Five Weeks Studying and Touring in Italy

My college offered a study abroad tour based from Urbino, Italy during July 2003. We also took weekend excursions to Florence, Venice, Rome, and Naples. Additionally, my friends and I ventured to Trieste and Slovenia on our own one weekend.


Rome the Second Time Around

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by anitaellen83 on January 6, 2009

It seemed like no one was out around town today so we got to do a whole lot of stuff. First stop was San Luigi di Francesi. Fausto told us at breakfast that we should try to stop to see the Caravaggio’s in there. It was an absolutely awesome church aside from the paintings, but they also were awesome.

After the church, we checked out the Pantheon. We sort of weren’t sure where we were or if we were in the right place and out of nowhere pops this huge round building. I was completely taken aback by the pantheon. It was awesome. We got our pictures made with Raffaelle’s tomb. The oculus was so much bigger than I had imagined or seen in photographs. The place was simply huge and magnificent. Built in 27 A. D. mind you.

After the Pantheon we crossed back into the old section of town to see the piazza narona with the Bernini statue in it. There was this old naked crinkly woman sitting there. UGH EW BARF.

Thereafter, we went into the Capitoline Museum. There we saw dying Gaul, Constantine, and Marcus Aurelius. I liked that museum. Constantine had a gigantic ass bronze and marble statue for himself. I like how it’s all about the Christianity, yet Christ was never that big in statues out in the middle of Rome.

After the Capitoline Museum, we headed out for the Bocca della Verita to see the famous statue. However, in fashion of Romans, it was being restored and you couldn’t get close enough to see the thing. Julie and I were highly upset. Clearly, I must return here in order to see my statue.

We walked down past the Circus Maximus after the disappointment. The Circus Maximus was just a little stretch of dirt track. I wish there had been a sign explaining what it used to look like and indicating the location of important landmarks that were around back in the day. But it was still excessively cool to be there.

We then decided to go have lunch at the restaurant where we’d eaten the first afternoon with Fausto. We got there and the crotchety waiter that we’d had shoved a menu right under my elbow which was supporting the entire weight of my head. Jerk.

Julie and I ordered the menu turistico as well as a bottle of wine. We had the craziest waiter ever named Massimo. He kept touching me and when I paid the check with my credit card, he decided it’d be fun to keep yelling my name at me in the same condescending voice that he said "si" to all my questions. Weirdo crackhead.

We decided that after three glasses of wine each, we were too blitzed to do anything else, and really all we wanted to do was see a church or two and the Veneto Via. So we began the long trek back to the hotel for some siesta time. The plan was to return out to the Via Veneto, but that plan never did materialize.

We stopped by a record store on the way back to see what they had. Julie was looking for the salsa I ballai song and non ha paura. She never could find it. She’s gonna look for it tomorrow at the airport by singing the songs to the employees at the store. I bought an Alex Britti cd who I think is the guy I heard that night in Mauri’s car that I really liked. At any rate, I know that it’s famous or something because there are billboards and MTV ads about it. I think I’d like it anyway, but it’s comforting to know that other people like it.

After our showers, Julie and I were too tired to make it back out and switch busses twice. It would’ve been too much trouble and all we really were gonna do was window shop. So instead we walked around close to the hotel and got some gelato.

An hour later, we took taxis out to a little restaurant in Trasvestere. It was good. Once again I went for the menu turistico. Nothing to write home about, but it was definitely Italian food. I had way too much starch tonight. I also got the strongest coffee ever made. By the time dinner was over, it was too late to make it to "La maschera e il volto." So, we just hung out a little longer at the restaurant.

Fausto suggested that we all go out to the piazza parona and get gelato. When we finally made it (it was quite the hike to get out there), there was a market. I got a chance to do some last minute shopping that I thought I had missed out on. I got all the cousin a little gift, and a little something for myself. I was excited because I had on my Italian shirt, shoes, and bought a bracelet and ring to go with my Italian necklace. I pretty much got a chance to get all the souvenirs I wanted for myself besides for a guru shirt and sunglasses which I obviously can live without since I’ve been living without them for a month in Italy.

Capri and Naples

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by anitaellen83 on January 6, 2009

I WENT TO CAPRI!!!!!!! I know, I know. Too exciting, eh? WOOOHOOO.

Only disappointment: no aliscafo. We got down to the imbarcadero too late to board it so we took a ferry boat instead. The water was absolutely gorgeous. As Fausto would say, "the colors are tremendous, they knock me on my ass." There were deep azure blues and light patches of turquoise blue mixed in with emerald green. Ah.

We went on a boat tour as soon as we got off the ferry in Capri. We saw a bunch of famous rock formation like the natural arch that the guide said "looks like an elephant" but doesn’t at all but maybe a little, and the "love arch" that if you kiss ya luvah underneath it you’re supposed to have good luck. Then we reached the green grotto. The guide let all twenty of us jump in and swim underneath it. Oh god it was wonderful. The water was so cool and refreshing (though excessively salty as I swallowed about four mouthfuls). The water was so clear that you could see your legs through it and the way the sun hit the sea floor made the colors reflect on your skin. It was this pale sea greenish blue under the archway that we swam underneath. OOOoooh. It was wonderfully wonderful.

We finally reached the blue grotto, but our driver and Sal, the professor from UT, didn’t want to wait in the hour and a half long line. I was unbelievably upset. This was the only thing that I wanted to see in Capri. UGH!!! But it was a really beautiful boat ride and it was totally worth it just to get to swim underneath the green grotto.

We ate lunch at this cute little pizzeria right on the coast. Julie and I once again "Helen-Kellered" and got Caprese salad, naturally as it was invented in Capri, and grilled calamari. When we ordered I asked for the water in Italian, as one is want to do in Italy. The waiter was stunned. I guess he sees so many tourists that he is surprised to hear that.

