One Last Adventure In Torino

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Hello!

After flying back to the US and getting back in the swing of life in California, I have completely fallen behind on my last couple blog posts from my summer abroad! So to catch up where I left off..

After me and my dad flew back to Torino from Croatia, we had one more full day left in Italy until we were scheduled to fly home. We decided to take a train about 30 minutes out of Torino to an incredible monastery on top of a mountain known as Saint Michael’s Abbey. The grueling hike to the top of the mountain took an hour and a half. After we reached the top we met a new friend named Fillipo. Meeting Filipo was the highlight of our day. He loved practicing his English with me and my dad so he gave us a personal tour of the monastery and another castle down the hill. He shared  history behind the building and all kinds of fun random facts about living in Torino. Meeting Fillipo is a memory I will never forget!

IMG_4513{The beginnging of our climb}
IMG_4428{Trails}IMG_4439{Absolutely incredible views!}IMG_4434 {Ruins of the monastary}IMG_4457{One last adventure in Torino}IMG_4466{One last adventure in Torino}
IMG_4472{Zodiac Arch}IMG_4444{Saint Michael’s Abbey}IMG_4460 {Wanderlust}IMG_4471 {Zodiac Arch}IMGP0401{My Dad and I}IMG_4481{Butterfly arches}IMG_4487{The ruins of St. Michaels Abbey}IMG_4494{My dad and Fillipo pointing to where we will visit next time we visit!}IMG_4505{St. Micheal’s Abbey}IMGP0409

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Weekly Highlights

IMG_5968{Discovering new places to explore around the city}

June went by in a blur! I cannot believe I have already been living in Torino for seven weeks! It has been so fun for me to document my travel experiences here on my blog. It really puts the big and little moments into perspective for me. I have decided to start a weekly highlights section here to show more of the day to day things I do here in Torino (which will most likely be a lot of pictures of pasta and gelato). Here are some highlights from the first week of July:

IMG_5925{Matching my wines to my accessories 😉 }IMG_5183{The closest thing to the fourth of July I will have here! Fireworks to celebrate the Patron Saint of Torino, San Giovani}IMG_2827{Getting cappuccinos at my favorite cafe downtown}IMG_6045{Getting Aperitivo in Piazza Victorio}

*Apertivo: all you can eat appetizers, all for the price of one alcoholic drink. This is a concept that america needs to get ASAP.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset{Wandering the streets of Giorgio Bidone}

IMG_5962{A gelato a day 🙂 }IMG_5977{Our favorite restaurant in Torino: Pasta E Basta}IMG_5951{A night out with my new roommates for session two: Taylor, Rachel, and Billie!}

Exploring Florence

IMG_2517{The view of the Duomo from the top of the bell tower)

Exploring Florence was amazing.. Do I need to say more?

Our first full day in Florence was spent wandering around, discovering the San Lorenzo leather market, and eating gelato before our guided tour of the Tuscany region. We had a blast at the leather market! They had a huge selection of leather purses, wallets and accessories for great prices! My favorite part of my trip was practicing my bartering skills. The key is to act like you really don’t care for it at all and just when you’re about to leave they will offer you a price you can’t refuse! That’s how I snatched up some of my best items: I bought a great black leather bag with the Florentine symbol and a grey floppy hat, which I haven’t taken off since!

Saturday afternoon we bought tickets for the “Taste of Tuscany Tour.” It was a tour that had great reviews on Trip Advisor and it was a wonderful experience! We visited 2 different towns inside the Tuscan region with about 14 other travelers from all around the world. We endured beautiful, yet an insanely scary car ride from the medieval town of Monteriggioni to a winery in the Chianti region to the quaint town of Siena. We stopped at each city, learned a little bit about the history and were free to explore! We ended our tour with a home cooked meal by an Italian named Johnny. It was incredible! It might have been the best pasta I have had on this trip 🙂

Our final day in Florence was spent visiting the David. It is mind-blowing to me that Michelangelo carved the David sculpture from ONE piece of marble. Seriously amazing. Afterwards we climbed to the top of the Duomo (one of the most important churches in Florence) where I have about a hundred photos overlooking the whole city! We spent the rest of the day wandering the city, enjoying the food, and seeing all of the main attractions Florence had to offer.

