On Friday, November 9, Copenhagen had the pleasure of receiving Mia’s parents, Paul and Andrea Savoca. Along with Mia, they are literally the sweetest humans on the planet, and they let me tag along on Saturday to see ome of our lovely city of Copenhagen.
Mia’s first Danish!
Mia & I with our Danishes (I know that’s not actually what they are called here but I can’t help it)
Paul, Mia, & Andrea at the lake at Christiania. Love them!
Our return to Nyhavn, still one of my favorite parts of Copenhagen!
During this day around Copenhagen, I got to participate in showing Mia’s parents all the places I would have liked to show mine. You’ve seen them throughout my blog as I’ve visited them (Nyhavn, the Glass Market, my house, the lakes, Parliament/Christiansborg Castle, etc.) but it was cool to show Mia’s parents in person. They also got to observe all the little things you can’t capture with a picture, like the guttural language, fast bikers, cobblestone streets, and windy grey weather. Most of all, they experienced the charm of Copenhagen that has made me fall in love with this city.
At dinner that night, we were casually chatting when Paul suddenly said, “Bri, why don’t you just come to Italy?” Mia was equally as shocked as I was, and at first we didn’t take it seriously. But, five hours later, I had tickets to and from Italy!!
I spent all of Sunday in bed with a stomachache, while Mia and the fam spent the day in Malmo, Sweden.
Monday started the trip! We flew into Fiumicino, Rome, and drove directly to Perugia, a few hours north of Rome. Being in a car was actually mindblowing for me, and surprisingly soothing. We enjoyed the ride to the 13TH CENTURY CASTLE THAT WE STAYED IN (the Savocas seriously know how to travel!), and later drove to a restaurant where we had an amazing culinary experience.
Seriously, for real, castle.
I finally found my knight in shining armor!
The view from our window, of the terrace and the Italian countryside beyond.
view from the terrace
Best tortelloni I’ve ever had, complete with mushroom pecorino sauce.
My eggplant parm. Delish!
Paul’s octopus, which I tried and actually kind of liked!
Such a great look for Paul, reminds me of my dad eating lobster.
Mia’s pasta, made with octopus ink. It tasted really good but the color just looked so strange!
The next day, Tuesday, we made the most of our location and toured the world-famous Perugina chocolate factory, known for Baci chocolate hazelnut kisses! We saw the production of Baci and some of the other chocolates that the factory makes, AND GOT A FREE TASTING ROOM! YESSS.
fooling around with my head in the trademark Baci kiss logo
Baci white and Baci! Love them both!
Promise I didn’t eat all of these, but honestly I probably could have if you gave me a few hours. So yummy.
Post-chocolate food coma, we explored the Italian countryside some more. The first place we stopped was Deruta, famous for its hand-painted ceramics, and Assisi, known for St. Frances of Assisi.
ceramic electric guitar (BEN!!) made strictly in Deruta, nowhere else in the world
Church of St. Frances Assisi. Pretty sure he’s buried in there under the altar.
I would just like to note that Assisi is one huge hill, which makes for gorgeous views BUT a LOT of walking uphill! We definitely walked off that chocolate!!
Tuesday night we drove to Rome and checked into our hotel, Hotel Villa San Pio. At this point in the trip, I basically picked up a glass of Prosecco and a fork, and never put them down for the rest of the journey. NO REGRETS, but this week the jeans are a little tighter! (EuroDiet was not in effect on vacation.)
Wednesday began with a visit to the Vatican to hear Pope Benedict XVI’s weekly address to the public. The thing is, he spoke Italian… but thankfully, Mia’s dad is fluent in Italian so he translated. SO INTERESTING: He spoke about St. Augustine, and Veritas, Unitas, Caritas, which is literally Villanova in a nutshell. We are an Augustinian university, and Veritas Unitas Caritas is part of our University Seal as well as our core values!
Pope Benedict XVI
For the rest of the week, we basically just walked around Rome, revisiting the Colosseum (of course, since I’m obsessed) and other sites. We took the Scavi tour of the underground cemetery beneath the Vatican/St. Peter’s Basilica where St. Peter’s bones can still be seen today. Inside the Basilica is super cool and intricately designed, and the remains of past Popes can be visited as well. We also went to Piazza Navona, Campo di Fiori, an Italian opera (my first, and probably last, opera ever), and the Spanish Steps. Aside from that, we had great food and, of course, more Prosecco!
view of Rome over the Palatine Hill (the Colosseum is in the back)
Saw this right before the Scavi tour, super creepy as I’m about to descend into the depths of Rome
- Mia took this artsy photo of the Colosseum, so proud of her skillz
Prosecco at the hotel courtyard
XTINA THEY MAKE SURE TO ACCOMODATE YOU IN ITALY
St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, the Scavi tour was under there!
Dad, orange trees AT MY HOTEL
These are posters for the strikes that took place all week. One even got violent.
before the Scavi tour, with friends of the Savocas who recently moved to Rome
The Tiber river was the highest it’s EVER been… Those are treetops. Covered.
Getting adventurous trying some meat (after a mostly-vegetarian semester)
On Friday, we did the most Italian thing I have done in Italy: we took a pizza-making class!!
People who know me know that I am a pizza snob, but this has taken my judgement criteria to a whole new level! I will never be the same again after this delicious experience.
The next day, Saturday, we said a sad goodbye in the airport and went our separate ways. For the last time, I flew back to Copenhagen.
I cannot express how thankful I am to Mia and her wonderful parents. ADOPTED FAM, YOU ARE THE BEST!! This trip was fun, exciting, and refreshing. I am so glad to have you as my adopted family. I will never forget this amazing vacation.