The calamari was delicious. I got a little weirded out by the fact that they served the calamari rings with the tentacles, but they were truly tasty. And of course the Caprese salad was awesome. The waiter came back and had a little Italian conversation with us about the places we’d visited and where we had studied. He told us we had to come back to see Naples and Sicily and visit him again!!! He was really nice.

From there, we went and got tickets for a motoscafo to take us to see the blue grotto. That was a cool ride, but I bet the aliscafos are cooler. We had to wait for an hour to get into the grotto, so Julie and I headed to the front of the boat for some tan action. These two young Italian kids were staring at us the whole time, it was a little discomforting.

Finally, we managed to hail a little rowboat to take us into the blue grotto. Julie, Janie, and I got into one with these two old British ladies. One of the ladies was petrified to get in and caused me a great deal of laughter. It was a little unnerving getting into the little opening to the grotto because the waves were pretty violent and the hole in the trough of a wave was barely big enough for a boat with people lying down in it to go through. Just as we were entering a little wave came up and I hit my head on the blue grotto. Amazing huh? My DNA is on the blue grotto.

When we got in it was just this huge dark cave lit from beneath by the sun reflecting up through the blue water. The color was brilliant. The drivers of all the boats were either chanting or singing. Our driver was singing Corey’s favorite Andrea Boccelli song. It was weird how it echoed throughout the cave. I took about a billion pictures. It was a really cool trip.

When we got back to our motoscafo, Julie tried to get out of the boat first. The problem was, the waves were really rough. Just as she got one foot up onto the boat, a huge wave came up and knocked her off of her feet. She fell backwards onto the driver, and both of them fell onto the British ladies. I almost wet my pants laughing at the scene. As Janie describes it, one of the British ladies’ noses was squished sideways underneath the driver from her vantage point. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the driver, when he finally got up after Julie’s leg cramp went away and she could get off of him, kept saying "Mamma Mia!!!" Too funny!!!

When we got back we realized that we still had an hour to hang around. I really wanted to take the funnevia up into town, but we really didn’t have time. So, we looked at postcards and the other trash that they sell along the coast. I got a pair of shoes from one man. I was so glad that I had learned that conversation about buying shoes now!!!

And then we decided to have a little dessert. We went back to the little pizzeria. The man started just shooting off Italian at us. It was almost overwhelming, but I got it all sorted out in the end. We Katherine, Janie, and I had dolce Caprese, and Julie had cioccolato e fragola gelato with champagne grapes. The caprese dolce was awesome. It was a moist chocolate cake with chocolate syrup and chocolate flakes with crema gelato and real whipped cream. I think the whipped cream was my favorite part.

Spiritual Experience of a Lifetime...Sistine Chapel

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by anitaellen83 on January 6, 2009

When we got to Rome, we found out that our hotel is one block away from the Vatican. So, with a little fast action, Julie and I decided to race over there to try to get into the museum before it closed tonight. We got to the ticket office at 3:15 and the office closed at 3:20. In the museum we saw all these busts of ancient Romans. I saw Laocoon, Diana, and a bunch of Emperors.
We got into the Sistine chapel too. It was amazing. Even in the darkness of the room you could tell how magnificent the colors were. It’s amazing how most of these places you can go into, not know the story of the Bible, but see it illustrated in all these cathedrals. I was excited about finally seeing in real life the famous outreached fingers. The weird part was the flayed body that Julie said is rumored to be Michelangelo’s self portrait.

After that, we ventured into San Pietro’s Basilica. It was GIGANTIC. And I mean, overwhelming. I personally have become accustomed to the inside of churches, Italian basilicas to be exact, and I was thoroughly impressed. That’s where they keep Michelangelo’s pieta. The dome on the inside was all glittery golden. It was impressive. And the canopy was amazing in the center in front of the altar.

Sistine Chapel
Vatican Palace Viale Del Vaticano
607
+39 (06) 8530 1758

Boat Tour - Must Do to See Blue Grotto and Love Arch!

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by anitaellen83 on January 6, 2009

The water was absolutely gorgeous. As Fausto would say, "the colors are tremendous, they knock me on my ass." There were deep azure blues and light patches of turquoise blue mixed in with emerald green. Ah.

We went on a boat tour as soon as we got off the ferry in Capri. We saw a bunch of famous rock formation like the natural arch that the guide said "looks like an elephant" but doesn’t at all but maybe a little, and the "love arch" that if you kiss ya luvah underneath it you’re supposed to have good luck. Then we reached the green grotto. The guide let all twenty of us jump in and swim underneath it. Oh god it was wonderful. The water was so cool and refreshing (though excessively salty as I swallowed about four mouthfuls). The water was so clear that you could see your legs through it and the way the sun hit the sea floor made the colors reflect on your skin. It was this pale sea greenish blue under the archway that we swam underneath. OOOoooh. It was wonderfully wonderful.

We finally reached the blue grotto, but our driver and Sal, the professor from UT, didn’t want to wait in the hour and a half long line. I was unbelievably upset. This was the only thing that I wanted to see in Capri. UGH!!! But it was a really beautiful boat ride and it was totally worth it just to get to swim underneath the green grotto.

We ate lunch at this cute little pizzeria right on the coast. Julie and I once again "Helen-Kellered" and got Caprese salad, naturally as it was invented in Capri, and grilled calamari. When we ordered I asked for the water in Italian, as one is want to do in Italy. The waiter was stunned. I guess he sees so many tourists that he is surprised to hear that.

The calamari was delicious. I got a little weirded out by the fact that they served the calamari rings with the tentacles, but they were truly tasty. And of course the Caprese salad was awesome. The waiter came back and had a little Italian conversation with us about the places we’d visited and where we had studied. He told us we had to come back to see Naples and Sicily and visit him again!!! He was really nice.

