Posts Tagged ‘Venice’

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Lauren: Milan, Verona, Venice

August 8, 2011

Friday, July 22 – Rome to Milan
It was another early morning of travel for the crew.  Everything was going smoothly enough as it can in hectic Rome, until a girl we were with, Alyssa, realized she didn’t have her passport with her, which caused her to miss our flight to Milan. However, she made plans to meet with us in Verona the next day, so her weekend wasn’t completely ruined.

We made it to Milan bright and early.  It looked much like Rome—except more industrial.  We checked our bags at the hostel and set out for a day of Shopping.  We made our way to Milan’s famous duomo, which is the third largest cathedral in the world.  It was awe-inspiring, and probably one of my favorites for the entire trip.

It was interesting (and refreshing) to find that a lot of the shopping in Milan was cheaper than that in Rome.  However, this prompted me to do a lot of damage with the credit card (oops).  That night we found a Tex-Mex Restaurant near our hotel and decided to take our chances with tacos and enchiladas, italian-style.  It was excellent.

July 23 – Milan to Verona
The next morning, we took an hour long train east from Milan to Verona.  When we entered the station, it was down pouring, which wasn’t fun.  We struggled for a bit finding the right bus to our hostel, which was somewhat outside the city and located on a vineyard, but eventually figured it out around the same time the rain stopped.

After finding our hostel, which turned out to be a huge hotel, we ventured into the city center for some Shakespeare exploring.  First stop, was the Capulet’s house, where we saw Juliet’s balcony, which was completely overcrowded. Afterwards, we went upstairs to write our love letters to Juliet, asking for advice and whatnot.  I felt weird writing to a fictional character.

We then walked along the river, did some souvenier shopping, and tried to see Juliet’s tomb, only to get there and find that it was already closed.  That night, we had a private wine tasting at our hotel with a middle aged German woman who was absolutely hilarious. 

July 24 – Verona to Venice, Venice to Rome
The next morning, we packed up and it was off to Venice, which was the city I had been most excited for. And it did not disappoint!  I’ve never been anywhere quite like it.  The city is truly unique.  We simply let ourselves get lost in the city and somehow ended up everywhere we had wanted to go.  Much of the day was dedicated to glass shopping, and we all spoiled ourselves with jewelry.

We went on a gondola ride, which may have been overpriced, but it was still totally worth it.  We drank Bellini’s and took in our surroundings.  It was magnificent.  We then climbed to the top of the bell tower and got a view of Venice from above, which was just as surreal.

In the early evening, we made our way to the airport, and it was back to Rome.  The entire weekend was wonderful, with my favorite city being Venice.  However, I hope that one day I have the chance to visit all three once again.

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Anna: Vireggio, Famiglia in Prato, Venice

March 2, 2011

Last week, my Italian class brought us to a market which isn’t too far from my apartment. It is called Sant’ Ambrogio market. There was fresh meat, fish, cheese, fresh pastas, bread, fruit and vegetables. I decided I am doing all my grocery shopping there from now on! Everything is so delicious looking and not very expensive. I am excited to take my mom and dad there. My mom will die and go to heaven; it is truly a cook’s paradise.

I thought the weekend would be fairly low key for me but it ended up being very busy and exciting! On Friday, some friends were in town visiting Florence from Rome, so we decided to meet up and I would show them a few spots. We ended up doing a full power tour seeing almost everything there is in Florence. We walked to the top of the Duomo (well the thing next to the Duomo), saw Piazza Michelangelo, San Lorenzo market, got lunch, and did the whole Uffizi.

On Friday, Frank Lupia, my dad’s cousin, picked me up to visit another cousin (Cesare) in Prato, a city near Florence. Frank does not speak English, and I don’t speak Italian. It was very interesting, but it wasn’t too bad! We had to call Alessandra a couple times about questions he had for me, but overall it was not too bad and we got through it together! We couldn’t visit Cesare until later in the day so Frank too me to Vireggio, a small beach city famous for it’s Carnivale and seafood. I was really excited he brought me there because I was planning a day trip there anyways! You could see beach from one angle and sea from another. Frank and I had a HUGE lunch together of seafood carbonara. I tried clams, mussels, these little fish that looked like baby octopus, and I liked it all! None of it tasted fishy. We also had fried fish which was really delicious. I told him “no me va” that I was full but he proceeded to order two desserts, a caramel panna cotta and pistachio cake and gelato.