Side Note: Session 1 of my summer abroad has officially ended! I cannot believe 5 weeks flew by so fast! I am so grateful to have met so many amazing people from all over the world and have had the opportunity to travel and grow with them these past weeks. I will miss my Session 1 family so much, but like everything else in life, it’s not a goodbye, it’s an ”I’ll see you later.” (A trip to Las Vegas is already in the works! J) Tomorrow morning I leave for 5 days in Ireland with my close friend, and roommate Nicole for a weeklong adventure. Ariverdeci 🙂

IMG_2503{Views of Florence from the bell tower!}IMG_2337{The front of the Florence Cathedral}IMG_2348{Exploring the medieval town of Monteriggioni} IMG_2383{Chianti Classico}IMG_2362{Barrels on Barrels on Barrels!}IMG_2389{Welcome to Siena!}IMG_2410{Siena has a flag for everything- births, deaths, regions,  you name it}IMG_2433{Dinner at Johnny’s}{Side note: Johnny also makes homemade Limoncello!}IMG_2442{Still dreaming of this mountain of spaghetti}IMG_2463{The infamous David!}IMG_5411{Don’t let the signs fool you- selfies with David are totally allowed!}IMG_2478{Inside the Galleria dell’Accademia}IMG_2495{Me, Nicole and Kelly}IMG_2542{Ponte Vecchio}IMG_2547{Basilica of Santa Croce}IMG_2534{Pasta for lunch again..  How am I not 500 pounds yet!?}IMG_5489{I don’t think I will ever get tired of Gelato}IMG_2314{Firenze at night}

Hiking The Cinque Terre

IMG_4419{Cinque Terre}

Saturday morning we woke up early to hike the infamous Cinque Terre! We purchased a 1-day “Cinque Terre” National Park card (10 Euros) at the Levanto train station, which enabled us to take an unlimited amount of train journeys along the stretch of the Cinque Terre for 24 hours. The card also gave us access to the hiking trails connecting each of the towns. Only one of the four trails was open, so we started at the last village Riomaggiore and worked our way backwards taking the train to each of the villages. We visited all 5 of the villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. From Vernazza we hiked to Monterosso. The trail was steep with hundreds of stairs, and the weather was abnormally hot and humid. It was a struggle but an hour and a half later, the 8 of us finally made it! The hike was my favorite part of the weekend. When we finally reached Monterosso we got drinks and pizza, checked out the shops, and laid on the beach looking for sea glass. I have never felt so surrounded by beauty before.

It was a wonderful day with an awesome  group of girls. When we were sitting on the beach it started to rain, and then it started to pour and then it started to thunder and lightening! We found refuge in a restaurant close by, where we ate another delicious sea food meal. Afterwards we were forced to sprint in the pouring rain to catch our train- meanwhile almost getting hit by a car and twerking on various buildings we finally reached our home in Levanto at Midnight. It was a night to remember and a day I will never forget.

All 5 of the towns of the Cinque Terre were so picturesque and perfect. I think it has been my favorite place I have visited so far. One day when I come back to vacation in Italy, I hope to visit the Cinque Terre again and hike all 5 of the trails!

CIAO. xoxo

IMG_4226{1-day Cinque Terre National Park card}IMG_1896{I wouldn’t mind living in that red house..}IMG_1898{The perfect fisherman’s village}IMG_4517{Adventuring in Riomaggiore}IMG_4232{Manarola}IMG_1931{Perspective}IMG_1927{Posin’ with Manarola}
IMG_1938{Backpackin’}
IMG_1944{The Group! Melissa, Kelly, Lauren, Lauren, Erica, Nicole, Me, Bree}IMG_4254{Vernazza}IMG_4265{Our journey began here!}IMG_4272{Vernazza- even more perfect in person}IMG_4278{L O V E}IMG_4280{Taking a pit stop}IMG_4292{Views from our hike}IMG_4304{Ciao Monterossa!}10402884_10204153816790108_1371057990937841811_n{We made it!}IMG_4311{The private beaches here look so dreamy}
IMG_4314{Well deserved pizza snack}IMG_4317{Wedding in Monterossa}IMG_4325{The calm before the storm}IMG_4335{Searching for sea glass}

Italian Riveria Part 2

IMG_1758{PORTOFINO}

The next morning we took a boat to Portofino. Portofino is another gorgeous little ocean town, which is one of the most exclusive harbors for the elite and VIP of Italy. The harbor was filled with insanely huge yachts and sailboats. I was determined to find a way to get onto the Mary Jean- the huge yacht in the harbor! (sadly that did not happen). We hiked up to a local castle named San Giorgio (in sandals might I add), where we enjoyed a breathtaking view of the harbor and surrounding area. Afterwards we shopped around at all of the touristy shops and ate a gelato snack, which was the perfect way to cool off from a hot day.

