It's hard to believe that less than a week ago, I took my final exam for my Italian program, packed my suitcase, and hopped on a train to Roma to officially kick off the rest of my travels throughout Europe. The past 6 weeks in Ferrara have been transformative for me- I fell in love with a language, discovered a different way of life and a new culture, and I learned a thing or two about myself along the way. It's safe to say I am a changed human-being. During my last week in Ferrara, I began to realize all the things I loved about the town and how much I truly will miss it. The city as a whole is such a unique and vibrant place- I am convinced there is nothing else quite like it. I couldn't have studied Italian in a better place.
A few of my favorite things about Ferrara-
The liveliness- everyone is always out and about going places and doing things, there are always so many fun things going on in the center of the city, these people know how to enjoy life.
Walking and biking as a main mode of transportation- it's incredibly environmentally friendly and simply a healthier lifestyle. The Weather Channel would have weather alerts when there was a forecast of rain saying "Warning: Disruption due to Rain". Only in Ferrara.
The charming cobblestone Medieval Streets- they are just so dang cute.
The ancient wall surrounding the city wall- perfect for a bike ride, a early morning run, or a nice evening stroll.
The last several days of my time in Ferrara was spent doing my favorite things as well as exploring new places. Friday I whipped up an omelette for breakfast which I have to say is the most cooking I've done in a long time. Afterwards I headed to the big market that is held in the city center every friday. Marisa and I found the absolute cutest restaurant for lunch on what I determined to be my favorite street in Ferrara. I had Gnocchetti di Zucca (Pumpkin Gnocchi) with a butter and sage sauce. Now, I have not consumed butter in years- I have always avoided it and was slightly scared by it (I know, I am slightly crazy). Before this trip, I probably would have freaked out, worrying about how fatty the butter was, and felt guilty afterwards for eating it. However, after examining my dish with the pleasant smell of the melted butter with fresh sage, I realized that there was no reason not to enjoy it- it was freshly made with whole ingredients and thats the most important thing. Being here in Italy has definitely reevaluate the strictness of my diet. Before coming to Italy, I hardly touched cheese and wouldn't think of eating butter. Not that I will become a frequent butter and cheese consumer when I return to the States, but I want to continue to be more flexible and carry these realizations with me.
Saturday was spent doing more exploring, plus a stop at my favorite smoothie & juice place for lunch- Zazie (Oh, let's not forget studying for that exam, but that's not all too interesting). Saturday evening Marisa, Carina, and I met up for apertivo and had great conversation over a nice glass of wine with a few small appetizers. Sunday we had lunch at my favorite Trattoria Il Sorpasso which has vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.
In total, my final weekend in Ferrara was spent enjoying and experiencing the city and simply trying to really take in and absorb everything around me. The final Monday was spent mostly studying and Tuesday morning was my exam. It was a strange feeling walking out of the classroom on the other side of 6 weeks being in Italy. To commemorate being done, Marisa and I made a stop to get gelato and took one last pleasant bike ride around the wall of Ferrara, one of my favorite activities. That night, we had a farewell dinner, and said our goodbyes. The next morning, Marisa and I's host mom dropped us off at the train station and said our goodbyes. Next stop, Roma and beyond! Arrivederci Ferrara!