Italy blog · Study Abroad blog · Travel Blog · Uncategorized

Tuesday June 13th – Saturday June 17th: The end of the line

After getting back to Florence late from Milan, we all slept nicely and bright eyed and chipper the next morning, we were on our way to the Stibbert Museum of arms and armor.

There was a bit of a hike to the bus stop, from where the bus dropped us off and literally up a hill to reach this place. I was thankful for the cold air of the AC when we stepped through the front doors though.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when going into the museum because I’ve never really seen armor before so I was excited to see this place decked out in many suits of armor, swords, guns, paintings, statues and unique things such as Samurai outfits, armor, masks and weapons.

The collection was unique in itself and was preserved quite nicely. After hiking back down which was much easier than walking up, we had the rest of the day to ourselves.

The next few days were not that eventful. Emily and I did go out to various diners and cafes just to give our taste buds a final goodbye before we left Florence for good. I also went out and took more photos to try and preserve the images of what this place was like so I’d never forget it.

Though, on the last day we were in Florence, I decided to go out and get gelato for my household and upon arriving and ordering the gelato and paying for it – my card didn’t work at all and I was freaking out and the guy didn’t really speak English and it was just bad and I was holding up the line.

So, he ย was like, it’s okay, you just come back and pay later and I was trying to explain to him that I didn’t have any money to pay because all my money was on the card, but I think that just got lost and he finally pushed the bag full of 30 Euro gelato into my hands and said “take it.”

So, I did. I walked back to the apartment with the thought of he’s never going to see me again and I just took so much gelato from the man. I turned into an international gelato thief and I didn’t know it. Needless to say, my roommates were happy with gelato but laughed their asses off when they found out what I “paid” for it.

Anyway, my month in Italy has opened me up to many new things when it comes to culture, language, and history. It’s made me appreciate the little things in life more and to always spend each day to the fullest and make as many memories as you can and to cherish the experiences you have and to create your own.

I want to go back. I need to go back. Someday I will, I’ll go back, explore and just live like I did this whole month. Well, that’s it Italy. It’s been good and I hope to see you soon.

-Niki

Advertisements
Italy blog · Study Abroad blog · Travel Blog · Uncategorized

Monday June 12th – Heads in the sky and a musical lesson

First off, I had cake for breakfast! It was the best breakfast ever, I never want to leave Milan if I can have this for breakfast every single morning – it’s like a dream come true! No joke, I’ve always wanted to have it and I finally did at 23 years old.

After the sugary breakfast, we all went to the Duomo in Milan and oh gosh, the stained glass windows and panels there are just incredible! So ย gorgeous and detailed and colorful. I couldn’t look away.

The only downfall of the Duomo was going to the roof. Of course we got ot take the lift, but I still don’t do heights so I don’t why I went in the first place.

I did make it halfway to the tip-top of the front before I freaked out and went back to the lift to take me down t o the ground. I kind of forgot to tell someone other than Emily that I was going back down, but I was just rambling at that point trying to stay alive on the way back.

Shout out to the nice old Italian man who was telling me it was safe to walk on the roof and I would be okay! You’re a wonderful soul, but I still left.

After doing a little shopping at a clothing store called Alcott, which I actually got two things from which I was surprised at since I thought I was too fat for clothing in Italy, but I was surprised and happy with what I got.

We made our way to La Scala Opera Museum. It was so fancy, even when you first walked in – it was decked out in red carpet and drapes and the whole nine yards, but I guess that’s what Opera houses are like anyway.

I didn’t really know a lot about Opera, but it was nice to learn about Arturo Loscanini and all of his accomplishments through the years and what music he made and just the kind of person he was and how much Opera meant to him.