From there, we went and got tickets for a motoscafo to take us to see the blue grotto. That was a cool ride, but I bet the aliscafos are cooler. We had to wait for an hour to get into the grotto, so Julie and I headed to the front of the boat for some tan action. These two young Italian kids were staring at us the whole time, it was a little discomforting.

Finally, we managed to hail a little rowboat to take us into the blue grotto. Julie, Janie, and I got into one with these two old British ladies. One of the ladies was petrified to get in and caused me a great deal of laughter. It was a little unnerving getting into the little opening to the grotto because the waves were pretty violent and the hole in the trough of a wave was barely big enough for a boat with people lying down in it to go through. Just as we were entering a little wave came up and I hit my head on the blue grotto. Amazing huh? My DNA is on the blue grotto.

When we got in it was just this huge dark cave lit from beneath by the sun reflecting up through the blue water. The color was brilliant. The drivers of all the boats were either chanting or singing. Our driver was singing Corey’s favorite Andrea Boccelli song. It was weird how it echoed throughout the cave. I took about a billion pictures. It was a really cool trip.

When we got back to our motoscafo, Julie tried to get out of the boat first. The problem was, the waves were really rough. Just as she got one foot up onto the boat, a huge wave came up and knocked her off of her feet. She fell backwards onto the driver, and both of them fell onto the British ladies. I almost wet my pants laughing at the scene. As Janie describes it, one of the British ladies’ noses was squished sideways underneath the driver from her vantage point. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the driver, when he finally got up after Julie’s leg cramp went away and she could get off of him, kept saying "Mamma Mia!!!" Too funny!!!
Capri Boat Tour
From Naples to Capri
Naples, Italy

Seeing Pompeiian Ruins

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by anitaellen83 on January 6, 2009

I know I could spend an entire day in there easy. I took about 70 pictures of it. We visited a whorehouse with frescoes of naughty things in it with stone beds. Also, they knew it was a whore district because of a penis etched in the sidewalk pointing that way. We also saw the bars with the big amphoras for beer and grain. Then we saw a big house with the impluvium for gathering water attached to the well, and the two gardens, and the atrium and the mosaic tiled floor for the four dining areas. Wow. It was so cool. Every house had frescoes everywhere and mosaic floors. The bedrooms were exceptionally tiny though. The roads were cut out about two feet below the sidewalks. There were parallel cuts along the road I don’t know if that was where the chariots were or what? Then we saw the big open square with the temples and the Ionic and Doric columns everywhere and the statues. And we got to see a Roman bath!!! The caldarium and the frigidarium and the dressing rooms and the palestra and the hottub and all that cool stuff. We only encountered two bodies. There were all balled up and you could see everything right down to their teeth. Freaky. OH man it was awesome. I really want to go to the museum of Naples now so I can see the bodies and the preserved artwork and stuff that they found there.
Ancient City of Pompeii (Pompeii Scavi)
Pompeii
Naples, Italy

Fun Little Town to Visit on your Way to Florence

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by anitaellen83 on January 6, 2009

Arezzo is where the film Life Is Beautiful was filmed partly. The church featured in the film is available for tours, though I opted not to visit the church and just shopped. I got a nice purse for 5 euro and she got some groovy shoes. There were tons of cute shops along the street and a lot of storefronts featured in the film along with commemorative plaques.
Arezzo Market
Arezzo
Tuscany, Italy

Best Museum Experience

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by anitaellen83 on January 6, 2009

There are so many galleries you could spend an entire day in the Galleria degli Uffizi. My favorite painting of all time, The Birth of Venus was there, but so many more as well. It was really amazing how many paintings I recognized in there given I know relatively little about paintings. The crazy wet tshirt Madonna with alien elongated "mannerist" child was there. The Birth of Venus by Boccacio was there. The Duke and Duchess of Urbino were there looking dead and scary. The beheading of some dude by this lady that was a self portrait of the female artist was in there. It was a wonderful experience. Julie was disappointed though because the Venus of Urbino by Titian was on expo at the Prato in Spain this month.
Uffizi Gallery
Piazzale Degli Uffizi, 6
Florence, Italy, 50122
+39 05523885

Pompeii

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by anitaellen83 on January 6, 2009

POMPEII MADE UP FOR it. Wow. That place is awesome. I know I could spend an entire day in there easy. I took about 70 pictures of it. We visited a whorehouse with frescoes of naughty things in it with stone beds. Also, they knew it was a whore district because of a penis etched in the sidewalk pointing that way. We also saw the bars with the big amphoras for beer and grain. Then we saw a big house with the impluvium for gathering water attached to the well, and the two gardens, and the atrium and the mosaic tiled floor for the four dining areas. Wow. It was so cool. Every house had frescoes everywhere and mosaic floors. The bedrooms were exceptionally tiny though. The roads were cut out about two feet below the sidewalks. There were parallel cuts along the road I don’t know if that was where the chariots were or what? Then we saw the big open square with the temples and the Ionic and Doric columns everywhere and the statues. And we got to see a Roman bath!!! The caldarium and the frigidarium and the dressing rooms and the palestra and the hottub and all that cool stuff. We only encountered two bodies. There were all balled up and you could see everything right down to their teeth. Freaky. OH man it was awesome. I really want to go to the museum of Naples now so I can see the bodies and the preserved artwork and stuff that they found there.

Excursion to Florence

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by anitaellen83 on January 6, 2009

After breakfast we headed down to the Uffizi for our 9:15 appuntomento. It was really amazing how many paintings I recognized in there given I know relatively little about paintings. The crazy wet tshirt Madonna with alien elongated "mannerist" child was there. The Birth of Venus by Boccacio was there. The Duke and Duchess of Urbino were there looking dead and scary. The beheading of some dude by this lady that was a self portrait of the female artist was in there. It was a wonderful experience. Julie was disappointed though because the Venus of Urbino by Titian was on expo at the Prato in Spain this month.

