During our time here in Italy and at the Accademia, we have accomplished a lot on our European bucket list, but with the last few weeks dwindling down, there are still some things we have yet to achieve. These include certain cities that we have yet to explore, befriending a wild boar family, and eating three gelatos in one day. Other consensus includes spending more time with the friends made and ending the semester on a high note. Personally, I wish to cherish as much as I can until I depart. With three weeks to go, who knows what can be accomplished?
My Bucket List… for my last two weeks in Italy.
I think it is safe to say that I’ve traveled a fair amount. While my schedule has only brought me out of the country during spring break (to London, Ireland and Amsterdam), I will say I have done a significant amount of exploration within Italy.
To start, I have done a few day trips. I explored one of Europe’s first hospitals in Siena, went deep into thousand year old caves in Orvieto, roamed the streets of Viareggio during Carnivale, stared at the Leaning Tower in Pisa and rode a bike along the city walls of Lucca.
I have also done many overnight trips. The main trips have been to Florence and Rome. In Florence, my home friends and I went to the Duomo and wandered through the streets at night. I missed out on seeing the David and the Uffizi, so that is something I would definitely want to do if and when I go back to Florence. In Rome, the Coliseum and the Vatican blew me away. The history and art left me awestruck and it really was life-changing. On our way back to our hotel we even bumped into the filming of the new James Bond movie, which was so cool! I have also traveled to coastal Italy. First I went down south to Napoli where I had some of Italy’s oldest and best pizza, Pompeii where I investigated the ruins of Mount Vesuvius’ explosion, Sorrento where I had the best Kebab and Gelato in Italy, and Capri which provided the best panoramic view of the sea off the island. This most recent weekend, I spent my days on the beaches of Cinque Terre. The five lands had great, colorful views to offer and the water was crystal clear, but extremely freezing.
Having done so much, I’m unsure of what I would like to do in my remaining time here. The most obvious answer would be to go to Venice, since I haven’t been yet. I know it is definitely somewhere I would like to go. The weather is warming up so it would probably be amazing to take a ride on the gondolas. It would definitely be relaxing and one of the more exciting adventures I’d go on.
However, I think the most important thing I would like to do is investigate Arezzo a little more. I’ve spent so much time here that I haven’t realized how much I haven’t seen until now. I definitely want to see the Piero Della Francesco fresco and the Teatro Petrarca, which just opened up. The first is one of the biggest and most important frescos in Italy and the latter is a big theater that was used for the filming of La Vita e Bella, an academy-award winning movie filmed in Arezzo. Upcoming events in Arezzo are the Andy Warhol exhibit and a flower show. If any of those are as good as the chocolate festival or antique fairs we’ve had, I know I’m definitely in for a treat. Hopefully, I get the chance to see more of the shops and eat at more of the restaurants before I leave. Arezzo has become a second home and I’m glad I know it so well, because it is a great place to be. I think spending my last weekend here will be a great culmination to my trip.
Coming to Arezzo, I had so many bucket list items planned. It’s actually a little embarrassing how many I wrote down while pining away at the thought of Italy in cold New Jersey. Upon coming here however, that bucket list went right out the window after a few weeks.
Honestly, I don’t consider it a bad thing that I didn’t finish them all. I actually like it. I think it reflects how I’ve become more flexible and adaptable… things I’ve learned in my movement and voice classes. Since being here, I honestly haven’t made a major bucket list of things to do. I found that even thinking about all of the things I need or want to do with the little time I have left was stressful, and made me feel bad about myself a little bit that I have not completed them.
Now, I take every day as it is, and feel amazing when I go do things on a whim. Not having things planned or looming at the back of my mind has made me more present and able to enjoy the activities I’ve decided to do now, in this moment.
I must admit though, there a few things I would like to do before I leave in the next few weeks… being:
1) Try the winery up the hill from our villa. My first day arriving in Arezzo, I went on a walk and stumbled upon it and literally jumped for joy. It only makes sense that I go to it at least once.
2) Travel to Siena. Before coming here, my mother kept talking to me about one of the most beautiful cities she has ever been to in Italy. When I got here, I learned that it is only a few hours away. I’d like to see the beauty that she saw so long ago, and feel it just like she did.