(I’m not sure where my pictures went from this day, I do know I have them somewhere and when I find them, I’ll fix this post and put them in)

Italy blog · Study Abroad blog · Travel Blog · Uncategorized

Sunday June 11th- Church shawls and the fashion capitol

Waking up from my state of dead sleep, I gorged myself on the hotels breakfast in Padua and it was delicious! I felt fancy eating the food since I usually just have cereal for breakfast or the occasional cup of fruit so this was something I could get used to!

After check-out, our group went to Giotto’s Scrovegni Chapel which was built back in 1305. Going through the museum first was nice because of all the relics that were on display. I just really wish I could read Italian so I could know what most of the relics were, but guessing doesn’t hurt either.

It was an interesting process to just get into the chapel itself. You just can’t walk in, you have to “clean” your body and chill in a room for 15 minutes and watch a video before entering and once inside you only have 15 minutes to look and take pictures.

It was explained that this process was put in place to help keep the fresco’s preserved which makes sense since some parts were very heavily damaged. It was great to look at, beautiful in detail and it told so many stories from the Bible.

The Life of Jesus, and Life of many cycles. In the video, I learned that Giotto painted emotion onto some pieces in the chapel like in , ‘The Massacre of the Innocents’ and was the first to ever do that.

Also, that many painters after him kid of get ideas from his great works. It was a wonderful history lesson and I got many great shots from the Chapel.

Getting to Milan, I felt like I was in New York City, much more modern than the other places we’ve been and it was so huge! Seeing the Duomo at night over there was incredible and it totally looked like a Disney castle. I really wanted to explore more, but my body needed to rest.

I did get a pretty awesome bath though at our awesome hotel. Which by the way, was so luxurious and the tub even had jets and babble bath in it so that was a nice perk.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Italy blog · Study Abroad blog · Travel Blog · Uncategorized

Saturday June 10th – Walking tours and many sores (Padua bound!)

The walking tour through Venice was so amazing! Not only was our tour guide pretty damn fine, but I got learn some interesting things about Venice that I never knew about such as – the giant clock tower that’s looming above everything is leaning.

It’s not straight at all, but it still looks beautiful especially when the bells start to chime. Now, I know Venice is known as the city that’s on top of water and that’s why it’s so famous, but how was it able to be on the water?

Well, Mr. Hot tour guide told us that the city had around 10 million cement blocks and screws keeping it a float, which is mind blowing, but also very terrifying at the same time. I mean, yeah, you’re on a floating city, but it’s all thanks to some screws that are God only knows how old, but moving on.

As the walking tour ended, our group decided to go to Piazza San Marco and it was gigantic! There was also the Cathedral of St. Marks too and those buildings just drew you in and I was honestly not prepared for what I saw on the inside nor the outside for that matter. The mosaics were so detailed and gorgeous and get this – each square was 24 karat gold! Every single, little square.

Grab a few of them and you’d be set for awhile! It was so decked out in gold, the place practically sparkled. My neck was craned up most of the time because I just couldn’t look away.

Of course, I wasn’t allowed to take photos inside the church, but I did get some sneaky photos, they didn’t do the place justice though – they were a little blurry and making out the details in the mosaics were hard to pin point.

Afterward, we had a bunch of free time to kill so we decided to explore and go shop and dine in the city. After buying jewelry, Venician masks and postcards, some of us decided to take a Gondola ride! I’ve always dreamed of something like that! It seemed like the perfect thing to do while in Venice, I mean, why not?

There was 5 of us who went on one Gondola, so the price was about 16 Euro each which is not bad at all! I did however have an issue about getting in the tiny ass boat. I felt like my fat ass was going to capsize us right into the water. So, getting in and out was a bit of a struggle for me and it made it worse since I was in a dress.

There wasn’t any pretty singer by the Gondola driver since that apparently costed extra, but it was fine. Seeing the sights as we glided along the water was enough for me. I also got some awesome photos along the narrow passageways when we went into the streets.

I was very happy I decided to ride the Gondola, it was a once in a lifetime experience that I’ll never forget and I still get giddy when I think about it!

