Cadrezzate and Mykonos

These last two weeks have been better. I guess i’m just getting use to being alone again in Milan..with just Sabrina, so things are going back to normal…:)

Last week Sabrina and I made a pilgrammage to our great grandfather’s hometown of Cadrezzate, near Lago Maggiore! Our great grandfather’s name was Luigi Piscia, and he and two his brothers, Andrea and Pietro, immigrated to Milford Massachusetts in the early 1920s. There they raised their own families and farmed and masoned.

Prior to getting to Cadrezzate, we werent really sure which house they lived in. My mom did some research and figured out the address, which we later ventured to. The town itself is very small, perched on a hill overlooking the mountains and Lago Maggiore…it’s quite pretty. It also has its own lake called Monate. The main piazza is tiny and the only church in town was built in the early 1900s. When we finally visited my greatgrandfather’s old house, which he and his family built, we were greeted by later generation of Piscias who stilled lived there! They were so nice and friendly. They showed us around the town, the old cemetary where two of Luigi’s brothers, (who had died in WW1) were buried, and where their father, my great great grandfather, Angelo Piscia was buried, next to his wife.


(far left is Luigi)


We then spent the afternoon back at the old home, where we all had lunch with wine,pizza, pasta, and an amazing pear cheese pie, followed by gelato. I am so thankful to have met some of my relatives, who were so warming and hospitable. We basically just showed up at the door, and they spent the whole day around us. They really are great people, who I’m proud to call family:)



This past week, Sabrina and I spent in Mykonos. The island is beautiful, and the Aegean Sea is so blue. We spent the 4 days there exploring the town, going to the beach, ATVing and shopping…oh and eating (greek deserts are the best) It was a very relaxing trip…and i believe i spent too much money on presents for myself and family:/!! Also the island is covered in cats haha. When we wwalked into the terminal there was a little black cat outside, and when we had gotten through security and were waiting at our gate, the same little black cat was meandering around the lounge area haha.IMG_2995 IMG_2985

Spring Break


After taking 2 weeks off of travel, Sabrina and I were so happy to have our parents come over to Italy and spend spring break with us!!! It felt like so long since I’d seen them. We spent the first day showing them around Milan and where we live. The next day we set off to see Cinque Terre, where we spent the next 4 or 5 days exlploring the colorful seaside towns of Monterosso, Levanto, Manarola, Vernazza, and Riomaggiore. We spent two days hiking between towns…the first between Levanto and Monterossa, and the second between Monterossa and Vernazza. I had a great time with them. I felt like a lot of the weight of traveling by yourself/with Sabrina, had been lifted. And it was great to finally have some good company too:) Sabrina and I didnt really make any friends since being here, unfortunately, and I dont know why…but it was so awesome to have some one else to talk to:D lol haha

The second half of the vacation we spend on Lago di Garda. My parents had seen my pictures of this area from earlier in our study abroad trip, and wanted to spend some time here. We ended up sending the rest of the trip at this location because of the good weather. We spent this part of the trip walking around the lake and town, biking, and sightseeing other towns on the lake. I really had a great time…and when it came down to say goodbye yesterday, i didnt keep my cool. Let’s just say i had to skip my first class because my eyes and face were so swollen from crying i looked horrible…and i was not in the mood to act out my role in our play.

I really have loved studying abroad, but i’ve found it so hard being this far from my family and friends. Even now, after 3 months, i often feel very lonely…and when i see cool places i wish these people were here with me. I  feel like sometimes im quite ready to go home…IMG_2391 IMG_2460 IMG_2501