After Vireggio, we visited Cesare in Prato. Cesare is very sick. He has brain cancer and they are not sure how much longer he will make it. It was hard to meet someone for the first and last time all together. He seemed very optimistic and excited to see me. His daughter Tina can speak a bit of English but does not remember much since she only learned in school. We had a very nice time talking together. It was funny because the one thing everyone understood was how my dad can only speak Belcastrese (small Calabrian town dialect) and not proper Italian. All of the relatives get a kick out of that. They sent me off with cheese from Belcastro and Tadods (spelling?) a biscuit that my Nana Ida used to make. I am really lucky to have so much family in Italy that are willing to pick me up and bring me places. I might be planning a trip to Genova to see Frank’s family again in March.

On Sunday, I woke up early and met a tour group called Florence for Fun for a day trip to Venice. It was a very, very long day. Unfortunately it was  cold, windy, and rainy. I hate letting weather affect my feelings about a city but it is difficult to do. I tried to be as optimistic as I could and enjoy my time there. Venice was very pretty and I enjoyed seeing all of the people dressed up in their Carnivale outfits. One woman was kneeling behind a stroller so you couldn’t see her body and all you saw was her head on the body of a baby in a stroller! As people passed it was hilarious because as people would pass she would cry or smile or blow kisses. I never got to ride a Gondola because it cost so much…80 for only 3 people, but I took lots of pictures of people in them! Overall, I would love to see Venice again in the summer time without the crowds or cold weather. The city was pretty in the rain; I can’t imagine how it is in the sun.

This is my last entry until March 13th! I am going on Spring Break on Friday to Istanbul, Athens and Santorini Greece. I also have plenty of midterms and things I have to be planning for. Trying not to stress is difficult but once Friday hits I know I will feel much better.

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Meghan: my mornings & my trip to Venice

October 10, 2010

The Piazza is a different world in the early morning. The fountain of Neptune is empty, with only pigeons keeping him company instead of the usual students casually leaning against its steps waiting for their friends for a night out. Nor are the cafés overrun with people, leisurely enjoying there cappuccino and brioche with the local paper in hand. I walk by, dodging the occasional business man, his phone glued to his ear, or the those daring rats on wings searching for food, heading towards my early morning classes. Of course, everyday I am early to class, and everyday my professors are late.

I won’t begrudge the lost class time, because frankly two full hours of lecture on Romance Languages and their origins and Italian literature is quite enough for one day. The lecture hall is cold, and packed with 40 or more Italian students from all over Italy—which naturally led to quite an interesting and heated discussion on Italian dialects and their origins both assumed and true. Each day I sit near the front, pen ready to copy every mumbled or slurred word, understood or not, the professor says. My notes are obviously a mess, following the erratic pattern of the professors lecture, with unfinished sentences and random dates scribbled in the margin. I’m trying to convince myself that it will become more clear in a few weeks, but for now, my only hope is to write down as much as possible and to not start daydreaming, for a stray thought on what I will have for lunch will set me back about five minutes.

Aside from the extremely new way of teaching and learning in Italy, I can say that I am absolutely in love with my classes and actually want to do more in the class then just get by with a good grade. I can’t even explain how exhilarating and interesting it was when we began comparing latin based languages to Sanscritt and it’s origins! I just hope that I will stay as interested as I am, and will pass my oral exam a few months from now. The dreaded oral exam, that all foreign students along with most Italians, fear more then anything. After a semester worth of lectures, almost 60 hours worth, our only and final grade is based on our “interview” of sorts with the professor. The prof. can ask us anything and everything about the course, so you truly have to know and be able to explain, not simply regurgitate mindless facts, in order to pass. Yes, I’m scared. But all I can do is take it one step at a time.

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Kylie and I decided to spend our Friday afternoon in Venice, before classes truly started to become difficult and time consuming. To start, the weather was absolutely perfect. A perfectly blue sky with a cold breeze off of the sea made Venice one of the most pleasant trips so far. As we walked out of the train station we were greeted first thing with one of the main canals of the ancient city. With no map, and no desire to find one, we quickly found something to eat (of course, cheap pizza) and started our wandering: an activity I have truly become an expert at. We zigzagged our way over bridge after bridge, through streets only big enough for two people side to side. Best of all, I didn’t see or hear one car!

I’ve heard mix reviews on Venice, but in my opinion, I haven’t been to a more beautiful city. It probably helped that we went in October, where there was almost no tourists and the weather was amazing and the air fresh and exhilarating. It was an extremely relaxing afternoon of sightseeing and window shopping; admiring all of the handmade masks prepared for Carnevale (Italian Mardi Gras). In all, it was a great and cheap day trip. I really can’t wait to go back sometime soon! But for now, classes come first.


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