The train ride to Padua was kind of a blur to me because I was exhausted and just ready to rest when I got to the hotel. Of course, my soul left my body the minute I found out that we had to walk a staggering 10 blocks to even get to the hotel!

Since we just walked around and saw the city, it was nice and chill. The city of Padua was nice and beautiful. Nice buildings, unique roads that hurt my feet and a lovely park with statues and bridges lining the river.

Near the end of the day, I really couldn’t feel my body and I swore my feet were non existent at that point, but adventuring and exploring was the best. Needless to say, I got plenty of rest that night.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Italy blog · Study Abroad blog · Travel Blog · Uncategorized

Friday June 9th – The city on water and global art tour

My mom has always talked about Venice and wanting to visit it sometime in her life and of course I’d want to come back someday and bring her with me. She’d love it, like I did. Just water surrounding everything.

It’s truly breathtaking when you look at it. The water, the buildings, the whole atmosphere was just surreal and it made me feel lighter as I walked with a pep in my step when we were on solid ground.

Of course I wanted to go off and explore all that I could and just be curious like I usually am, but after being told just how easily one could get lost – sticking with the group was the best option for me. Besides, I wouldn’t want another incident like getting lost in Florence.

I know I’ve talked about being an avid art lover before, but I’m going to say it again. I love art! I hold a great appreciation of anything that’s creative and out of the box.

So of course going to the Venice Biennale was totally my scene! A huge place just filled to the brim with art – fine art, abstract, sculptures, films, photographs and just some downright weird ass things. Oh yeah, I felt right at home here for sure.

The Biennale had different buildings named after the countries the art came from such Finland, Austria and Canada to give a few examples. I’ve never seen that at any place showing art pieces before.

My absolute favorite exhibit at the Biennale was Finland – it was just so out there and crazy that you paid close attention to it even if the exhibit had a giant talking egg incorporated into it that scared the shit out of me when it started talking. I think more people laughed at my reaction to the egg coming to life than what the egg actually said.

After getting settled into our hotel which was I think at one time a house for nuns or something along the lines of that. The rooms were big and spacious and had our room had three beds in it. Minimal decor, but that’s fine. The one thing that was pretty cool with the hotel was the giant alien statue they had greeting you at the door. It had nothing to do with the hotel and really confused me, but it was a unique touch.

When dinner time came around it was peaceful – we were by the water and eating dinner in Venice, what more could a person want?

Of course I had to do something dumb and I accidentally ordered a 37 Euro lobster. In my defense, I had a a very logical thought that the lobster was cheaper than that. Since we were literally on top of the fucking water, you know, I thought they would have seafood cheaper since you can catch it locally, but nope!

Oh well! I mean when am I ever going to eat lobster by the water in Venice again? Never in my life, so yeah, I had a very lavish dinner and that’s okay. You live and learn, laugh about it later and move on with life because it’s all about the experiences you have.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Italy blog · Study Abroad blog · Travel Blog · Uncategorized

Thursday June 8th – Galileo, Galileo!

So, the only real thing I learned about Galileo was that he built the first telescope. Yeah, that’s some find education there on my school’s part, but what’re you going to do.

I never knew there was a whole museum that had all of his inventions and relics and just so much information about him. it was amazing to see what he thought of, and it was also interesting to learn that he had to keep on satisfying the people and that’s why at times his inquiry would be just so random with no rhyme or reason.

Turns out that people didn’t start to believe anything that had to do with scientific evidence until the dude- Galileo himself was like, “Hey, have you ever thought maybe there’s more than these myths and junk?”

Of course, it was in a much more sophisticated manner, but you get the picture. It kinda sucked when the church put him under house arrest and then made this thing called the Index of the Forbidden Books and put all of Galileo’s stuff in it.

After they did that, they were like, “Well, this stuff is wack and since you published this and you don’t believe in the good Lord, your arse is out of here.”. Well, again, the church folks would’ve said it in more elegant wording.

