Friday, April 11, 2014

Florence, Cinque Terre & Parma

Ciao ragazze!

Last weekend I was all over Italy.
I started my weekend early and took a train to Florence Thursday night to meet Megan, a friend from BC studying there. We had a delicious meat-filled dinner when I got in, which was a change of pace from Venice. As good as Venetian food is, I'm starting to get little sick of pizza and pasta!

Early Friday morning we started our tour of Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre, meaning "five lands," is a string of towns on the Italian Riviera. They're connected by hiking trails and trains and cannot be reached by cars. Unfortunately because it was the off season we didn't get to hike between the towns. Instead, we took trains, but it was still just as scenic.

Manarola, the second town

We got unlucky with some bad weather, but it was still beautiful in the rain



beach shop in Monterosso

One of the many closed hotels

A view of the previous 4 towns 

All these closed shops were a little eerie 

As much as I loved Cinque Terre, I'd love to go back during the summer season when the trails are open to hike and the Mediterranean is swimmable! 

Megan and I woke up early to walk around Florence before my train to Parma. We lucked out with some sunny weather and not a ton of tourists 

Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore 

I decided to stop through Parma on my way back from Florence. BC has a huge program in Parma and I really wanted to see what it was like. One of my friends from BC, Brianna, who also went to my high school, is studying in Parma and was nice enough to let me stay at her place for the night.

Naturally I had some of the best 'prosciutto di parma' and parmesan cheese of my life.
Parma is in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and is home of the US-equivilant FDA. 

I really liked Parma- it was a good taste of an authentic Italian city. Brianna assured me there are no touristy restaurants or stores to be found anywhere in Parma (quite the opposite of Venice!) 
As much as I love Venice and appreciate how well preserved it is in comparison to many other cities in Italy, it was nice to be away from all the tourists that have been increasingly flooding the city as the weather improves.

Back in Venice. Home of my new 'gym' above a historical boathouse
Reale Società Francesco Querini 

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