Birthday Week=Formula 1 Week!

April 20,23,24- This has got to be one of the coolest birthdays I’ve ever had. I managed to get tickets for the Formula 1 race in Imola, only 1 hour away from Modena (how lucky!), which also falls to be my birthday! (double luck!). Of course I am in the land of some of the most luxurious car companies in the entire world, with brands such as Maserati, Lamborghini, Paghani, and of course, Ferrari.

I also happen to be living in the city where Enzo Ferrari, the creator of Ferrari, was born, and only 15 minutes away by bus to Maranello, the now headquarters of the car producer and to the Ferrari Formula 1 team, “la Scuderia Ferrari.” Therefore, I paid the visit a few days before the race to get in the mood. This town is Ferrari only the minute you step it. All shops, streets, and people are in red; you can see Ferrari themed cafes, luxurious car rental places, statues, and souvenir shops. Of course there is also the famous Ferrari museum, the circuit of Fiorano where the Formula 1 team trains, and the factory.

Once I got to Maranello, I went straight to the amazing museum where you can see Ferrari cars from the oldest to the newest, their construction process, history, and Formula 1 history. At the end, I bought a cap for the race, which I am very proud to own.

I had the amazing idea of taking a stroll around the city to see what it had to offer and somehow ended up in the circuit of Fiorano. For my surprise, while I was standing outside the gate, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari’s driver in Formula 1 came out in his car and waved at me! This might have been one of the coolest moments of the entire trip to Italy.

On Saturday the 23rd (my birthday), along with a group of other Erasmus Formula 1 enthusiasts, I went early morning to Imola where the race would be held. This practice day went amazing, although it was exhausting from walking almost the entire track. At the end of the day, my group of friends welcomed me back to Modena with a birthday surprise party! (thank you guys).

Race day on April 24 was quite stressful and exhausting. This time it was raining the entire time and we did not have sits for this event, but even though we were a little miserable, we still had a very good time. At the end we got to go in the track to see the awards ceremony, see the cars, drivers, and team very close up, and take pictures on track. I cherish this experience very much.

Lago di Como

April 16- During Easter brake, my Chilean friend and I decided to travel to Lago di Como, located in the northernmost region of Lombardy, right at the border with Switzerland . Set against the foot hill of the alps, this amazing lake has breathtaking views surrounded by small villages by the lake.

The trip took around 3 and a half hours, having to change trains in Milan. I once again, took the chance to take more pictures.

We first got to Varenna, the quickest way for us to get to Lake Como by train. This town is very small, but visited by thousands for its beautiful laid back culture, houses, music, food, and of course the spectacular view of the lake.

We then took a short ferry to Bellagio, a very elegant town with beautiful architecture and colorful gardens


On April 3, my friend Nicole (who goes to UMass Lowell and coincidentally studying in Barcelona) came to visit, and we made a fun day trip to Venice!

The trip took 3 hours from Modena, but once we got there we walked around almost the entire city (or islands?), ate delicious pastries and pasta for lunch, and I had the opportunity to take my camera out once again to capture some really cool shots of this amazing place. We end took a gondola! (which I must say is very overpriced, but I got very cool pictures so I don’t regret it at all)

Be advised, if you ever go to Venice, go during shoulder season because I can’t imagine this place during summer, take very comfortable shoes, water, A CHARGER (yes, I forgot my charger), and cash.


March 27- I have been living in Italy now for almost 2 months, 30 minutes away by train from Bologna the biggest city in Emilia-Romagna), but yet I have not visited the city. This deserved a tour around the city.

Along with my French friend Holly, we took a stroll around the famous “portici” of Bologna, the cover sidewalks that are just beautiful and fun to be in. We then got some arancini and gelati which felt great since the weather has finally started to get better! Here are some of the pictures:

Skiing in Folgaria!

On March 17, the Erasmus Student Organization took a group of us for an exciting 4 days skiing trip in Folgaria, in the northern Italian region Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol.

Safe to say this was my first ever skiing experience, but fortunately we had instructors who took us to speed from day one to learn the basics, and then quit using the baby slopes for a very scary, but enriching, adrenaline driven experience in the very big slopes.

At the end of each day, we would go for some well deserved après-ski with friends and international students from all around the world who are studying in different cities across Italy. Here are some of the best photos I could get when I was not struggling to survive:

Florence, Tuscany

On March 12, a group of my new Erasmus friends and I, visited Florence for the weekend. We got to stroll around visiting the famous Florence Cathedral, Palazzo Vecchio, Boboli Garden, Ponte Vecchio, and finish off at Piazzale Michelangelo, where we headed from to get a delicious pizza.

First Days in Modena!

February 11-14

Finally in Modena!

The Duomo of Modena

The first days in my new home for the next 5 months have gone relatively smoothly. Mainly I have tried to figure out my way through the streets of the historic city center, trying to comprehend Italian lifestyle, and trying to speak my way through restaurants, supermarkets, and coffee shops. Although difficult at first, I realize that Italians are very kind and take into consideration that you are not from town, therefore helping others struggling to speak the language find their way through. Every local who I have struck a conversation here has gotten very excited to know I have chosen their city as my destination to study and have at the same time recommended to do’s and not to do’s when it comes to Italian everyday life.

Winding streets in the city center of Modena

Probably one of the biggest culture shocks for me was the fact that in Italy there are different eating schedules. I figured out as the days passed that you cannot go out and eat your meals outside at any time you please. Breakfast usually comes anytime in the morning up to noon, followed by lunch which usually goes from noon to 2:30pm. After that, every restaurant closes for a few hours, and people go take the spanish version of the siesta, the ‘pisolino’. It is then followed by aperitivo, an afternoon activity meant to incentivize social interaction; aperitivo is accompanied often with a platter full of small snacks such as ham, fries, and small sandwiches, and you cannot say you had an aperitivo unless you had an aperol spriz, the well known Italian cocktail. Most Italians will have dinner after 8pm, and most restaurants will stay open late to serve it.

Tortelloni served with parmigiano reggiano and local made balsamic vinegar of Modena


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.