So – as you may know – my life in Tallinn consists of many travel adventures, in and out of Estonia. One of my most exciting and favorite trips of all time was travelling to Italy for 4 days.
In this 4 days – I visited 5 cities, ate many-many amazing and delicious meals, partied all night, soaked up the sun and even met some new and old friends.
The plan was to arrive in Bologna, visit the city by myself till about lunchtime where my friend would catch a train to meet me. I walked around the town a little bit and tried to connect to some Wi-Fi to see if my friend had sent me messages. Nothing – so I kept wandering and even started shopping. The first thing I noticed was how warm it was in Bologna. I had to make a pit stop and put away my heavy jacket into my very empty suitcase in preparation for much shopping to come.
Once I got some Wi-Fi and a SIM card, I then made contact with my Italian friend. She wasn’t far away. And I was getting very excited to see her. My Italian friend Veronica and I met in Melbourne when she came for an ERASMUS program. We studied together for a year and I promised her that I would visit her in Italy. This promise finally came true.
We met on a busy main street in Bologna and we hugged for approximately 2 minutes (this is actually a long time). The moment was so surreal as the last time I saw her was in Melbourne nearly 8 months ago and now we are meeting again in Italy! It was truly a lovely moment. Neither of us could believe that we were finally together again and we had to pinch each other several times to make sure it wasn’t a dream.
We then started to head towards having lunch. Of course, in Bologna, they are famous for tortellini in broth soup. So we just had to have that specialty. During lunch we began to catch up as much as we could but there was just too much to say for one sitting. We continued to walk around Bologna and I had Veronica as my private tour guide as she used to study in Bologna. She took me to all her favorite university spots and even her favorite university café where we were lucky enough to witness some Italian graduates graduating, We moved on to have some gelato and then we made our way to the train station.
In the evening, we took the train to Modena, Veronica’s hometown, where her best friend Riccardo picked us up. Together we headed out for dinner at a small café along a highway. You wouldn’t even know it was open unless you were a true local. I was skeptical at first but I knew that Veronica would only take me to the best of the best. I knew I was in for a real life experience. The food we ate was typical to the region and it was positively delightful. My eyes widened when the food came out and I couldn’t stop stuffing my face with those beautiful gnocchi frittis. It was basically a do-it-yourself sandwich but with special fried bread and flat bread. We ate it together with cheeses, antipasti and jams. Delicious!
The next morning, after sleeping with a rather full belly, I made my way into Modena city center to explore the town while my friend went to work. The town was sweetly organized, straight away I noticed how all the buildings were in shades of orange, yellow and beige. It was quintessentially Italian and I was instantly in love. I roamed around the streets on my own without any navigation. There was so much to see and do! The streets were littered with boutique shops and cafes. I even managed to go visit the famous Modena market which was lively and full of amazing produce! Soon after I visited the most famous Michelin starred restaurant in Modena, Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana. Sadly they were not open for lunch but I got a cheeky selfie to prove that I was there!
For lunch, my friend picked me up from the city center after I’d shopped and bought clothes that I didn’t need but definitely wanted. We drove to a small town just outside Firenze (Florence), which was famous for their Florentine steaks. The steaks were large and extremely heavy however it was quite the foodie experience. It was nearly a 2-3Kg sized steak which continuously cooked on your very-very hot plate in which is served to you. And it was absolutely delicious!
We then drove to Firenze and had an amazing view of the town. We admire the city from above and then we wandered the streets of Florence. We had a lighter dinner followed by lots of wine, ammazzacaffe (a shot of liquor after a coffee – or a literal translation: coffee killer). We partied all night with her friends and before we knew it, we were home by 5am!
4 hours later, the struggle was real. We were probably still drunk but we had to get up and get ready to drive to Lucca to experience the 3rd largest Comic Con convention in the world. After pastries and cappuccinos we were on our way. At Lucca, we met up with Veronica’s other friends including a one extra friend of mine from Milano. The convention was absolutely amazing. The entire convention took place within the old city. The old city walls surround the old city and all the shops and restaurants participated in decorating their shops in their prepared comic world. It was such an amazing experience, seeing and admiring everyone’s Cosplay outfits and all the effort that goes into their costumes. It was a long day but a very exciting one at that.
For dinner we ate at one of the most amazing restaurants in Pistoia, we were treated to first class food and service. Once again, in Italian style, we ate and drank and enjoyed the rest of our night.
The next day, and sadly my last day, we took the morning to stroll around the town of Pistoia and luckily I had my personal tour guide to show me around. Lunch was also delicious as usual, could anything not be delicious in Italy? I don’t think so – however feel free to dispute me because I don’t think that it could be possible!
5 cities in 5 days may seem like a lot but we made it possible and it was amazing! After this trip, I can finally say that not I am in love with Italy and I just cannot wait to return to Italy once again. It’s a good thing that its not too far from Tallinn!
Author: Chervil Tan
Photos: Chervil Tan
Editor: Kärt Mattikas