The Index of the Forbidden Books wasn’t a one time thing, it lasted from 1559-1955. The church was in total control on reading material for that long – holy crap that’s insane! I never knew a scientific mind like Galileo’s would have such a drama filled life.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Italy blog · Study Abroad blog · Travel Blog · Uncategorized

Wednesday June 7th – Naked Statues and Carousel Rides (With a splash of vino)

Let my first start off by saying the reason I was excited to see Michelangelo’s David is not because it’s a giant marble work with a penis, which is apparently why a lot of people are excited to see it?

Like, what the hell? Whatever, I”m excited because it’s something that I was shown in art classes in High School and in College and of course I have people in my family that talk constantly about traveling over to see Michelangelo’s pieces in person.

Being able to do something my family has expressed so lovingly and being the first person to actually do it and see it up close is such an honor. It truly is.

Honestly, pictures don’t do it justice. The statue was much bigger than I ever anticipated coming in at 17 feet tall is something hard to wrap my head around and the detail in certain areas of the statue was incredible.

To be able to add such amazing detail into marble is a trademark of an exquisite artist. You can see the veins in his arms and hands and even make our the bone structure of each individual finger. I thought seeing the David was going to be all, but no, there was actually a room by the masterpiece that was packed full of bust statues, statues that were damaged and statues that told stories and lore.

It was an interesting room. Busts lined the walls, reaching all the way up to the ceiling as the light bounced off the pieces making some sparkle. Your eye was wondering everything trying to soak in all the details that were presented to you.

It was my favorite places actually, the photos I got in that room tell a million stories just by their facial expressions. That’s what art is to me. It’s a guessing game – and that one question everyone asks is: “What’s this mean?” That’s the great part, art is your own interpretation of the piece and that questions answered by you, nobody else.

Moving on from cheesy talk, our next destination was Santa Croce which was a church and the burial site of famous figures in Italian history.

I didn’t even know that Dante, Michelangelo and Machiavelli were all buried here nor there was a hierarchy to how they were buried. I think it was the closer they were to God or the church, the closer they were buried toward the front. I might be wrong on that, but it sounds like you needed to be tight with the Lord to be considered “holy” in this church.

The tombs were decked out and huge, there was no way you could miss them. I mean you can tell how much they were loved by just how extravagant their tombs were.

The thing that sucked though was that Dante’s tombs is completely empty. His body is actually in Rovenna because he was exiled for being a Guelf. The rest of the church was beautiful too all decked out in paintings, relics, gold, it was dope.

After getting back to the apartment and chilling for a few hours, the group decided to meet for dinner for the professors birthday!

I enjoy going our with the group especially for meals – it’s like a family dinner, a messed up family, but one nonetheless. It was good, we all talked, laughed, gave presents, drank – a lot in my case since I along with a few others didn’t get our food until much later for some reason. So, we drank wine on an empty stomach, not the smartest thing.

Needless to say, I was a bit buzzed when I was actually eating my food and then because some of us got our food really late, they gave us free booze. It was something I’ve never tried before – limoncello.

Now, I’m one that can handle her liquor when it came down to it, but this drink was strong. Like, it could put hair on your chest if it wanted. Just by smelling it, you knew it was strong which is why they don’t give you a lot to drink in one setting.

I think by the end of dinner, everyone was feeling pretty damn good and we all left Zaza’s in our usual fashion – loudly. We all laughed, talked and were the usual rowdy bunch.

We decided to go watch the sunset on the Arno river and it was beautiful, peaceful and magical. To see the sun reflect off the rippling water is something that’ll be forever imprinted into my mind. It’s honestly a sight I want to see every single day.

After the romantic view which the music that was being played on the bridge helped with that type of atmosphere, some of us decided to go ride a carousel and let me tell you I was excited! Yeah, it may seem like a little kid thing to do, but a few of us decided to indulge and have fun, because let’s face it, I’m a child at heart.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.