Language Exchange Homestay, LEH-Italy

An Adventurous Start to the New Year in Italy

By Alison Mariel, Greenheart Travel Language Exchange Homestay in Italy

So much has happened since my last post! But I will try to highlight the most memorable events.

On January 31st, we celebrated “La Giobia”, meaning there is a huge gathering of family and friends, delicious dinner and wine, a huge bonfire and a lot of fun. The idea is that you write down all your troubles/worries of 2012 on a piece of paper, throw it into the fire and watch it all “burn away” and be gonnnnne for the new year. Kind of a cool tradition, and Paola swears it really works.

Gathering around the bonfire for the burning of the Giobia.

Gathering around the bonfire for the burning of the Giobia.

The other day some friends and I went to Pavia, a small town near Milan. They were going to check out the university there and took me along. It was an absolutely beautiful place.

Giovanna and I by the bridge in Pavia.

Giovanna and I by the bridge in Pavia.

We visited the castello , as well as some churches (always gorgeous), a bridge “point coperto”, the university, a bookstore with the wall of an old church inside of it.


The preserved wall of an old church just hanging out in the middle of the bookstore. I was scolded by an employee after taking this photo.

We had lunch at a small cafe that had Beatles’ posters all over the walls, and also had delicious coffee at a cafe. The man there gave us complimentary “baci di dama“…these delicious cookies that are basically sugar-cookie sandwiches with chocolate in the middle. yum.


View of the duomo from Piazza Vittoria in Pavia.

We probably walked down just about every street in the town.

The view you find on a side street.

The view you find on a side street.

Classes have been going well, however I had to move down a level because the class I was placed in was muuuuch too advanced for my conversational skills. So, I try the new class tomorrow and will hope for a better fit! But it’s also quite convenient because my old class started at 8am whereas this one starts at 12, woop woop for sleeping in.

I went to a 50th birthday party with my host dad last weekend which was a hoot. I was probably the youngest person there but who cares! There were about 5 different live bands, lots of good food/wine and friendly people… tutto buono e tutto bene.


Franco laboring over the largest pot of risotto I’ve ever seen.

This week there is Carnival, officially next weekend in Lombardia but this weekend in Venice and elsewhere. People have been walking around in costumes on the street in the middle of the day like it’s normal. At first I had no clue why….where are they going? But then it all made sense when my host parents explained the situation. Haha

As for upcoming adventures…. next is a trip to Chamonix in a few days!


About Greenheart Travel

CCI Greenheart Travel is personally invested in providing cultural immersion programs that change lives, advance careers and create leaders. We achieve this by partnering with organizations and governments overseas that empower their local communities through experiential learning and practical development. We provide others with the same positive travel experiences in which we ourselves engage. Through travel and cultural exchange, we help individuals reach their full potential, leading to a more tolerant, peaceful and environmentally sustainable world.


One thought on “An Adventurous Start to the New Year in Italy

  1. I think it would be a blast to go to Rome! Of these hotels which one would you recommend if you had to pick only one?

    Posted by Family Travel Guide | February 21, 2013, 12:06 pm

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