June is the month of final get-togethers and goodbyes in Bologna. One late evening we sat under a dark misty sky in front of an illuminated IMAX screen in the middle of Piazza Maggiore for the annual event, “Il Cinema Ritrovato” (The Re-found Cinema), hosted by Cineteca Bologna. It was Friday night and Peter Weir’s Dead Poets Society beamed through the drizzle projecting itself onto the dominating screen, which left San Petronio masked in darkness like I had never seen it before. Contrary to our departures, Bologna was hosting its first official alumni reunion and a few words were said before starting the show. This picture serves to show the grandness of the screen.
The following Saturday marked the official opening night and the piazza buzzed with the excitement of what seemed like the entire city in attendance as Ennio Morricone’s composition reverberated off the medieval stone during the screening of Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars, a spaghetti western staring Clint Eastwood. These last few nights served as a reminder that despite my grown familiarity with Bologna, I still haven’t seen the city in June, which is certainly to say under a different light.
Rewind to Saturday afternoon. I’m perched under a castle eating a sun-dried tomato, pickled pepper, and mozzarella sandwich at the peak on a hilltop town known as Dozza a few kilometers outside of Bologna.
Storm clouds brew and bellow ominously down in the valley below, however, we continue with our lackadaisical pace. The atmosphere is quite and calm like in the eye of a storm and the streets are empty besides the occasional roaming cat. Behind us murals cloak every façade of the town; underneath them lay stone plaques etched with renowned names. A banner draped across the stage at the center of the city explains the “Cinquant’anni Biennale Muro Dipinto di Dozza” (Fifty Years Biennial Dozza Wall Mural), however, visiting Dozza is still a bit like falling down the rabbit hole.
Fast-forward to this past weekend. I’m watching fireworks launch off the region building in Indianapolis from an apartment patio just off the canal. I’ve never seen the fireworks downtown before. I’ve brought my Italian friend with me and with her I’ve brought a whole new perspective to my hometown. She stops me to take photos of sights I would normally overlook as commonplace thus realizing the beauty of my home.
I’ve made arrangements to return to Bologna to teach English for a year. I’ve met conflicting feelings after seeing what I must sacrifice to spend another year in Bologna, but I believe I’ve made the right decision. I don’t think I’ll have another opportunity like this and I have my whole life to focus on a career and be with my fellow Americans. I’d like to continue blogging if anyone is interested in following. I’d like to thank my family and friends for their patience and support, LAMP for helping fund this experience, and the From I to U blog for allowing me to tell my story. These last few weeks have reminded me that there is always more to discover even in your own backyard and for that the final Italian word is “scoprire” or discover.