Reggio Emilia, Florence, Pisa, and Cinque Terra!

Good morning friends! I hope you all had a marvelous Easter! Guess what? I got to visit 4 cities in just one weekend! The trip started Saturday morning, where my host family drove me to the first city, Reggio Emilia. It was a really cute city in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. This town is famous because it is where the Italian flag was first invented. It is also famous for the salami! So we ate a nice lunch of ravioli and salami and then walked around for a while.

The next town was Florence! We got there in the evening and checked into the hotel. The hotel was incredible! It looked so old-fashioned and antique. There was even an old-fashioned telephone in my room! We walked around the center of Florence for a while, saw the famous Cattedrale di Santa Maria (duomo) and Giotto’s Campanile (the tower next to the duomo). I can’t even imagine how they were made, it must have taken years!! We also saw the Ponte Vecchio (Florence bridge). It was so beautiful at night because it was lit up with so many lights. We ate dinner at a small restaurant in the center; I had lasagne! At night everyone gathered around the church and watched the priests light a holy fire. And then they entered the church in single file, lighting the candles of everyone watching. It was like a pre-Easter celebration.

The morning after was Easter!! Florence is famous for their huge Easter festival, so I’m so lucky to have seen it! The festival started at 10am in the center of Florence. There were TONS of people watching! I later learned that there were more than 8,000 people there! The festival started with a long parade of priests and important people from the church. Then they all gathered in front of the church and lit the “cart” on fire. The “cart” is a really tall structure that is covered in fireworks. The “Explosion of the Cart” is the main event where all of the fireworks are lit and it sounds like a huge explosion of bombs are going off. It was really incredible to see! I got a video of it that I will put in my next Youtube video! After the festival, my host family and I walked around the city a bit, passing the replica of Michelangelo’s David, the house of Dante, old churches, and the bridges of Florence. We ate lunch at a food court which served all of the famous dishes of Tuscany. I got to try hamburger made from a white Tuscan cow. It was really delicious! Then we then took a 2 hour walk up a hill to see the whole view of Florence from the top. I could see the whole city, the bridges, the duomo, and all of the red roof buildings. It was breathtaking!! Then we had dinner at a restaurant called “Eataly” which is a really cool restaurant because every month they change the different category of food for each region of Italy. This month was food from the region, Campania, and I ate pasta with spicy red sauce. After dinner Pigi and I rode the carousel near the center of Florence, and then we all went to bed.

Pisa was next! And obviously, I could resist posing like I was holding the leaning tower :) We visited the Cathedral next to the tower, and then the cemetery as well. There were a whole bunch of tourists there too, I guess Easter break is a popular time to visit Italy! After Pisa we drove to the region of Liguria and visited one of the cities of Cinque Terra!! I can’t even describe how beautiful it was with the ocean, the different colored houses, and the boats all lined up next to the dock. We ate lunch at a cute little restaurant next to the ocean, and I ate a very tasty dish of pasta with seafood. We walked around the town a bit, seeing all of the little shops lined up along the narrow street. I even noticed that one store had a really interesting aspect – instead of a door, they had long strings of pasta hanging from the ceiling! I put a picture on Facebook if you’re interested :) We visited the church in Cinque Terra, and also a really small castle from hundreds of years ago. We took a whole bunch of pictures on the rocks next to the ocean, and then got back in the car and took a 3 hour ride home back to Pettenasco.

The whole weekend felt like a dream. I couldn’t have had a better time. The weather was amazing, the cities were amazing, and my host family is amazing for taking me around Italy for Easter! Until next time. Ciao Ciao!

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