My first trip in Italy was a day trip to Verona!

The trip organized by Modena’s Erasmus Student Organization, took us on a trip through the medieval streets of Verona, a city in Italy’s northern region of Veneto, famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s famous novel, Romeo and Juliet.

The Verona Arena, a first century Roman amphiteater

Our tour started at the Verona Arena, followed by typical Italian breakfast, a croissant and cappuccino, a walk through the winding streets of Verona that led to the famous balcony of Romeo and Juliet.

Famous Shakespeare’s ’Romeo and Juliet’ balcony
Colorful Street in Verona

The tour then took us to Castelvecchio, a prominent military castle from the middle ages.

Castelvecchio in Verona

In the meantime, we took a well deserved break from walking the city by getting a gelato, and a conversation with the other Erasmus students.

Italian Gelato

We ended the tour by going up the hill at Castel San Petro with astonishing views of the city at sunset. Although challenging to walk up many stairs after walking the entire city, this place deserves to be on top of the list if you ever find yourself in Verona.

Views on top of Castel San Petro

My First Stop before Going to My New Home

February 9-10

My first stop in Italy is brought to you from Milan!

First sight of Italy overlooking the Dolomites

After a long 11 hour trip from Boston, with a layover in Frankfurt, Germany, I have finally arrived in Northern Italy, where I will stay for 1 day before heading to my final destination, Modena.

The first day was full of culture shocks and curiosities. Figuring out my way around public transport, attempting to order lunch with the Italian I have been passionately learning for more than a year and half (with much success I must say), and finally sightseeing around this beautiful city.

My first stop was at the restaurant close to my hotel where I ordered a plate of carbonara pasta, with Pecorino Romano, and a glass of red wine recommended by the kind waitress who was taking my order. I then proceeded to my first location which was the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where the famous last supper of Leonardo da Vinci can be found.

Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’

I proceeded to see the busiest place in metropolitan Milan, ‘il Duomo di Milano’. The famous cathedral, which started its construction in 1386, is symbol of the city and of the country, as it is the biggest cathedral in Italy. Even though the cathedral allows tourists to go inside and admire its impressive design, its most famous attractive to visitors is to go up the actual cathedral to its terraces to admire a 360 view of the city, where you can enjoy taking pictures of the impressive architecture at a closer angle, and relax at the same time at its highest point while you look over an impressive sunset.

Rooftop terrace of the ‘Duomo di Milano’
Overlook of Milan

Right next to it (conveniently), it’s situated the gallery Vittorio Emanuele II, a massive gallery founded in the 19th century that holds presence of the most elegant Italian brands.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

As my Milan trip come to an end, I am excited to take a 2 hour train to Modena, Emilia-Romagna, in some of Italy’s most comfortable high-speed trains.


Follow UMass Lowell student, Julian Viviescas, major in English with a minor in Italian Studies, as he studies abroad in Modena, Italy through the UMass Lowell Exchange Program with the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, located in Modena and Reggio Emilia.

Emilia-Romagna, Italy, is one of the oldest universities in Italy, founded in 1175. Located in the northern regions of Italy, Modena is the capital of the Emilia-Romagna province and is known for its amazing cuisine and medieval architecture.

View more information about this exchange program in Modena.

Visit the UMass Lowell International Experiences and Study Abroad website.