So here's a post about my second weekend in Italy, when I went to a number of cities. On Friday after class, we took the high speed train to Bologna. It only took 35 minutes! We looked at the university, which is the oldest modern university in the Western hemisphere (1088). We walked around and saw the ruins of the old city of Bologna inside the library and the Due Tori (a pair of towers that are both leaning in opposite directions). Apparently, during this time period, towers were signs of power and wealth in Bologna and the city is famous for its competing towers. We ended the night with some famous Bologna fare: tortellini, bread, and great wine!
The city is very medieval looking, but there were tons of motorcycles and Vespas, just like everywhere else in Italy!
Bologna at night was breathtakingly beautiful.
On Saturday we woke up very early to go to Venice for the day. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't as great as it was for our Rome trip, but it held out and didn't rain. We spent some time walking through the city and got some lunch at a sandwich shop. Then we took the much talked about gondola tour. This was ridiculously expensive, but totally worth it. For four people for 45 minutes, it was 120 euro (30 euro each). If that sounds like a lot, you'd be surprised that it goes up exponentially at night and during the summer!
The city itself was beautiful and romantic, the type of place with lots of cute bridges and narrow streets.
From our gondola ride!
After our gondola ride, we decided to go to Murano Island. Getting everywhere in Venice takes a lot of time because it's basically a water city. Venice is a lagoon and is serviced by what I would call a water subway system, which makes stops throughout the city and the "outer boroughs" of the two islands. Murano Island is famous for its glass blowing. On a day like ours during the winter, the island closed at 4 PM, so we got into the last free glassblowing demonstration at 3 PM.
This glass blown horse was made on the spot, right in front of us. I got some glass blown cat pieces.
The sunset from Murano Island.
On Sunday, we took a local train (not high speed) to Pisa. These trains are basically the equivalent of Metro North or the LIRR. It took about an hour to get to Pisa on the local train, since we made a lot of stops. The town of Pisa is actually quite large, and very quiet and residential (although most of everything was closed since it was Sunday). A lot of people told us that you just got off the train and then the tower was "right there". This was not exactly true. After 20 minutes of walking across town, and some time getting lost, we finally found the tower.
Like most towns in Italy, there was a river running through the center, and a big bridge.
Had to get my Pisa pic.
That was my second weekend in Italy! I'll post another blog soon about the class trips we went on and maybe another about the other day trips and activities we did in and around Florence. I'm just realizing how much stuff I did in just a month in Italy!