Special Announcement: Italy Magazine has shortlisted My Napoleon Complex for the 2014 Blog Awards! I’m nominated in two categories, Best Travel Blog and Best Single Travel Post (Top Reasons To Visit Italy’s Most Underrated City: Turin). Voting is open until February 27th, no registration required, so go vote, vote, vote!
I know, I know, it’s almost March and now is when I’m doing a New Years Eve post. I suck. Truth is, at first we were kind of backlogged on editing pictures, and then when we were finally caught up, I got a little lazy with my posting. Regardless, it’s always fun for me to take a trip down memory lane so here we go!
I’ll be honest. Ferrara wasn’t high on my list of must-sees in Italy. When I realized we’d be spending New Years Eve in Ferrara, I was more than a little worried we’d have nothing to do. Turns out, I was completely wrong about that, since Ferrara has one of Italy’s biggest fireworks displays on New Years Eve! More than just fireworks, it’s an entire pyrotechnic show with live music and synchronizations!
But let’s backtrack a little. During the day, we explored some of Ferrara’s main sights. It’s not a huge historic center, but it is UNESCO so of course we had to see it. Ferrara’s duomo, the Cathedral of St. George the Martyr, was one of the places we saw, though because we had Arya, Jaime and I had to take turns going inside. As most Italian cathedrals, it is beautiful, but my favorite thing was the nativity scene inside the church. It was one of the prettiest I saw this past Christmas season.
Another major site is the Castello Estense, a medieval castle belonging to the d’Este family, complete with a moat and everything! We could only see it form the outside though, since we had Arya with us. While they did allow dogs inside (this is a castle and not a palace), you had to be able to carry them, and carrying Arya around is no easy feat! Castello Estense was also the sight of the evenings fireworks show. New Years Eve in Italy is very different from the States. Here, everyone was in good spirits walking around the city, carrying the glasses and champagne bottles to pop in the piazza at midnight. I’ve never been to a huge public celebration in the States (so correct me if I’m wrong), but with all the open bottle laws and glass, I can’t see this being allowed in the States.
The pyrotechnic show was really good. It was no Disney, but it was still obvious that its very well-prepared. The live singers sang a few songs (slightly cheesy showtunes in English) while a bunch of fireworks lighted up the night sky and the castle was engulfed in lights. At one point, they made it look like the castle was on fire! It was my favorite part.
Probably the most memorable part of Ferrara for me was the amazing lunch we had at Cusina & Butega. For some reason, we were under the impression that the agriturismo we were staying at had a kitchen, so we originally planned to cook our own New Years Eve dinner. We figured out too late that we were wrong, so we tried to find some place that had an open table for dinner, but of course that was impossible. Instead, we decided to have a big, late lunch, and skip dinner. I am so glad we did!
We found Cusina & Butega because of their New Years Eve dinner menu online, but their regular menu was just as good. The restaurant was more modern than the places we tend to stick to in Italy, but the dishes were still traditional. We decided to splurge and finally try some pasta with white truffles and oh my God, what a life changer. It’s definitely something to consider trying in certain places in Italy if you’re there in season. We also had some delicious wine, parmaggiano reggiano, and cold cuts. It was a great last meal of 2014!