parade with elaborately decorated boats and people everywhere were dressed up in crazy costumes. These weekend trips have been so much fun, I have learned so much about Italy, and I can’t wait to continue exploring. Next stop, Rome!