It’s been a while, I know, again. We’ve had our Fall break, and no one really wants to do work during Fall break and the post-break slump happens in Italy too.
In the true nature of procrastination, I planned my fall break trip during fall break.
Mary and I decided to go to Verona, which I highly recommend. I had a perfect two days there.
Verona is one of the easiest cities to visit without a plan. Mary and I had train tickets and a hostel booked. We didn’t know how to get to the city center from the train station and we didn’t know where our hostel was in relation to the city center.
So we just started walking, following the signs for the Arena, and were soon in the center.
After a great lunch and with a little help from Google Maps, we set off, managed to find our hostel which was one of the nicest places I’ve stayed in here, and began our sight-seeing.
We hit the big stuff, Juliet’s house, the museum, the main piazza. These places were nice, if crowded. I never felt claustrophobic quite the way I had in Venice.
I will say that one of my absolute favorite places in the world now is the Giusti Garden. We wandered around in the morning, which I recommend. There were maybe two other people we saw the entire time we were there. We adventured through a hedge maze (where I managed to lose my sunglasses and had to go find them), up a spiral staircase to the most incredible view of the city.
None of these sights were my favorite part of the trip, though. The best part about this trip was the level of relaxation. Mary and I sat, for hours, sometimes talking, sometimes not. Just enjoying what Verona had to offer.
We sat in the Arena and imagined what the operas held there would look like.
We sat on the edge of the river, just watching the sun sink a little lower into the sky.
At one point, we even just sat on a stoop for a little break when we (meaning, I) got tired of walking.
Everything was just so incredibly calm. It can be easy to forget to really just try and take in everything that’s around you. Especially as an American study abroad student. We have it drilled into our minds that we must see everything while we’re here, no more, no less, planning trips every weekend, seeing Italy, France, Spain, Great Britain, Europe, all in the limited space of allotted weekends.
I’ve spent a great deal of my weekends here in Siena, as I’ve mentioned, and, while I want to see more of Europe (and the world) I don’t regret the decisions that kept me in this city.
It was easy, coming back to Siena, to think about it as a small place. Too small, with less to offer than Verona or other major cities.
I got off the bus thinking about this little city and wondering if I should have traveled more, wondering if perhaps I’d isolated myself in this place.
Then, as I was walking home, I saw one of my Italian friends and we talked for a little while. I went a little out of my way to walk through Piazza del Campo before heading to my homestay.
Siena may be small, but it has really become a home for me. I’ve made so many incredible memories this semester, and the friends I’ve made by staying in Siena are some of the most fun people I’ve ever met, even if I can’t always understand them.
Siena is small, and I know I’ve talked about this before, but it feels like home. It feels like I’m living here, not just keeping some clothes and a bed on hand for weekdays.
And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
As one of my favorite fictional characters would remind us:
“Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hi! I'm Taylor and I major in English and minor in History at the University of Richmond. I am a novice traveler at best, and have never been anywhere a car couldn't take me, so I am incredibly excited to be studying in Siena, Italy for the next academic year. In addition to my major and minor, I also am incredibly passionate about music, voice and piano being my preferred instruments, and can't wait to see what musical outlets I find in Siena. I can't believe I'm spending an entire year in a city I know I'm going to fall absolutely in love with and I can't wait to share my perspective of Siena with you!</span></p>