So, I have a confession… after spending so much time in Italy my last playdate in Europe, I kinda sorta had no desire to return this go around. I thought I had seen my fair share of churches and incredibly good looking Italians! There are so many other countries to see and explore, and I was a little Italy-ied out. However, when my aunt volunteered to fly me out to meet her, how could I say no?!
After enduring a two hour flight with 100 hormonal Italian 15-year-olds returning from a school trip (I imagine Hell to be a lot like my flight experience), I embraced the warm Italian air and got settled into the B&B. Bologna was our first stop! It was interesting how immediately I felt at home. The cobblestones, slight retro 1991 vibe in the air, and tiny cars all reminded me how much I once loved my first European home.
Bologna had always been one of those random cities I had wanted to make a day trip for, but had never gotten the chance to. Perhaps it was the cultural complexity of the town, perhaps it was the similarity it shared with the word, “balogna.” (Most likely, it was the latter). I didn’t think I’d like it so much, but here I am craving another good homemade pizza. They just don’t make them how they used to.
Rome was our second stop. We took an evening train, and were there in two hours. Apparently, we had booked second class tickets, which didn’t get us plush leather seats, but got us the best pack of crackers I’ve ever eaten AND free coffee! I never had experienced such luxury traveling as a poor college kid. There were even outlets on the undersides of the table! I was in heaven. Also, can we take a moment to address how accessible wifi now is in Europe? When I was last here, it seemed as though it was a novelty, but now everyone and their mamas wants you to be able to tweet whilst in motion.
My first and second experiences with Rome were extremely different. The last time I was here, I was traveling with three guys and ended up at a massive party that took place in an abandoned fort. This time, I wore a fedora. We’ve upped our game a little since 2013. We only had one full day in Rome, so I did the two things I ran out of time to do last time- the Sistine Chapel, and the Collosseum.
Italy will always have a special place in my heart. It was my first international home! The food is spectacular (y’all know all my money goes towards indulging in food). We had tortellini in Bologna, and CARBONARA IN ROME, which is one of my favorite dishes ever. Although, spoiler, I was a little underwhelmed by the Sistine Chapel. You get herded like cattle into the room and they’re constantly grabbing cameras and shouting “NO PICTURES!” (which is the one rule I’ve always allowed myself to attempt to break). BUT, the collosseum didn’t disappoint AND also didn’t come with a three hour wait like the chapel did. Being an avid reader and history buff, being in these INCREDIBLY old places always gives me goosebumps. And I’ve gotten over my lack of enthusiasm for returning to Italy… I’m now planning a trip to Sicily in the early fall!