Santa Claus is so last year. Give me Santa Lucia!

New home. New culture. New traditions.

Santa Lucia is basically the Bergamo version of Santa Claus. She is the saint of the blind and every December 13th she brings the children a present and lots of candy. Lucky Italian little ones basically get two days of Christmas. Unlucky American me got nothing from Santa Lucia; but I did get something much better than a bag of candy.

I spent my first Italian holiday playing tourist in Milan with Paolo. I woke up December 13th ready and excited to head to a city that wasn’t Bergamo. As much as I love that city, and all my friends in it, I needed a change of pace and to explore a little. I’d seen the outside of the Duomo with my friend Delphi in October when we went shopping in the piazza, but I hadn’t seen the inside.

Well, in case you didn’t know the Duomo is in fact a church. If you read my last blog about the fridge, you may remember that Sabine has been urging me to go to cleanse myself of my bad luck, and guess what, I didn’t burst into flames as I crossed the threshold of the church with Paolo.

The best part of the church for me was the stained glass windows. They were so large that in order to really appreciate them, I had to look at them from the opposite side of the church. I don’t know what it is about stained glass windows that I love so much. Maybe it’s the time and detail that goes into them, knowing that someone can tell a story in one window pane is amazing.

After traipsing around the inside taking in all the art and statues (and part of a sermon in Italian that I couldn’t understand), we made our way to the roof of the Duomo.

Yes, the roof of the Duomo. Apparently this is a thing. I didn’t know this existed until a few weeks ago when Paolo and I were talking about hanging out in Milan for a day. I don’t know who thought of the idea to let someone walk around on the roof of a church, but I am so thankful to them. Seeing the people bustling around the Christmas market (which we stopped at and got some amazing Italian food and some yummy strudel) and looking over the buildings of Milan was breath taking. I could have stayed up there all day – but we had a castle to see.

In the very center of Milan there is a castle from one of the old aristocratic families. Rumor has it that Carlo’s (my host dad) great grandmother had an affair with one of the men of the family and that is why Carlo’s grandmother, Helen, looked nothing like her sister and was not as quick witted as the rest of the family. But, “They don’t like to mention those details,” Sabine added at the end of her gossip when she was telling me about the family history.

I also got to ride the metro in Milan. If you would have told me a year ago that I would have successfully navigated the subway system in 3 countries I would have told you that you were crazy.

It’s amazing what you can do in a day.  

I never anticipated that I would be living in a foreign country, but I’m so glad that I took the risk and did it. I love knowing that when I look back on my life I'll know I took chances and met people who didn’t come from the same places, or speak the same languages as I do. Living in Italy has been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life, but with good friends like Paolo, exciting cities like Milan and wonderful Italian food, my love for new places has only become more of who I am.

Fino alla prossima volta, 


Brooke JohnstonComment