Reflections on Italy by Olivia Soccio

Currently I am about halfway done with my program in Milan and it finally feels like home. I have adjusted to some of the culture changes such as daily attire, eating times, public transportation and my classes. I really love Milan because there is always events happening and it truly is a metropolitan city yet has that European charm. So far for events there has been Milan Fashion Week, Milan Wine Festival, and Milan Chocolate Festival. I had the opportunity during fashion week to visit a pop up Louis Vuitton time capsule museum.

One of my favorite weekends so far has been one of the IES field trips to Tuscany which included trips to Siena, Pisa, and San Gimignano. I was able to bond with my classmates and got to experience the rich culture of the Tuscany region. We had a guided tour of Siena on the first day and then the second day we had free time in the picturesque town of San Gimignano which is truly a hidden gem. Located about 45 minutes away from the Siena center, it is a tiny town on a hill that over looks the rolling Tuscan hills and is not a typical tourist destination. We had a group lunch at a local wine vineyard where we got to see how they grow the grapes and produce the wine. On the last day we had a guided tour of Pisa learning about the town’s history and of course I took the cheesy photo of me holding the leaning tower. After spending about 5 hours in Pisa we traveled 4 hours back to Milan. I have really enjoyed spending weekends traveling to other countries and seeing new places but I love being able to explore different parts of my host country which I have done for about 3 weekends and I definitely recommend that to any future study abroad student. 

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