We took the boat back to Santa Margherita, grabbed our backpacks, and caught a train from Santa Margherita to Levanto. Levanto is a small beach town (which reminded me a lot of Capitola in Santa Cruz) located before the first village of the Cinque Terre. Nine of us girls shared an apartment right in the center of the city! (airbnb.com is seriously amazing) The apartment was spacious, modern and it had everything we needed. It was also was only 3 blocks from the beach which was perfect! We spent  the rest of the day relaxing on the beach and swimming until dinner time.  For dinner we ate at a delicious sea food restaurant a block away from our apartment. We all ordered wine and cheersed to a good night! We walked back to the beach afterwards and met some local Italians who were playing American music. However I decided to adventure off and tried to take a selfie with Nicole on a life guard tower and my hand literally got hooked on a fishing hook. I tried to rip it out but that wasn’t working so Nicole luckily found a life guard and he helped me out or in my more dramatic words of the night “saved my life” haha. #selfiecasualities

IMG_1780{Hike up to the Castello San Giorgio}IMG_1766{breathtaking view of the harbor}IMG_1779{Embracing my inner ballerina around the cliffside}IMG_1785{1 of Dolce and Gabanna’s 3 mansions in Portofino!}IMG_4169{holy yachts!}IMG_1783{We finally made it!}{Yacht Club}IMG_1757{my favorite part of the city was the colorful buildings!}{Wishing I would have brought a bathing suit..}{Marina of Portofino}IMG_1760{Gorgeous harbor and buildings all around}IMG_1852{The boat we took from Santa Margherita to Portofino}IMG_1840{Me and my roommates for the weekend: Nicole and Lauren}IMG_1866{Hopping on the train from Santa Margherita to Levanto}

Italian Riveria Part 1

IMG_1632{Hello Geona!}

Thursday morning we left for a weekend of sightseeing in the Italian Riveria! We met at our University at 8:15 in the morning and took a bus to the city of Genoa, which was about 2 hours away. We arrived at Genoa’s ancient port area where we were guided on a walking tour of the city. Fun Fact: did you know that Christopher Columbus was actually from Genoa and not from Spain?! Our history books and teachers have been wrong this whole time. Apparently these Genoan people have a document that Christopher Columbus signed saying he is Genoan.. Mind blown. Anyways, we toured a beautiful church and got the chance to take a ride up in a panoramic elevator with incredible 360-degree views of the city.

Afterwards, we stepped back onto the bus and drove to a town called Santa Margherita Ligure. I didn’t even know such beautiful places existed! Santa Margherita is a gorgeous little beach town filled with shops, private beaches, and colorful buildings. We took a walk around the downtown area and visited a lovely viewing area from the gardens of Villa Durazzo; which was located on top of a hill, over looking the entire town and port area. We checked into the hotel USAC set us up in and my roommates for the night, Lauren, Nicole and I headed to the beach almost immediately afterwards! We laid on the rocky beach, swam in the crystal clear water and soaked up the warm, Italian sun for the remainder of the day.

I can’t wait to show you guys what else I have been up to this past weekend! Arrivederci! 🙂

IMG_1616{San Lorenzo Cathedral}IMG_1644{Panoramic Elevator}IMG_1653{Santa Margherita Ligure}IMG_1650{Santa Margherita.. could you be any more gorgeous?}IMG_1662{Jesus throwing up the peace sign}IMG_1654{San Giacomo di Corte}IMG_1661{Loved that the whole church was filled with chandeliers!}IMG_1667{Gardens of Villa Durazzo}IMG_1673{View of the port and city}IMG_4121{ITALIA}IMG_1721{Me and my roommate Nicole!}IMG_4134{On a mission to find this wine!}

Caffé Al Bicerin

IMG_3765{Caffé Al Bicerin}

Buongiorno friends!

 After my International Marketing class ended at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, one of our USAC advisors took us to one of the oldest cafés in Italy: Caffé Al Bicerin. Our advisor told us that the building the café is now in is an original structure built by the Romans in the 1st century!! Woah. The café would later be founded in 1763 and all of the interiors are still in their original form. The café is small but it is still gorgeous and a popular spot for locals till this day. We got the chance to drink ‘Bicerin’ which is what the café became famous for serving. Bicerin consists of coffee, chocolate, milk and it is delicious! Bicerin is also a small glass without handles which the drink is served in- hence how it got the name. This is just another reason why I love USAC, they take you to all of these little places throughout the city where you probably wouldn’t have thought to go to on your own!

P.S. They are taking us to the Italian Riveria this weekend! I can hardly wait!

Ciao for now 🙂


IMG_3755{The adorable little chocolate shop next door}{Bicerin}IMG_3780{Bicerin would be even more delicious not on a 90 degree day!}IMG_3783{EATLY for dinner. Their Pesto Pasta is my new favorite!}