Monday, January 24, 2011

Vivere come una freccia

"Freccia" means arrow or bolt, and life here has certainly been moving, if not quite at bullet speed, at least as fast as an arrow.

But first things first.  This is where I live:

My street!
Well, kind of.  This is the connection between Via d'Azeglio and the
Piazza Santa Maggiore.

Statue of San Petronius in the Piazza Santa Maggiore.

La Fontana di Nettuno (also in the Piazza).

One of his sirenette (mermaids).
Note the pigeon.

So, touristy pictures out of the way, I can begin to tell you all about the pazzia (craziness) that was my weekend.  On Thursday, the group ventured out to the discoteca for the first time for a party sponsored by the Facoltà di Medicina e Chirurgia (Department of Medicine and Surgery).  All I have to say is, Wash U pre-meds need to step it up if they have any chance of competing with this.  It was a city-wide festa (party) at one of the discotecas near the center of town.  Before heading over, we all met up at Paglietta for a pre-festa festa.  Being the Americans that we are, there was naturally fist-pumping (courtesy of Simon, as always) and flip-cup (which the Italian team won).

So much intensity.

Tutto il gruppo.
Can you pick out the Americans? (Hint: it's really easy)

After waiting in line almost an hour to get into the discoteca, the night really began.  All I can say is, Italian guys (well, some of them anyway) really do live up to their reputation.

Friday, after history class in the morning, I decided to check out the mercato (outdoor market) over by the train station.  It's open on Fridays and Saturdays and is insanely cheap (although it takes persistence if you want something other than over-sized old man sweaters or trashy club attire.  I did end up with a (not too) over-sized old man sweater, but also with a paio di stivali (pair of boots).  There are shoe stores approximately every four feet in Bologna, so when I saw that pair for a decent price I couldn't resist the temptation any longer.

After thoroughly exploring the mercato, Madeline and I headed home by way of a little park up on a nearby hill.  There we found some interesting sculptures of a lion standing over the body of a dead horse and a tiger fighting a snake over the body of a dead horse (notice a pattern?).

After getting back into the center of town and rejoining the rest of the group, I achieved one of my major goals for the semester: finding that gelato place that we went to when I was in Bologna for the first time two summers ago.  Apparently it's only a few blocks from where Linnea lives.  Success!  Now I just need to find the window overlooking the canal that is the cover photo for this blog I took last time I was here.

Il migliore (the best) gelateria a Bologna!

On Saturday the group took a trip to nearby Ferrara, which was quite a big deal during the Middle Ages.    We went to several important sites around the city, but most notably the Castello Estense (Castle of Saint Michele) in which there were many impressive frescoes.

Atop one of the towers of the castello.

In Ferrara there are actually more bikes than people.

There was an interesting installation of safari animals all over town.

Girolamo Savonarola.

More sculptures.

Un gatto carinissimo!
(A really cute cat)

In addition to exploring the city and seeing a lot of art, we enjoyed a two-hour (repeat TWO-HOUR) lunch with multiple courses and lots of conversation.  Our table (we were a group of twenty) took up almost the entire ristorante (restaurant).  After Ferrara the group suffered again from it's-the-weekend-but-we're-new-here-so-we-don't-know-what-to-do syndrome.  Sunday was, again, a day of rest and homework.

And now it's Monday and I'm off to fare più compiti (do more homework) and get ready for my appuntamento (meeting) with Matteo later tonight.

Viva la vita!

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