After Uffizi, we checked out the Bargello, a sculpture museum. There, we saw Donatello’s David. Julie wanted to see some other dude’s David, but he, like Venus, was not on display. It’s being cleaned. We were informed of this by a museum attendant with a gigantic sty in his eye. It was a little bit frightening.

After Bargello, we went to see Michaelangelo’s David at The Accademia. It was truly magnificent. It was so big and smooth and white and the light from the skylight was shining on his face…ah. His hands and feet were so big. You could see little veins popping out of his wrist and his neck. His face was screwed up in this very real expression. Ah! And his butt was huge and round. Wow. It was so amazing. Julie and I had to walk around him twice. Apparently David is the representative Florentine man. Florence was always a republic, and in trying to remain independent from the papal army had to fortify itself against attacks. The idea of a strong yet small power fighting against a giant was the embodiment of the struggle between Florence and the papacy. When Spain took over Florence, a statue of Perseus holding the head of Medusa was put up to oppress the sense of rebelliousness in the layfolk of Florence, right across from where the David was.

After David, we had lunch at a little place between there and the Duomo which we had walked through on the way to see David. We "Helen Keller"-ed it and got spaghetti Bolognese and caprese salad to split. I used the bathroom there. It was scary because it was through the kitchen.

We met up with the other Carolina girls to check out the baptistery across from the Duomo. From there we saw the Medici chapel. The marble detail was incredible in there. Most of it was covered with scaffolding because they’re cleaning it, but the architecture is amazing. Most of the marbling is green with some rose and lighter green and white. Very cool.

We stopped by the place where they have the world’s best gelato (being that the world’s best gelato is in Florence and this is the best gelato place in Florence) called the Vivoli. I got pineapple/peach/blueberry. It was pretty good. The good part was the chunks of peach and pineapple were big enough to taste and get the real flavor of the fruit. I stole an ashtray from there….bad karma I’m sure, but it was worth it.

From Medici, we checked out ponte vecchio shops, Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella, and Palazzo Vecchio. We decided to cross over the Arno Fiume to see the Pitti Palace and the Brancaccio chapel. The Pitti Palace was so amazing. The ceiling of Hercules’ marriage by Michaelangelo was incredible (I stole a picture of it!!!) There were tons of Raffaele, Boccacio, Da Vinci, etc….in the Pitti. And the rooms were gorgeous on top of that. Ah.

My feet are now killing me. We walked back over the Amerigo Vespucci ponte and saw some of the biggest river rats on the face of the planet. I don’t think anyone in the world has ever seen as much of Florence as I have in such a small amount of time ever. And all I have to show for it is a picture of Venus and seven museum tickets.

Excursion to Trieste

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by anitaellen83 on January 6, 2009

Well we made it to Pesaro and had a piece of pizza before it was time to board our train headed to Mestre. I had so much fun on the train. Julie, Katherine and I sat in a compartment and talked about how much it was like Harry Potter. We even had the Italian guy next to us take a picture of us in the car.

We got to Mestre around 10:30 Thursday night. We looked in a few hotels which were either booked or $100 a night. We finally got up to this four star hotel. Julie was like, there’s no way that is in our price range. He told us 80!! Furthermore, it was the nicest hotel I have ever stayed in. The sheets were so soft and I was actually cold from the amazing a/c. Julie noticed a sign that said the room was $160 a night. I was like, oh my goodness, he gave us the price per person. But again, I was wrong. We actually stayed in a four star hotel for $40 a person.

We got some coffee at the train station and fortunately our train to Trieste was running despite the strike. Katherine, Julie, and I sat together again and chatted up some old ladies halfway there. It was funny. They were amazed that I was reading a play in Italian.

Finally in Trieste, we took a bus to the youth hostel. The lady said they were busy cleaning to come back at one. So we went to see the castello miramare. It was beautiful. I took a bajillion pictures. Then we ate at the caffetteria down from the castle for lunch. The waiters kept winking at us.

When we finally got back to the hostel they were booked for the next two nights and didn’t receive our reservations because of a computer glitch. We decided to take a bus back into town. Easier said than done apparently because we couldn’t find anywhere to purchase a ticket although two Italian ladies we asked offered us her tickets.

Finally!!!!! After walking approximately 4 km, we found a place to buy tickets as well as a bus. By 4 o clock, after an intense meeting with the one lady working at the train station, we made a reservation at a hotel for two nights. ALLELUIA. This trip was stressing me to the max already.

While walking around town, we noticed that Orpheus in the Underworld was playing that night at 8:30. I got so excited. So me, Julie, and the two Katherines decided to go. So after a little underwear shopping, we went to dinner at Caffe degli specchi. I had bruschetta and insalata riso. It was amazingly good. The salad even had salmon in it and I liked it a whole lot. YUM. And the tomatoes and parmesan on the bruschetta were awesome.

We walked down to teatro del Verdi and found out it was playing downtown. The guy that told us called us a cab so we wouldn’t be late even though the operetta was supposed to start in four minutes. We got there just in time to be seated before the curtain opened. And I loved it!!!!! The Italian absolutely we wild over the can can. Ah! Best nine euros I ever spent. Then we walked the three km back to our hotel instead of getting a cab.

