The land of coffee, pasta, pizza, lasagne, bread, cheese, gelato…

So it’s only really just occurred to me that I haven’t actually mentioned the idea of food much, and considering how much I love food – and the fact that I’m in Italy…

Well I don’t know where to begin, but in short: the food is absolutely amazing! To a certain extent, it’s somewhat different to the clichés available overseas – for example, the thought of having pineapple on a pizza is frowned upon, as well as ‘mochas’ referring to the little coffee pot (moka) used to make coffee instead of the name of coffee with added chocolate..?

But having tried more variants of pasta than one could ever imagine, I can now officially say that I’ve experienced Italian food, the authentic way. The day I first arrived, we went out for dinner at a pizzeria, and to my utmost surprise – the pizzas are HUGE.

Although I’ve always been the one who opts for an extra slice of pizza…the concept of ‘slices’ doesn’t exactly exist here. Everyone orders their own pizza, and they’re at least 1.5 times bigger than the ones you normally find in Sydney! So that night was just a bit awkward to say the least, given I felt full after a single slice – and only managed to finish half of it in the end. But over time (and practice), I can now finish one of these giant pizzas by myself in its entirety!

Spending last week in a completely different region of Italy was really interesting, in that we had the most incredible types of bread and cheese available everywhere. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of vegetables (yes, I use the term ‘vegetables’ loosely) like olives and fennel but when added to bread the Italian way, it’s actually so delicious! And the cheese…ah!

Moving onto dessert: proprio buonissima! Gelato, chocolate, nutella crêpes, strudel, tiramisu, struffoli, cannoli, panforte, pandoro, panettone, cheesecake, biscotti…the list goes on…

I’ve gotten to the stage where not having pasta for either lunch feels like something is missing; but I can’t say I’ll ever get used to having dinner so late ie 9:30pm sometimes! So while I’m having this incredible culinary adventure though, I must say it is DEFINITELY taking it’s toll elsewhere!

Buon appetito!

xxxxxxx

Serena

[Just a small snapshot of the amazing food! Ps the picture of the pizza by no means captures how enormous the plate actually was – trust me]

[Lunch]

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Una giornata bella

Today was surprisingly an extremely pleasant day! I guess it started off in a routinely fashion, but after having skyped one of the loveliest people you’ll ever meet (thanks, by the way) and going to the markets…it just got exponentially better.

So far, I’ve been to a few of the local markets and most of the stuff sold there is all pretty similar. Except for this one stall I saw at the very, very end today. It was SO exciting – and I seriously bought like the entire ‘bancarella’.

Lunch was even better than usual; but hey, I’m in Italy – it doesn’t really get much better than this anyway, and in the afternoon I went out with friends ‘in giro.’ It was a lot of fun, I ate the most AMAZING nutella crêpe in the world and just generally had a really enjoyable time. It’s been a good day!

Ci vediamo dopo!

xxxxxxx

Serena

[Mercatino di Genzano]

Firenze: the birthplace of the Renaissance

Since the last time I updated this blog, many exciting things and experiences have happened. Besides the changes in weather, I’ve been to a theatrical performance (all dialogue in Italian by the way), met the two other Australian exchange kids in the area, done a presentation on Australia – in which we may or may not have told everyone that we eat echidna, and after doing so, finish it off by using its spikes as a thrifty substitute for toothpicks haha – had a massive dinner party with unconscionable amounts of food, and finally been to Florence (with the exchange kids from Victoria!)

Again, like Rome – Florence is such a beautiful city! It was a completely new vibe with different monuments like the Ponte Vecchio over the scenic water views of the Arno River and Piazza della Signoria, but in general everywhere I go in Italy has been so amazing!

First off we explored the markets, and I finally had my first nutella crêpe in Italy! It was a bit weird though, even before we’d started speaking we’d been immediately spotted as foreigners in one of the market shops. When asked how they knew, we were told that besides obvious language hindrances and racial dissimilarities, it was our outward appearance that gave it away in terms of gestures, fashion, clothes and even the way we walk…what?! Well evidently this whole cultural immersion and integration thing only really works on a basic level haha!

We spent the most part of the day walking around and seeing the extraordinary city, but towards the end we had our highly anticipated hot chocolates in an apparently famous café on the Ponte Vecchio. Given it cost a dear 5,50 euros, it would only have made sense for it to be buonissima. Unfortunately it was anything but! It turned out to be a really bitter, dark chocolate fondue under the guise of ‘hot chocolate’, which was honestly way too intense to drink by itself. If it had come with about fifty strawberries, it would have been ideal – and that is the extent to how strong it actually was! Even though I only had a little bit, I felt a little lightheaded afterwards – and I can’t believe I’m saying this but – too much chocolate…

The three-hour roadtrip there and back was also an extremely fun part of the day. Sure, we did spent a lot of the time discussing the complexities of Italian grammar and phrases with the questions ‘come si dice..?’ and ‘che cosa significa..?’ repeated numerous times, but it was so lovely to have such enjoyable conversations about anything and everything with such a nice group of friends both Australian and Italian!

Today was a really exciting day and I definitely had a great time in Florence! Once we got back to Rome at around 11pm, it started snowing outside which was so amazing in itself! I’m absolutely loving Italy!

xxxxxxx

Serena

[Florence]

[Florentine markets]

[Piazza della Signoria]

[River Arno]

[Oh, and here’s one of me…finally!]