French Riviera and Taormina, Sicily

Last weekend sabrina and i were suppose to travel to Rome, although when we arrived at central station and saw that the prices had escalated to like 85 euros/ person, we decided to ditch that idea. While we were scrolling around we saw that a ticket to nice, france was 30 euros ..and so instead of spending the weekend without plans, we jumped at this idea. A couple hours later we were on the train to france! The first day in the french riviera was overcast as with the next…actually in general the beginning of the trip didnt start out very good. The first night we were in a hostel…and we were happy to have the 6 bed room to ourselves. Around 1 or 2 in the morning some creepy ass dude comes in, and wakes us up and starts asking Sabrina and I about moving to America. At first i was like, oh he has a key, he must be a resident coming in late…but the more he kept talking the creepier and weirder he seemed. I was actually seriously scared, because it was just me and bree and this creepy dude. He kept asking sabrina and I if we would like him to stay in one of the beds in the room…and because obviously we knew there was something wrong with him we were like ” oh you might wwant to go to a different room where there’s more people to talk  to” . Also, we didnt want to get him mad by saying something like “please leave, because i’m scared youre going to murder us”so we tried to convince him to leave as smoothly as possibly. Finally he did leave, and i barely got any sleep that night because I thought he would come back, and i didnt know an y number to call in case he did. The next day we found out he wasnt a resident and he had made a copy of the key days ago when he had stayed there…0.0 (are you kidding me) and then the hostel owner was like “so, do you wanna stay  another night?” …………………………………………..yeah no, thanks.

So the next day i dont really feel like talking about…in summation we had to pay a terd of a train ticket douchebag man 70 euros because we didnt have a ticket…which we couldnt buy at the machine in teh station. “i dont know lloyd the french are assholes”

…lol i shouldnt say this because the next day we caught a ride-share to cassis, france from a really sweet woman who offered to bring us all the way to our hostel.


Cassis was really cool. we hiked the calanques, which are amost a white looking canyon lands, located on a bright blue sea. It really was a gorgeous place to hike. I’m hoping on bringing my parents back there and maybe seeing the french riviera again, because I dont think it was done justice with the few cloudy and rainy days with which we saw it.

cassis, france!IMG_1426 IMG_1429


I really, really, really liked sicily. The area isnt (in general) very touristy and it just seems like old italian. We probably went to the most touristy area, which still seemed like it had so much of it’s history and charm from decades past. The first day there we spend visitng isola bella, the little island right off the shore. Later that day we hiked to the top of the castle on the cliff overlooking the twon and sea. The views were spectacular. The next day we went up with a guide and 3 other women, and we hiked parts of mount etna (which is the second most active volcano in the world). This was a really cool experience. For lunch we went to a vinyard on the mountain and had apertivo (like olives, bread, sundried tomatoes, and cheeses) and wine tastings with about 5 differnt types of wine. I particularly liked a red sicilian wine made from teh grapes on mount etna…it was one of the later wines, and you know they all start tasting better the more you drink;) We finished the day by going to a cave…which was actually a giant lave tube. This too was also really cool.

When we got back to taormina, we walked to the grocery store, and on our way we stopped in the main piazza. from there you could see a small little patch off bright red lavaon the volcano!

The next day we spent chilling in taormina. We went swimming and exploring the beautiful waters right off the beach, which are very rocky and fully of colorfully striped fish. The water itself was still pretty cold so we didnt stay in too long, and for a good part of the afertoon we spend sunbathing on the beach.

In the end, i was sad to leave Sicily…there’s just something really special about this beautiful island with it’s volcano and sea and rolling green hills…


taormina, sicily…and hiking mount etna!

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Zermatt, Stresa, and Lecco

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This past weekend Sabrina and I went to Zermatt! We had a great time, but we never realized how effing expensive Switzerland is…lol We spent two days skiing and one day hiking. My skis for the first day( which i had rented) were too heavy so i couldnt turn very well…but the next day I got lighter ones, which were better…but i only want my skis from home! We tried to keep’ going out to eat’ to a minium, which is why there’s a nutella jar in one of my pictures. Although, the one night we went to dinner we went to this rustic, counrty looking restaurant. The owner (i think) looked like a bearded, old mountain man, and when he saw that Sabrina and I were exhausted looking he said “mude” (which means tired in german)…and I said “yes, very” and then he pulled out like two mini baked potatoes and gave them to us and then went about his business lol…odd, but much appreciated:D

Anyways we had a good time, and next weekend we’re gonna  go Foppolo…some resort in Italy. It’s an organized club trip and it’s not very expensive…yay.  Also the pictures of the lake and hiking, are from Lecco…which is a town on Lake Como with good hiking. The red head in one of the pictures is an Australian we met back at the hostel we stayed in Bergamo…(which is where she’s studying). The palm tree picture is of Stresa, on lago maggiore. We spent the day there, sunbathing on the fishing island. It was lovely.