The next morning, breakfast at the hotel was so good. I had granola in coffee yogurt and orange juice and plum cake with gnutella. YES! Then we all caught a bus to Slovenia. We stopped in Portoroz, but no one liked that because it was touristy. So someone had the fucked up idea to take forty five minutes to walk to Pirano. Talk about a nightmare after all the walking we’d done yesterday. Then we missed the bus back to Trieste, so we had to take a bus to Koper and walk for forty five minutes to find that bus station. This Slovenian man randomly handed us some thing made with feta cheese after insisting that we sit at his patio stand. It was good. It cost 2,030.00 slovenian dollars.

Back in Trieste finally, we went swimming at Barcola. It was beautiful. The water was just the right amount of cold without being too cold, the water was clear, nothing was floating around and there were no weird fish. It was a little on the salty side, but I think that’s why it was so easy to tread water there. Ah, so refreshing. We also spent a lot of time making fun of the almost naked Italians.

Then we went to dinner at some little place. I got bistecca pizzaiola. I don’t recommend it, it’s too salty and spicy to my taste. Then we went to specchi to get gelato and look at the people walking their dogs. Which was everyone. We walked along the sea for a while to see Slovenia from the coastline.

Back at the hotel I chugged a Gosser, some Austrian beer. It was very smooth, but it tasted awful. Julie and I also watched some Italian game show. We were able to answer a lot of the questions.

The last morning we rode the trolley car up to the top of the city. We got a good aerial view of Trieste.

Excursion to Assisi and Gubbio

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by anitaellen83 on January 6, 2009

This morning we went to Gubbio and then to Assisi. Gubbio was really nice and quaint and medieval. It was also very clean. We took a chairlift up to the top of this insanely tall mountain. It was a little on the scary side especially trying to get on and off of it. There was a pond right at the bottom that had a little sculpture of Italy in it. There was this huge turtle that was invading Trieste. HAHA.

Julie and I stumbled upon an antique market. We both bought some awesome earrings. I also got a little set of pink coffee cups. Very cute.
Assisi was a lot like Gubbio but with more annoying American tourists. I just misspelled tourist because I tried to put "turisti." I’m so Italian. Julie and I ate lunch at this place called Subascio or something. The spaghetti was molto bello.

Then we attempted to see the Cathedral of St. Francis, but they wouldn’t let Julie in because of her shorts. She about had a fit. I died laughing because she proceeded to buy a sheer scarf and wrap it around her legs in order that she could go inside. We made for some very irreverent tourists after that whole incident.

We shopped around some more and fed our diet coke addictions. I got an awesome pommegranite, blackberry, and strawberry gelato.

Visiting Santa Casa and Seeing an Opera

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by anitaellen83 on January 6, 2009

We went in this cathedral called the Basilica di Santa Casa. Legend has it that the little white building inside the church was transported to the town by angels. I was really creeped out by all the nurses and old sick invalids everywhere. I felt the need to cross myself and buy a rosary there.

The house itself wasn’t that impressive. It was really weird. Anyway, on the way back to the bus, Julie and I stumbled upon the room of Mother Teresa. Julie leans against the glass to see inside and exclaims, "Oh my god, she’s in there!" I almost wet my pants. However, she was just referring to a statue. Then I made her photo with a statue of St. Francis.

We sat in a balcony with three Italian ladies to watch the opera. The opening scene with the chorus had some very racy choreography. The set was pretty cool because the back drop was a huge mirror that they raised to start the play. It reflected scenes placed on the floor. Which turned out kinda weird because the actors also were reflected so it looked like they were sitting on top of the props.

It was good, but very long. There were four intermissions. The orchestra was remarkable though. The singers also were everything I expected. I wish I had known what was going on though. Today in literature class, Dr. Moffa put some of the lyrics up on the blackboard for us to read. I wish I had known more of the words, they were beautiful.

I wrote some very sarcastic comments about the death scene in my daily journal for Italian. The pinnacle of my Italian education was being able to say "If she were dying from consumption, she would not have been able to sing well." It’s a hard construction and I was very proud of myself.

Excursion to Venice

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by anitaellen83 on January 6, 2009

The Scrovegnia chapel was awesome. I wish I could’ve stayed longer to hear a lecture or something on the paintings. I really loved the stars on the ceiling and the paneling of the paintings on the walls. Downtown Padova was just hot and had a lot of shops. That’s about all from that town.

We got to Venezia around five o clock. The ferry ride was really nice after being out in the sun in Padova with no breezes and then being crammed on the bus all sweaty and stuff. I still have sea legs from all the boat riding we did in Venezia.

Our hotel was on the beach island Lido. The beach was really nice when we visited on Sunday. The sand is very fine there. Also, this one hotel had small cabanas and beds laid out for their guests on the beach. It was ridiculous how nice it was. There were also a lot of cool little shops around. I bought a coral necklace and a little purse thing for my change so I don’t have to use my plastic bag anymore.

Friday night once we were settled in the hotel, the Carolina kids and Fausto all went to Campanilla, a big bell tower, to see the city from above. It was so awesome. The breeze was wonderful, the bells almost deafened me for life, and Venezia was just a beautiful city to see.

I took about a hundred pictures of St. Mark’s Square. I felt like I was in the scene from "The Italian Job." The pigeons there are something else though. I thought one would definitely kill me.

I had tiramisu, cod, and wine for dinner. MMMMmmmmmm. Then we walked down to see L’Accademia bridge.

Mary and I went back to our hotel room. Our bathroom was exceptionally tiny. The beds were nice but also very close together. It was Hotel Helvetia. We got up really early on Saturday to see St. Mark’s Cathedral (even though I couldn’t go in because I was too sexy). Then we went to L’Accademia to see Titian and Bellini and etc. It was pretty cool. We also saw some people dressed up like Carnival around on the street. We went by Gucci, Armani, Versace, Fendi, Prada, and Fermigami. OOOH!

