Week 2 Reggio Emilia: Gianna Calderon

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Ciao da Reggio Emilia!

While being in Italy for almost two weeks, everything still feels surreal. I have become more at ease to constantly having my windows open for a nice breeze of air because there is no air conditioning. Also, I have become more comfortable ordering in Italian and asking for ice in my drink. Furthermore, I have been able to accomplish exciting journeys by utilizing the regional train, high speed AV train, and bus system.

On Friday May 27th, I hopped on a regional train with my friends to visit Bologna, Italy. This region is known for Bolognese, Mortadella, and for housing the oldest university in the world. We were able to tour the Basilica di San Petronio. In a church in Italy, you must cover your shoulders and knees in an effort to showcase respect. On our way home, we stumbled across a huge gathering of people in front of a hotel. After communicating our best with the locals, we found out that Dua Lipa and Harry Styles were supposed to come out since they just performed in Milan. However, Ed Westwick (Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl) came out instead. It was truly a memory I will never forget!

On the following day, my friends and I went to Firenze, Italy! Did you know that Florence is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region? While visiting, I was able to try Sicilian food, see the Duomo, and enter the San Marco Museum. Inside the museum, I was able to see the remains of an old convent. Sadly, I was unable to see the statue of David due to time constraints.

After our day trip to Firenze, my friends and I boarded the regional train to Pisa, Italy. Unfortunately, our AirBnb canceled our reservations at the last minute. While scrambling to find somewhere to stay, a passenger recommended staying at a hostel. A hostel is similar to a dorm, where you share a room for an affordable price. Thankfully, we were able to book a room and have somewhere to stay! Of course, the following day we visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I purchased a ticket to go inside, where I climbed up 251 steps. The view was immaculate, but it was scary going down the steps because of the unbalanced flooring. With the ticket, I was able to tour the Pisa Cathedral as well. It had a see-through tomb with the patron Saint of Pisa, Saint Rainerius. Before leaving, we went out to dinner. My friend allowed me to try duck in her gnocchi. Surprisingly, I liked it!

On June 2nd, my group of friends and I took a day trip to Milan. This city is known for their massive Duomo and their thriving fashion industry. If you are majoring in business, it is the perfect place to work! I personally loved this city because it reminded me a lot of Chicago. I was able to find the cutest boutiques, as well as enter Gucci, LV, Burberry, etc.

Although there are a handful of differences between America and Italy, I can’t help but feel at home and embrace my Italian heritage while abroad. I am thrilled for what awaits me in my future journey in this wonderful country, and I can not wait to share every detail with you all!