Carnival and Venice

This past weekend sabrina and I left school early and caught a train to venice. We spent the day exploring the tiny maze of streets and crossing small bridges over the waterways, while wearing our masks of course:) I’m not much of a city person…ironic that i’m studying in Milan…haha but for a city, Venice is really cool! It’s so different from any where i’ve been before…and so beautiful. The water itself is a dark blue, green in the small canals, and light blue, just off the island… and numerous times we got lost in the many alleyways (which dont have names)…but it was all just part of the adventure.

We spent the night on Ledo island, and the next morning we scoured the nearby beach for the beautiful seashells littering the shore…which are now cleaned off and sitting on our apartment windowsill. Later that day we headed back to the main island and to San Marco piazza for the carnival events. On the way to the square we got caught in a parade of drunk costumed people, dancing along to the orchestra playing at the front of the line. For the rest of the day, we continued exploring…but because the weather had turned cold and windy, we ducked into an art museum…and then into a cafe. We finally finished the trip by buying a couple packages of fried carnival treats, and headed home on the train.

… also on a side note, we found a angelfish movie theater :D I miss watching movies… anyways on Sunday we saw “12 years a slave” which was really good. The theater has a lot of critically acclaimed movies, so we’ll be going back soon:)

….andddd…not this weekend, but the next, we’re gonna spend a few nights in Zermatt, and ski one day…YAY!


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This must be the place

This past Friday, Sabrina and I decided to escape the lousy Milanese weather, and headed for Verona. That night we arrived at our bnb…which was fine, but had the worst breakfast ever. Our host prepared the breakfast the night before in our room and covered it with seram (spelling?) wrap. The breakfast consisted of nasty ass bread with a bagged croissant that tasted worse than the croissant I had on my plane to Italy lol.

Anyways, the next moring we headed into the town of Verona. The weather was beautiful. It felt like spring…which is my favorite season:D We first ventured up to San Pietro Castle on the crest of the hill above the city and river. We sat for a good while on a wall, watching the river flow by.  We then headed back into town and stopped at Juliet’s Balcony…which I didn’t really care for…but not because it wasn’t interesting. The site itself was actually really cool…but it just seemed overly commercialized, which, in my eyes, lost some of it’s charm. After seeing the balcony, we walked to the arena and people watched on a nearby bench. (Haha) Sabrina and I are good at just sitting, and relaxing in a pretty spot, taking it all in. Finally, it was time to have late lunch/early dinner:D We generally try to stick to buying only smallish snack-like food, and not paying for a big meal, but we needed it…splurgy splurge;) So we had seafood pasta with wine. Afterwards, and with a little buzz, we caught our bus to Riva del Garda, on lake Garda. The sun went down, and it began to rain while we were on the bus. I guess it was maybe the combination of that and other things, but i has eh sad moment:(  I don’t know, I just began to miss everyone from home, and even with Sabrina sitting next to me, I felt really lonely.

The next morning was better, though. Sabrina and I had an awesome breakfast, which made up for breakfast the day before! I quickly glanced in my lonely planet Italy book and saw that like 10 minutes away there was a waterfall. So… i suggested to Sabrina that we should go, and she was game. The waterfall itself is tucked in a cavern 100 meters high and quite narrow. At first we could just hear the falls, and see milky blue water passing below the little bridge that wound it’s way into the cave. As we got closer, we started to get wet with the spray from the falls. By the time we reached the lower part of the falls…as close as the walk way would take us…we had become drenched and roaring echoes filled our ears from the sounds of pounding water. I wanted to get some pictures closer to the waterfall, but I didnt want to soak my camera. We came out of the cavern, and walked up the hill where there was another entrance into the falls…this one about mid-way up the waterfall…which I think was a manmade entryway carved from the rock. This part was even louder, and we couldn’t get too close to the falls because of the whipping wind and water. By the time we came out into the sunshine, our faces were dripping and we were glad we hadn’t put much make up on, that morning.