We spent the afternoon shopping and visiting the Rialto bridge. We had to sprint in order to catch the vaporetta back to Lido so we could dress for dinner. We ate on a floating dock after we had our pictures made on the L’Accademia bridge. After dinner (when I ate my first ever sardine), we went for a gondola ride. Talk about mucho romantico!!! Or something. It was so quiet and nice. YAY!

Then on Sunday, we headed back and stopped in Ravenna. We saw mosaics at this chapel whose name I have forgotten now. They were really awesome though.

Taking Classes in Urbino and Meeting Italian Students

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by anitaellen83 on January 6, 2009

The bar downstairs wasn’t open yet when we left for class, so Julie and I stopped at a café very close to the school for a coffee. I got a cappuccino and a torta frutta. It was SO very good. It had a thin cake-like crust with lemon custardy biznass on the top and then a layer of fruit syrupy stuff with strawberries, blueberries, red berries, and blackberries on the top. MMM!!! It offset the bitterness of the cappuccino (since I didn’t put sugar in it). I can’t do that every morning though because breakfast cost 3.90 E.

Kathryn and I went to our first class meeting in complete Italian this morning. Our professor, Dr. Rosselli, was not intimidating at all and very nice. We all introduced ourselves. I realize that I am probably the most behind in Italian in that class. We talked about a bunch of different subject from the history of Italian unification to movies and the media and 9/11 so I was confused some of the time. It takes a lot of concentration to focus and understand in that class. Hopefully though I’ll improve a lot since she’s making us read aloud and she corrects our grammar when we speak and we’re reading an Italian textbook. It’s not overwhelming, I just hope it doesn’t become overwhelming in the next few lessons.

Then we had our history class in English. I really enjoyed Dr. Pallucchini this morning. He was sort of dry when talking about Italian unification (especially since I’d already heard that stuff in my previous class). But when he started talking about Venice and what makes it special and beautiful I got really interested and excited about our upcoming trip. I think he’s the type of professor that will talk about the culture of contemporary Italy and give good insight into aspects of Italian culture.

I mailed off some postcards today. We walked around town for a short while and then came back here for lunch. We had this spinach filled ravioli today that was excellent. I had a few bites of my zucchini bruschetta, but I didn’t eat much of it.

I met Rosella’s aunt Grazia this morning. She is helping Rosella make pasta con pomodori for us tonight. I’m excited. Her aunt speaks English pretty well and liked to talk about phrases in Italian and English so I’m looking forward to asking her a few things about the Italian language.

So now I’m just gonna relax a while and read some Italian history and maybe go back to town for a coffee. Apparently the waiter that gave me free wine is working this afternoon  !

Ciao for now!

Ahhh….just getting back from our nightly trip to the piazza. Julie and I both ordered "Italian coffee" which is coffee with amaretto. Very nice!!! No scary Italians approached us tonight, but this boy from Rutgers named Vinny tried to speak to us in Italian. He was terrible. I felt snotty for correcting him, but he needed to know that he wasn’t making and goddamned sense. I took my picture with a PT Cruiser on Corso Garibaldi tonight.

We went out to the piazza because after Rosella had made us dinner she said that the other Italian girls were studying and needed some quiet. So we went downtown to check our email. One of the girls who didn’t have an exam ate dinner with us though. Her name is Jennifer and speaks English very well because her mother is British and she has studied in "Gran Bretagna." We started talking about gays in the military and other crazy backwards things that are unique to South Carolina with her. It was really funny!

I did my homework before helping Rosella with dinner. The reading really wasn’t too bad. Plus, when I got up from my nap, Rosella and I had a coffee and talked about the medieval period in Italy. It was so interesting to hear it from an Italian who had proper Italian history classes and had a personal connection with the information. She also told me about the Norman and Greek history of the two places she had lived in Calabria.

Sunday Church and Pesaro's Beach

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by anitaellen83 on January 6, 2009

My alarm woke me up at six thirty and the sun was already high in the sky here. So I got ready for church, carefully selecting what clothes would cover the most of my body. Then I completed the outfit with some nice high heels PERFECT for scaling a hill paved with smooth cobblestones.

Then I packed some things for the beach and we all got a cup of coffee from Rosella. And then began the HIKE. I really enjoyed the church. It was so beautiful and I liked the way the beautiful Italian words echoed everywhere, I got chills. I understood a lot of the liturgy since it’s basically the same as back home. I picked up on a few things from the sermon, but my attention drifted quite a few times.

Church got out earlier than we expected, so we sat out at "La Caffetteria" and I got yet another cup of coffee while we discussed plans for traveling on our free weekends. We discussed Austria, and I drew this horrible map of Italy and its’ surroundings on this small café napkin. SI SI SI!!!

POI we went to Pesaro by bus in order to visit the beach. We got off at the wrong bus stop in Pesaro. Fortunately, we asked a man where it was and it was half a mile straight down the street (he was Italian but spoke English very well). The pizzeria we ate lunch at was really good, I ate way too much. A guy named Francesco who was neither Italian nor knew much Italian but spoke English very well took a picture of us at the place with the beautiful teal/turquoise sea in the background.

The beach was an interesting experience. The whole thing as far as we could see in both directions was covered with umbrellas and chairs. When we took our stuff out to a clearing, a lady came up saying "no no no no no no no, non e possibile" so we had to leave. We noticed a partition with about three feet of beach between the umbrellas and the pier with the restaurant on it. So we set up camp there and watched these old ladies change out of their bras into their bathing suits right out on the beach.

A lot of men stared at us. But I returned the favor because Italians apparently are big fans of the speedo and I was engrossed in staring at THAT. It was weird and Janie and I agreed that we couldn’t handle that.

Kathryn started talking to two Italian guys out in the ocean with Katherine and Lindsey. She brought them back out onto the beach to talk to me and Janie and Julie. They were very persistent and didn’t leave even after Kathryn told them to leave. So I suggested we tell them that we had boyfriends. VOILA! They left. After twenty minutes apparently that was all we had to say.

