I would like to share my sightseeing memories in the training week and the first three weeks of Italy.
We went to Barcelona for the training week . During the week, we had got some background on high performance computing, parallel programming, and 3D visualization tools from morning to evening. The training, as well as, visiting the supercomputer in BSC were a good experience for me. In the evenings of the training week, I had the oportunity to discover Barcelona, and talking with new friends who came from all around Europe. I will always remember the hill we got to top of after a hour walking, the beautiful Barcelona view from the hill and the time at the beach under the light of a full moon. I’d like to thank all the people that organized and managed the training week.
When Leon and I arrived in Bologna, we first went to CINECA to get the keys for our room. CINECA is the largest computing centre of Italy. It is made up of 70 Italian Universities, 4 Italian Research Institutions, and the Italian Ministry of Education. CINECA has three offices in Bologna, Rome, and Milan. The head office in Bologna. I will talk more about CINECA and my project in another post.
Bologna is the largest and capital city in Emilia-Romagna and the seventh largest city in Italy. It is one of the oldest cities in Italy and was the fifth largest European city during the medieval period. Besides its historical past, I can also call Bologna a university city. It has a university called Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna, which is the oldest university in Europe, established in 1088. The city is famous for the university, history, foods, and music concerts. Since it is summer right now, you will see more students starting in September. Although the temperature is quite high between 35 degree and 40 degrees in the morning, summer time also has advantages, like outdoor music concerts, open air cinema and ice cream. Luckily, we found an open air cinema called II Cinema Ritrovato 2015 in Piazza Maggiore, the center of Bologna, between 21st July and 15th August. Each night a movie is screening. These are cinemas that you can watch with an ice-cream in your hand and with the moon and stars in the sky around the historical buildings. We had a chance to do it, too.
We, meaning Leon and I, first went to Modena. Modena is a small and old city like most Italian city are. It has a beatiful and historical church at the center of the city. It is in Emilia-Romagno too. It is close by train. By the way, you can go to most cities by train. Modena is famous for parmigiano-reggiano, vinegar, and pork production houses in its country-side. If you go to Modena, I think you shouldn’t forget to visit the country-side as well. Another point that makes Modena valuable for me is that there is a Ferrari Museum called Museo Enzo Ferrari. There are two Ferrari museums. The other one is called Museo Ferrari is in Maranello, which is close to Modena. We went to the museum in the city. That museum consisted of motors such as old and new ferrari motors from cars to race cars even formula cars. Another building of the museum consisted of cars, where you can find old cars as well as newest cars. You can see the evaluation of Ferrari cars from the past to present. I advise you to visit if you have passion for cars. If you prefer to go to Museo Ferrari, you can drive a Ferrari if you wish, even if it is quite expensive.
Our other crazy trip was to Rome. I was wondering Rome so much since it was a capital of Roman Empire for hundred years. Going to museums and the ancient buildings in the city was informative and impressive to have more information about the history of Roman Empire. Roman Forum and Colosseum was the first places that I visited. The ticket offers visiting both of them so you don’t have to buy two separate tickets. Also, the ticket is valid for two days. You can visit Roman Forum and on another day, the Colosseum or vice versa. I advise you visit to Roman Forum first because the queue to buy the tickets is shorter than the one in Colosseum.
The Roman Forum is a forum/marketplace from Ancient Rome, where it is surrounded by governmental buildings of Ancient Rome. The forum was used for public speaking, too. While I was looking around the forum, the weather was so hot. It would have been better to have a hat in the summer. However, you can find several fountains inside the area. The monument that I wondered very much about was Colosseum before going to Rome. It was built on the site where previously Emperor Nero had installed a private artificial lake for his palace. The Colosseum was started building by Vespasian in 70 AC. Vespasian wished to give this area back to the people of Rome and transform it for the public games to strengthen his political position by aiming at pleasing the people. The monument was augurated by his son Titus in AD 80, after Vespasian is dead in 79 AD. The Colosseum was capable of holding 75,000 people.
After Leon came from Bologna and joined me, we went sightseeing for the night. Rome is full of historical buildings. We accidentally saw the Fountain Di Revo and its impressive architecture. I was also impressed when we saw Altare Della Patria, which was opened for the 50th anniversary of the unification of Italy. The monument that I was impressed the most was the Pantheon. It was built in-between 118 AD-128 AD. The height to the oculus, where top of the building is, and the diameter of the dome is the same, 43.3 meters. It has the largest unreinforced dome built with concrete in the world.
After St. Peter’s Basilica and Vatican Museum were the places we saw in Vatican City. St. Peter’s Basilica is one of two largest churches in the world. There is a famous square called St. Peter’s square in the front of the Basilica and an obelisk at the center of the square. The square is surrounded by structures and famous sculptures. I also advise you to visit to Vatican Museum. You can find lots of important sculptures coming from Ancient Greek and Ancient Roma. It consists of several sub-museums. Sistine Chapel in the museum is a famous building since it has a Michelangelo’s fresco called The Last Judgment. In the painting, Michelangelo also painted himself. You should look at St. Bartholomew displaying Michelangelo’s flayed skin. The painting in the ceiling is also the work of Michelangelo.
After Vatican City, we were hungry and we stumbled upon a pizza restaurant. Mainland of Pizza is Napoli but Rome is also famous for pizza. I think, the main difference between Italian pizzas and the pizzas from different countries, is the mozzarella cheese, in Italy it is the best quality. Since mozzarella cheese, pizza dough, and tomato sauce are the main ingredients of a pizza, their qualities create major differences in a pizza. They also have a different style of cooking pizza. Italian cooks are wheeling pizza dough around with their hands to make it thinner.
To summarize, I am pretty happy to be in Italy. The SoHPC programme not only offers a technical and research internship abroad, but it also offers a chance to live in a different country and meet different people from several cultures. I will continue to write my sightseeing memories. Keep in touch!