So, we made our way from the falls back down to the lake itself. The mist began to rise, and appearing around us were towering rock cliffs and mountains. In the distance we could see the lake with snow capped peaks around it. Excited, we quickly made our way to the lake. Although, the walk there was really cool, too, because growing in this mountainous, snowy region were tons of olive and chestnut trees, and orange and lemon as well. Also, palm trees lined the roads…which made the area that much more unique. Sabrina tried to pick an orange, but it was too high, and we didn’t want to draw too much attention lol. Also, I tried a raw chestnut which tasted like godawful…which I should I have known. When in Rome, right?;)

We finally reached the lake, which was spectacular. We had plans to head south into the other towns, but we ended up just sitting on the rocks lining the shore, basking in the sun and eating food we had stashed from breakfast. I played some music (hence the title), and we relaxed for a long time. It was so beautiful, it makes me mad that my pictures don’t do it justice. Everytime I looked up at the mountains, or the shear cliffs to my right, or at the beautiful clear blue water, I thought the landscape had become prettier and prettier. It amazed me how beautiful it was…and numerous times Sabrina said “it’s what you picture heaven to look like”. I can’t wait to take my parents here again when they come visit it April!!!



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Riva del Garda, Lake GardaIMG_0264 IMG_0180 IMG_0219


Last Saturday and Sunday, Sabrina and I traveled to Bergamo, a small town located in the foothills of the Alps, about an hour east of Milan. The first day we arrived it was really cloudy and drizzly, so a lot the views from the upper and older city were obscured. Although, we still had a good time walking around and exploring the old city. That same night we went to a chocolate festival, which was really cool. Some vendors had chocolate hardened into various shapes like a toy gun, dentures, toothbrush, and an iPhone case. Sabrina and I both got white melted chocolate mixed with milk chocolate…which was to die for. We headed back to the hostel and met some cool Austrialian girls, who we were rooming with…and one whom Sabrina and I are still in contact with…(hopefully to get together again). Anyways, the next day cleared up and we went to the highest point of the old city, where lay a castle called, “San Viglio”. The views were really amazing. Later, we met up with the Aussies and got a late lunch and shared a bottle of wine… weird to say since I’m 19;) Overall, Bellissimo!


IMG_9714 IMG_9749view from San Viglio

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IMG_9705 Streets of lower city Bergamo

First Few Days

We arrived in Milan on Monday morning. Suprisingly, Sabrina, my twin sister, and I, were able to navigate the airports and catch a bus and taxi to our apartment. Prior to this part of the trip, I was really nervous because I had never done any of these things without my parents…so when we arrived at Via Pasquel Sottocorno (street of our apartment) I was so relieved!

The first day, we spent sleeping away the afternoon. That night our landlord took us to the square in front of La Scala, the famous opera house in Milan, to hear a music performance.  The walk there was really cool. We passed the Duomo and through the Galleria. The streets were busy with vendors selling chestnuts (which look delicious) and these unusual toys that were sling-shotted into the air and when they fell, they spun to the ground….kinda like helicopter seeds…and changed from blue to green, which looked really cool!

The performance itself was amazing! The doors opened from the La Scala onto the square, emanating loud classical music from within. The sound echoed off the walls of the surrounding buildings to create an almost surreal scene. Renata, my landlord, said this was a special performance, occuring only for the third time in 300 years. The purpose was to commemorate Claudio Abbado, a famous composer who died earlier this January. The last commeration like this one was for Giuseppe Verdi, another composer, who died in 1901.

The past few days we’ve spent walking around the city, visiting the Duomo, stopping in cafes, and visiting our school (Universita Cattolica Sacre Cuore). We quickly found that very few people speak good English. Communication is really difficult and simply tasks like buying a croissant and finding a building (even with a smart phone) can be hard. At times I feel very discouraged. We still haven’t exchanged most of our US dollars we took out when we were in the States, figuring that it would be less expensive to exchange them for euros in Italy then in Virginia. The two places we know for certain that will make the exchange have a really steep fee. For $100 US dollars we would get back 48 euros. So…. that’s been one of the big issues. Also we’ve tried withdrawing cash with our credit cards, but this is impossible too, because most ATMs (known as Bancomats in Italy) require a 4 digit pin…which our credit card company is now sending to my mom…but it would have been nice to know earlier that YOU NEED A PIN TO GET ANY MONEY OUT IN ITALY!!! Also, the transportation system and phones (Sabrina switched to Vodafone) have been a hassle. Although, thankfully both my parents have been really helpful through this whole situation, sending Sabrina and I weblinks and making phone calls to companies like capital one, to try to figure some of this stuff out. Hopefully with time everything will fall into place, and we’ll start to get the hang of it. Also, when school starts on Tuesday, Febuary 4th, it will be nice to have some other English speakers to talk to.