For the first time since we’ve moved abroad, we were both off on New Year’s and the weekend before, so we decided to get off campus and celebrate properly somewhere; the question was where.
As usual, we let Skyscanner decide and the cheapest flights outside of Turkey were to Bologna. The times were perfect and the price was right, but we wondered if perhaps we shouldn’t look elsewhere because we had already been to Italy twice before and there are so many places nearby we haven’t seen yet.
But c’mon. It’s Italy.
The more we talked about it, the more I loved the idea of wandering through narrow streets, eating amazing food, and drinking good wine. After all, since we had already done the whole tourist thing a couple of times, we figured there would be no pressure to check off a list of sights to see and places to go; we could simply sit back and enjoy la bella vita.
We rented an adorable apartment from Airbnb (If you haven’t tried it yet, you should! You can get $23 off your first stay here.) and hung out like the locals for a few days. Of course, we did some sightseeing, but we also balanced that with trips to the local cafes for cappuccino or aperitivo (wine and appetizers) or strolling through the streets and window shopping. We even went to a local grocery store one night and bought all kinds of tasty ingredients to see if we could make our own delicious Italian dinner since our apartment had a kitchen – it was one of the highlights of the trip for me!
Once New Year’s Eve rolled around, we were ready to go out and see the annual fire in Piazza Maggiore. Yes, fire. They spend the days leading up to New Year’s building a paper sculpture in the middle of the square, and at exactly midnight on New Year’s Eve, they light it on fire and everyone watches it burn. It was incredibly strange and incredibly awesome all at the same time.
Moral of the story: Italy is always a good idea.