Day-Trip to Verona: (October 7, 2018)

Estimated travel time from Modena by train:
(Verona Porta Nuova) about 2hours and 15min
Estimated ticket price: Starting from €9.05 – €30.00

Being a member of the ESN Modena – Erasmus Student Network (Modena), I am able to attend many of the organized events that they plan throughout the year. One of these events was a day trip to Verona with a guided tour from ESN Verona and a typical meal from the area.

Arriving in Verona, at first there really is not much of anything to see. We all gathered in front of the train station and the event organizers lead the way to the main part of the city. In total it was about a 20 minute walk to arrive to the Verona Arena. Once we got closer to our destination, I could really see the beauty and charm of the city coming to life once we got into Piazza Brà.

Our first stop was the Arena di Verona. It is a very large amphitheater still currently used for events held in the city such as concerts and theatrical performances. Because it was the first Sunday of the month, the entrance fee into the amphitheater was only €1. It was really cool to be able to look inside the Arena. It was very big and it is easy to see all the age and history that it holds. It’s tremendous presence alone is felt as soon as you see it.

We spent a good amount of time roaming around the inside of the Arena di Verona. Afterwards, we went to a small restaurant for a traditional meal. It was a risotto made with cinnamon and bits of mushroom along with a glass of wine. I personally never had risotto before and so trying this meal was a first for me. It tasted much better than it sounded and quite different from what I am used to eating. Sitting around a large table with new Erasmus friends and ESN coordinators was very enjoyable. As we ate the traditional meal in Verona, we chatted about what the typical meals from our own countries were and what foods we were good at preparing. The photo bellow is from that lunch we had all together.

After lunch we returned to the Arena to meet up with ESN Verona and begin our city tour! They took us around to see many sites including the statue of Juliet and the balcony. It was super crowded and and I had to make my way through a small archway with walls filled with writing of love, names, and hearts, just to get into the tiny courtyard. You are allowed to go up on the balcony but you have to pay to go inside. Large groups of people surrounded Juliet’s statue to get a chance to rub her right breast for a change of luck in their love life. It is a bit over rated but I do believe it is worth seeing at least once in your life if you find it to your interest.

The rest of the city itself has a lot of character and charm. I did not know what to expect upon my visit to Verona but with its unique history, food, and views, I found the city of love capturing my heart. There was so much more that I wasn’t able to photograph. I personally want to return here very soon to take a slower walk around the city and really take in and enjoy everything it has to offer.



Day-Trip to Parma: (October 6, 2018)

Estimated travel time from Modena by train: about 30min
Estimated ticket price: starting from €5.40 – €10.00

Traveling to Parma was one of my first day trips that I took in Italy. It was a relatively close distance from Modena and one of my new Erasmus friends had invited me to go with her.

I was a bit nervous seeing as I didn’t quite understand the train system yet. Figuring out how to get to the train station from my apartment in Modena was also a bit confusing as I was still figuring out the city layout. It took me about 20-25 minutes to find my way to the train station the first couple times.

Upon arrival in Parma, the first thing you see out from the station is a large statue of Italian explorer Vittorio Bottego on a dirt mountain and in the center with a native american person on each side of him, on their own smaller mountains.

Walking deeper into the city, we saw was the outside of Galleria nazionale di Parma. right next to that is the Palazzo della Pilotta but it seemed the area was under construction or renovation so I was not able to go and see it. So instead we decided to find il Cattedrale di Parma. On our way there, we came across the Monumento ai caduti, a bell tower dedicated to the soldiers who have died in war. It is a beautiful tower and definitely worth a look at.

I have to say, the Cattedrale di Parma, was and still is one of my favorite churches that I have ever visited. The inside was very beautiful and ornate and I appreciate the layout and beautiful artwork all throughout. Right next door to the Cattedrale is the Baptistery of Parma and behind the Cattedrale di Parma is the San Giovanni Evangelista. Although I did not go inside either of those two, they both have a gorgeous facade that is enough to WOW you without having to pay an entrance fee.

The rest of the afternoon I spent roaming around the city looking for anything else we might find. In search for food we stumbled upon the Basilica Santa Maria della Steccata which was not open for us to see inside unfortunately and next to it is the Monumento al Parmigianino. On our way back to the train station we also managed to find the Giuseppe Garibaldi Monument which, if it hadn’t been for the rain, we would have tried to spend a little more time looking at. All in all, it was a really lovely day trip and I feel that It was definitely worth going to see.