One of My Favorite Trips Yet: Milano & Lago Maggiore

One of My Favorite Trips Yet: Milano & Lago Maggiore

Although we are down to our final weeks abroad our Italian adventures still aren’t over. This past weekend I joined a group of 28 students from the John Felice Rome Center as we went on the last study trip of the semester to Northern Italy. This trip was a dream come true for our Student Life Assistant Jessica who studied in Milano in high school and has since wanted to take a group of students back to her favorite part of Italy. And she set us up with one of my favorite weekend trips of the semester.

We set out for Termini Station bright and early Friday morning and boarded a high speed train for Milano. We checked into our hotel first then set out for downtown. We made our way across the city center to eat lunch on the steps of the Duomo. This epic cathedral makes for a pretty nice picnic backdrop. We picnic-ed like true Italians and enjoyed panzerotti, these incredible “mini calzones” with a crust that tastes more like a doughnut and is filled with tomato sauce and cheese. Now that we were refueled we had a chance to tour the inside of the Duomo. This gothic style cathedral was very Notre Dame esq and is one of the only churches of this style in Italy. We got to climb up to the roof which allowed for beautiful views of the city and of the countless spires that make this building so intricate.

That afternoon we passed through the oldest mall in Europe, toured La Scala Opera House, and then either went shopping or on a church crawl. (I opted for the churches). After meeting back up with our group at the Duomo we all went out for dinner together for some tasty Milanese cuisine.

Saturday morning we went back to the train station and on to our next destination, Lago Maggiore. This massive lake is nestled in the Italian alps and has got to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my life. We stayed in the lakeside town of Stressa in a hotel that was right on the water. Shortly after arriving we hopped on a ferry to Isola Pescatore where we ate lunch. Then our ferry took us to the next island over, Isola Bella. This island is literally named “Beautiful Island” and that couldn’t have been more true. This entire island is actually a villa and gardens where I could’ve spent the whole day just soaking up the sun in those incredible gardens. But we took the ferry back to Stressa and enjoyed our evening exploring the town.

Sunday morning I made a point of getting up extra early to watch the sunrise over the lake. It was beyond worth it and one of my favorite parts of the weekend. The rest of the morning our group took a hike through the woods on the hills surrounding the lake. We ended up walking about 6 miles over to the next town, but on the way we got some incredible views of the lake and the mountains in the distance. (Thankfully though we took a ferry back to Stressa). Before getting back on the train to start our journey for Roma we enjoyed a bittersweet last group meal at a restaurant in Stressa.

This trip definitely made me fall in love with Northern Italy, so I hope that someday I get the chance to go back and experience it all over again. And I most certainly could not have asked for a better last weekend trip.

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