3) Go on a hike. My most favorite thing about being in Arezzo is the gorgeous weather… that just happened to change dramatically as of April 1st (thank god). Paired with the amazing mountains and views, I think going on a hike here would be an amazing experience.
In regards to Italy, I think I’ve done everything on my bucket-list. I’m saving the Cinque Terre for a family vacation a few years down the road but everything else I’ve happily covered. I’m not a big fan of bucket lists— if I do something, I’m happy that I got it done. But I don’t want to worry about “not doing” something. I could spend years in Italy and still feel like I haven’t done it all.
For me, the month of May is going to be spent making check mark after check mark on a European “bucket-list.” I have from May first to May 23rd to see as much as I can see, and although I’m not doing the three week journey across Europe à la Rick Steves, I think I’ll do him (and my Rick Steves aficionado father) proud.
That fateful first day of the month I will kiss the villa goodbye and trek, with yellow stone dust on my lips, down Via San Fabiano to the train station where I will head towards my first destination, Switzerland. In Gimmelwald, Switzerland I plan to hike, read, pet cows, stumble upon waterfalls, and not get to thrown off by the smelly cheese. Gimmelwald is across the mountain from Wengen, Switzerland, my motherland (Tess Wenger — Wengen, Switzerland, get it?) so if I can, I dream of returning there. I’ve seen other college friends go to this area of Switzerland and go sky-diving, but I’m the kind of girl who is content with looking at farm animals, so that’s one thing that’s not on the bucket-list.
After leaving Switzerland my two fellow Accademia-ites and I will travel to Paris. There we will get our fill of French museums, hopefully picnic under the Eiffel Tower, and perhaps eat a few chocolate croissants. We are also making plans to meet up with a few other students from the Accademia— maybe send some headstand pics back to our favorite Italian hills!
I’ve been to both Paris and Switzerland before, but I’ve never been to Spain, nor do I speak a lick of Spanish, so our next destination is one I’m super nervous (but excited) about. I will be in Barcelona for a few days, and although I don’t know a lot about what I’ll be doing there, I’m sure good old Rick will be able to help me out.
Our second to last destination is Ireland. We’ll be staying with a Boston University friend in Dublin, and then traveling to Galway to stay in a (hopefully) romantic Airb&b. I want to see the coast, sing some Irish songs, drink some Guinness, and add some more freckles to my already Irish face. We will also try and meet up with our lovely guest teacher at the Accademia, Helena!
Our final destination will be one of rest and relaxation. Santorini, Greece will be the perfect blend of sunshine, coast, and drinks to quench the thirst of the girl who won’t be 21 in America until August. We’ve been given a lot of good advice by our Accademia friends who went over spring break, so I trust we’ll have a great time.
All I really ask of my May-post-Arezzo adventure is that I return to Boston with a sunburnt face that’ll make my siblings envious and a bunch of good stories to tell my parents.
Some more Bucket List items from Spring 2015 students:
“I want to go bungee-jumping. Off the cliffs in Cinque Terre. Or anywhere, really.” — Tommy Walsh
“To bask on the beaches of the Amalfi coast.” — Lauren Harkins
“Watch the sunrise on the top of the Teatrino” — Jenny Daniels
“The big one is to go to Syracuse in Sicily. But I’ve got that booked for next week.” — Matt Macca
“I want to have a conversation in Italian that is not about food or directions.” — Claudia Ramos Joran
“I am the sperm that made it. I have no European bucket list. I have already won and this is my reward.” — Nick Chuba
“To do a wine-tasting in a winery.” — Sophie Nelson
“I really want to go camel riding in Morocco. That’s Africa, not Europe.” — Kyra Smith
“I want to go to Scotland, Dublin, and Amsterdam. I want a gondola ride in Venice. A wine tasting. I want to see the Tuscan sunflower fields. I want to have an Italian lover for a beautiful night with a non-creepy Italian man.” — Anonymous
“I really want to bask in the sun on the beach.” — Jade’ Davis
“I just want to feel like Lena in The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants. I just want to meet my Kostos.” — Lucy Farmer