I think perhaps that when an Italian man asks me for a light for a cigarette and I give it to him, he takes it as an invitation to ask me to sleep with him. This will stop promptly!

So we got back from the beach after cramming onto a bus full of Rutgers kids. We told Rosella about the guys. She was thoroughly entertained and offered to call them for us. I don’t know what she meant to say to them.?

So anyway, at dinner I saw the sunset out the window. It was gorgeous. I’ll have to make a point to get a view of it from the top of the building before I leave.

Well, after that Julie and I checked email downtown and then looked at pictures and gossiped. That’s all for today!!! Basta per oggi!!! Ho un raggazzo negli stati uniti!!! Ciao!!!!

The Mercato in Urbino and Hanging in the Piazza

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by anitaellen83 on January 6, 2009

Like Proffessore Pauluzzi says, in Italy, you have to have grace, be gracious, and be cool. Which means let Italy be Italy and don’t get involved or fight it. Or something.

It was quite a rough morning. Mi fa male la tezza. Or really I don’t know for sure what the word for head is. POINT BEING I had quite the headache. I’ll have to look up the word for hangover. I remember last night though saying to the Morrocan kid that Jamie had, "Ha bevuto troppo!" Anywhoo, I was up in time for the market because Julie kindly got my drunk ass up. I didn’t shower. This brings an interesting situation up because now, I cannot take a shower until they turn the hot water back on. It is only on from 7-9 am/pm. So I gotta wait until dinner.

The market was awesome. This morning an awesome Italian girl from next door to my dorm named Rossella made us all Italian coffee. We ran into a man selling "Le moche" the tiny pots you make Italian coffee in so I purchased one and Julie got a cup with a cute little face and nose like the ones Rossella had for us this morning. I also got a linen skirt for 5 euros. I was very surprised. The fresh fruit and fried fish and shrimp were killing me. I was so hungry and they were so wonderful to smell and look at and enjoy. AH!

We got back in time for our meeting with the other students from Southern Connecticut, Central Florida, and Tennessee. Kathryn and I found out that our schedules are in conflict and must switch them around somehow. But, I only have class until 11:30 which makes me one donna felice. Can someone say "la spiaggia al Pesaro?" Afterwards, we sunned a little out on the roof then headed down to lunch. I finally think that I’m adjusted because I absolutely murdered the pasta first course and ate most of my pollo and the insalata and the bread and my watermelon. Then, let me just say, I was a full and happy Italian.

I then proceeded to crash into a mid afternoon post traumatic hangover sleep for three hours. So, now I’m gonna head back into town and check out the internet café!!! I don’t know what’s going on tonight, all I know is no more sangria or pink grapefruit (pompelmo rosa) for me!!!!! Ciao bebe!

Continuing July 5, 2003……

Just getting out of the shower perche ero la porca as Rosella told me it was said in Italian. I went back up to town this afternoon after my beautiful nap and got online at the internet café. That place is going to become too too addictive. Wrote some emails trying to capture even half of what I’ve written here which is only one eighty-fifth of what’s been going on.

When I was trying to write the emails I noticed that European keypads are different. It didn’t look like they had apostrophes at all and there was no @ sign either. That’s no good!!!! How do you address emails I wonder? I suppose I could ask the guy that works there because he was American.

Rosella asked to eat dinner with us. I spoke to her in Italian and she answered me in English. It was funny. She’s awesome: she was saying that the food wasn’t truly Italian, it was bad, so she would cook for us—calabrese!!! Though I really enjoyed dinner and lunch, we ate some bruschetta, insalata, e ginicchia…that sounds like knee, I can’t exactly remember what Rosella told me the word for cherry was…bo! Kathryn spoke to her too. She and Janie, Katherine, Lindsey, and possibly me are going to the church in town called San Francesco and we found out that Rosella is part of the choir there. COOL!!! It’ll be nice to have Rosella around to check up on our grammar when classes start on Monday.

Tomorrow after la chiesa, we are going to the beach. YES! I also need to swing by the Tabaccheria to purchase some francobolli per mi cartoline that I wrote this afternoon.

I wonder whether Kathryn and I will figure out what class to take since they mischeduled ours…hmmmmmm! BUONASERA….Devo cominciare a vestire per stasera.

ALLORA…just getting back from la piazza. I am listening to the album by Giorgia, a famous Italian vocalist. I may copy it to my computer. Rosella is letting me borrow it for the night. She is so nice! She taught me how to make Italian coffee tonight and showed me some pictures of her friends. She offered at dinner to make a traditional Italian meal for us Monday night.

Alla piazza stasera, the cameriere gave me two free glasses of red wine. I approached him to give him some money and he refused to take it and asked me why I wanted to give it to him. He was a cutie. I left the money on the table. Maybe I’ll get something free some other time….Non so ma vederemmo!

Ah! So much fun here! But it’s almost three and I should go to sleep. Bo’! BUONA NOTTE!

July Fourth in Italy

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by anitaellen83 on January 6, 2009

I got up molto presto stamattina. The Italian girls kinda stare a little at me when I go in the bathrooms. I say buongiorno so I don’t feel like I’m being rude, but they continue to stare. I’m not too sure what that’s about.

I took some nice photos of our surroundings here in the "collegi." The guys across the way have a penchant for bad eighties American music. Things that make you go hmm.

Me and Julie got cappuccinos this morning at the little bar outside of our "tube" leading down to our entryways. It was non caro! It only cost 67 centesimi to get a cappuccino. Which is good because the beer in town is WAY overpriced.

