TRAVEL WEEK ONE: ITALY

Hej! Ciao! Hello!

It’s been a hot min. That’s because I’ve been away for Travel Week One. Here at DIS we have two weeks off in March for traveling, one with our core course and the other is independent. This past week was my independent travel week, where I planned a trip to Italy. At the end of March, I’ll be traveling to Vienna and Budapest with my class. Some of my friends however had their class travel week this past week.

It was challenging to pick a palce to visit since there are so many on my list, but I decided on Italy because 1. It would be (relatively) warm 2. The food (duh!!!!) and 3. I could visit multiple cities throughout the week.

Leaving early last Friday, I landed in Rome around noon and had the afternoon to walk around the city center. The next day I visited the main sites: the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Palatine Hill, the Colosseum, and So. Many. Churches. Like at least 10.

Luckily, I had a family friend who lives in Rome to show me around, so I got to know a lot of the history and lesser known facts about the city.

The next day the friend took me to the non-catholic cemetery, which was really cool. The cemetery was beautiful, surrounding by trees and grassy fields. There were also a lot of famous people buried in that cemetery, including John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley. We then went across the river to Travereste and walked the picturesque streets. We also got lunch at a place called Eggs, where they serve ten different types of Carbonara. I went for the classic and was not disappointed. If y’all don’t know, Rome is known for some specialty pastas, including: Carbonara, Amatriciana, and Cacio e Pepe. I obviously made sure I ate one of each throughout the trip.

On Monday I headed to the Vatican where I went to the museum and Sistine Chapel (St. Peter’s Basilica had WAYYYYYYY too long of a line). I can’t say I enjoyed this part of the trip as much because it was so crowded. Fun fact: I hate crowds. Like a lot. What’s crazy is that I went during off season and it was still chaotic. I can’t imagine what it must be like in August.

That evening, I took the train to Florence. I fell in love with Florence. It was so beautiful. From the red roofs, the Renaissance architecture, to the Tuscan hills, it was lovely. On Tuesday, I headed to the museum to see Michelangelo’s David. It was easy to understand the hype. I was thoroughly impressed by the statue, but was not as into all of the religious artwork (sorry Italy, I feel like once I see 20 religious paintings, I’ve seen them all. Pls don’t come @  me).

I then headed across the river and went to the Palazzo Pitti and saw their collection. The rooms were decadent; paintings filled from the floor to the ceiling and the ceilings were gilded in gold. My favorite part, however, was definitely the costume exhibit (pictured below). The exhibit featured haute couture that has been inspired by animals. Our tickets gave us access to the neighboring gardens. The weather was so nice that we just sat on a hill that overlooked the city and enjoyed the sun on our faces (we’ve been deprived, okay?!)

It was nearing sunset, so we hiked up to the Michelangelo steps (and by hike, I mean climb 5 flights of stairs, by the end of which I was wheezing). The steps were already crowded an hour before the sunset, but luckily, we found the perfect spot where we saw the entire city before us, showered in golden sunlight (pictured above).

The next day we got up early and explored the main church. We climbed both the bell tower and the Dome, climbing up more than 800 steps in total. The views of the city were gorgeous, red covered roofs created a uniform for the city, with the green Tuscan hills providing a complimentary contrast. After walking around the city, my friend and I got lunch at an amazing sandwich place. They gave us samples of four different types of cheeses and three different types of meats so that we could be educated when making our sandwiches. I would have been completely content with just trying cheeses and meats, but the sandwich was delicious as well.

On Thursday, we took the train from Florence to Bologna. I had another family friend who lived and was kind enough to show us around. We saw some very old churches, the University district (which is home to the oldest University in Italy), and some hidden gems around the city. For dinner, I had the best lasagna of my life. I am not exaggerating when I say that I can never eat lasagna again because I know it will never be as good as the one I had in Bologna.

After writing all of this up, I guess my ideal trip consists of amazing food (duh) and pretty views.

Anyway, that was my trip! It was really nice to be able to travel to a place for more than a weekend and am now looking forward to my class trip to Vienna and Budapest.

Until next time,

Anthea

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