A group of Duke students atop the Bologna Clock Tower in Italy.

Duke Diary Dispatch: A Brush with The Boss in Bologna

Pizza, Gelato and Springsteen Converge in Italy

Monday quickly approached and so, our classes began. Bright and early, we all arrived at 9:30 a.m. for our Italian lecture. I walked into a beautiful classroom filled with bookshelves and a second floor with a gorgeous view of the city. In the distance, the church of San Luca could be seen on top of the vibrant green Bologna hills. What no one expected was that a cyclone was coming through the region of Emilia-Romagna, of which Bologna is the capital. With severe rain and winds, many surrounding areas suffered damage.

We were lucky that the city of Bologna wasn’t as affected and later in the week, the rain had stopped. Enjoying the newfound warmth, we took a trip to the Margherita Gardens to enjoy the beautiful weather. Only a few days later, I was taking a walk with some classmates when we stumbled upon a gathering crowd. We soon realized we were outside a hotel and began asking who everyone was waiting for. To our surprise, it was Bruce Springsteen! The legendary singer of Born in the U.S.A. was in Bologna. We joined the crowd and found out that he was on tour in a nearby city. I was amazed by the number of Italian fans, and even people coming from nearby countries like Croatia. The longer I’m in Bologna, the more I realize the serendipitous occurrences of life.

As the week went on, I was enamored with the culture, food, and history of the city. We climbed the Clock Tower in Piazza Maggiore, and the view was spectacular. You could see the liveliness of Bologna from the city to the hills. We visited many sites such as the Museum of Palazzo Poggi and the Collezioni Comunali d’Arte, or the Municipal Art Collection. As part of my Performing Italy course, I was able to reflect on a work of art reflecting Greek myths and in class, discuss how these stories have influenced Italian opera. These excursions in conjunction with our lectures help me understand the roots of art in the history of the city.

In addition to visiting such sites, we attended an opera called “Le Nozze di Figaro --The Marriage of Figaro. I was so interested to see a modernized take on Mozart and to experience this immersion as the opera was fully in Italian. I’ve now become comfortable with ordering food, shopping, and even talking with local students in Italian!

I’m now on my second week of my study abroad experience and I feel like I’ve learned so much in such little time. It’s been a great experience as we’ve learned the customs and cultural expectations of Italy. I’ve found that I adjusted fairly quickly and more than anything, I’m overridden with excitement. Soon, we will be taking our first out-of-city trip to Florence! Here, I will stay the weekend with my classmates and explore what is known to be the birthplace of the Renaissance. I look forward to telling you about my next adventures!