We all went together to the place where our classes will be held in the mornings. Another girl from USC joined us from her trip in France this morning. Her name is Lindsay. I felt immediately comfortable with her which is good because I didn’t want to end up just hanging out with Julie all the time and not make any new friends.

We checked out the shoes, the Duke’s palace, the gelato, the boys. The men stared and made comments about us, but I didn’t exactly know what they were saying. We kept getting honked at on the roads too. Fascinating.

We had lunch downstairs in the dorm at "la mensa." The watermelon was so fresh, red, and juicy. After I finished it, the gigantic piece that it was, I didn’t have room for my squid encrusted pasta with lentils, the chicken, or the salad. We get so much food here, but I think that might just be a lunch deal. Dinner may not be so nice.

After lunch Janie, Kathryn, Lindsay and I went out for a walk down the road leading away from town to a sunflower field. It was such a nice walk! The breeze was just enough to take the edge off the heat. The houses in the valley were gorgeous and burgeoning with flowers and trees. The conversations were nice with my fellow companions. I found out that Janie knows Chris through APO. We took some photos of the sunflowers and the view of Urbino from the valley. The walk back UP the valley was a little torturous. Though I think I may make that walk a daily routine in order to shape up a little. It was definitely hard on the thighs.

So we’re back at the dorms now, just got some water and talked about what the classes might be like here. They don’t start till Monday, so maybe I’ll be better adjusted by then. Can’t wait to hit the beach at Pesaro some nice afternoon like this. THIS is what balmy is, not that sweat infested penetrating heat back in Carolina. Ahhh. I like the way my linen pants are cool. I think I’d rather wear some shorts tomorrow though.

Well, in an hour our companions from Connecticut, Tennessee, and Florida will arrive. I’m gonna nap and freshen up.

Ciao per adesso!

Later the evening of July 4, 2003
Allora, so all of us went out to la piazza dopo we had napped, ate dinner, and walked along the city wall. We walked up so many stairs. I swear, I am going to have the nicest body ever once we get through with this place.

Finally, tonight at three a.m., they are playing real Italian music across the way. I’m not sure why they are still awake. The Italian girl next door named ROSELLA, a beautiful name in my opinion, told me that she was going to try to get some sleep since she’s trying to move out. It was funny, because I would ask her questions in Italian and she would answer me in Italiano. Kathryn said it was just her way of practicing on me and my way of practicing on her.

After we went into town after dinner, we all got some gelato. I got pink grapefruit flavored gelato. It was actually very good, but I don’t think I’ll be ordering it again because the chocolate selections looked even better.

Me, Mary, and Jamie went to a bar after the ice cream. All these Italians kept hitting on us. For me, it’s a good way to practice Italian on natives, but for Jamie and Mary it’s just scary. It’s funny how I have to translate for them.

Well anyway, after the drinks, we’re back here at "I collegi" and tomorrow is a market and an orientation. I want to go to Pesaro to the beach tomorrow, but I don’t know!

Eating Pizza in Urbino

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by anitaellen83 on January 6, 2009

We went into the piazza of Urbino. Julie and I found not only a place to get a pedicure, but a place to buy Italian clothes, get an Italian haircut, and find American cigarettes for a hugely inflated price.

SOOOOO….we had REAL PIZZA at this nice place called Tre Piantes (because there were three mythical unbeknownst trees). I had a piccola birra which we think may have been something German that I can’t think of right now but for some reason the sounds Fraubaus are in my head. That’s not it though. The pizza was so awesome. There was one with zucchini on it, one with mushrooms, and one with tomatoes and garlic. The sauce was so light, yet at the same time oily like you’d expect. The mozzarella was so perfect, and the toppings were perfectly seasoned. BLISS I TELL YOU.

I was feeling pretty good after the beer and the cigarette and the inevitable delerium. The Piazza was so romantic. Yet I’m finding it odd that the entire place is hardscaped. It’s all just road and building. And the buildings are so high that it feels like you’re inside. It was really bizarre. In the center, there are three bars all with tons of outdoor seating. People just sit and drink, TONS OF PEOPLE (in such a small town!) till the wee hours. All the women get so dressed up and made up. It’s intimidating. I can’t wait to break it down at the disco/coffeehouse/library?!

The people around here drive like maniacs and don’t have very safe or continuous sidewalks. This worries me a little.

Funny Italian phrases from today:

Imigranti: non lasciateci soli con gli italiani.

Mi metto qualcosa, e io vengo!

Il deserto peggiore e la vita senza amici.

First Day in Rome

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by anitaellen83 on January 6, 2009

The Colloseum was huge in our faces immediately on stepping out onto the streets. It was a madhouse. There were Italians yelling about sunglasses and stuff on the sidewalks, gypsies all around, Romans dressed up like Praetorian guards, and a breathtaking landscape filled with remnants of the ancient world.

I tried to remember all the things I learned in Latin class as well as try to think of things to say in Italian, but it was all so surreal. All I could do was keep clicking pictures to remind myself that it was not just a fantasy and I wasn’t dead.

The "governor’s mansion" of Rome was gleaming white with a huge gold statue in the center. It was stunning. The landscape itself was different and unusual with tall, skinny trees like cedar with foliage from top to bottom and shorter trees with an umbrella-like foliage up at the top.

We decided to go eat at this al fresco place. We got bottled water, and I had the fettucini romana with meat sauce. The noodles were very yolky and chewy than I’m used to, but the "salza" was absolutely to DIE FOR. Delicious. It was so cool and breezy underneath the ivy at the café. It really was breathtaking and such a relief from hauling baggage around for the past three hours. This laptop must weigh ten pounds, not to mention the excess sweat it cause by chaffing my back and neck. UGH!

http://www.igougo.com/journal-j72043-Italy-Five_Weeks_Studying_and_Touring_in_Italy.html

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