We want to start showing Tallinn through different angles and with out first
interview, we had a chance to sit down with the lovely Gioia Cini. We talked about, what places make up the
city for her and her favourite places in Tallinn!
So where are you from?
I’m from Italy, from a smaller town called Fano. Currently I study Poli Sci at the
Bologna University and with my course I had the opportunity to do a third year abroad with Erasmus. Tallinn
University was one of the options and I move here last August.
I did not know much about Tallinn or
Northern Europe before, when I was choosing a place for Erasmus. I could’ve gone to France, or Spain or other
places like even Turkey, but I chose to come to Tallinn instead. Even though I didn’t know much, a friend of
mine recommended Tallinn for me. I really love my hometown and Italy, but I liked the thought of something
really different and a change, so I ended up here.
When I arrived here last August, the weather was beautiful and it was really nice
here. My first thought of Estonian people was that they are very different. A lot of people seem distant and
maybe not as open as Italian people. Even now, I’m still getting used to this. I stay myself when I talk to
people, so it’s not a big problem, but it’s different to what I was used to growing up in Italy.
“I always try to find something
I think there are many great places in Tallinn. With restaurants, I think there is
a lot of choice. Maybe the Italian restaurants in Tallinn are not exactly the same as the ones back home, but
there’s still a couple of Italian restaurants in Tallinn I like to go to. For example there’s Pulcinella with
their pizza. Maybe my favourite one is this small and cozy EHE Maitse wine bar in old town. I like the owner
there, who is very friendly and you can always have a nice conversation there, with him. It’s maybe not so
cheap, but it’s definitely a good place to go to and have a good time.
In terms of other restaurants in
Tallinn, I think there’s a lot of variety. Me personally, I like a lot of sushi places so I often go to these
places. I also like a place called Kompressor - I love the atmosphere there and going there for breakfast.
They have these really big pancakes, that are very very good and overall it is a nice place to go to. It has a
free atmosphere and I think it’s also good for young families to go to.
Going out you also have
different options. Weekdays, you have Club Münt or Club Hollywood that are good for going dancing and I also
like Red Emperor’s on Mondays. They have a karaoke and it’s always been fun, every time I’ve been. For techno
music or more alternative, I like this new place called ASUM. It’s a bit further away from the city centre,
but it’s still worth going to. There’s other places like Von Krahl or Kelm, that are alternative and offer
something different also so it is not too difficult to find good places in Tallinn for going out! So you
really never get bored!
For day time, I really recommend going for a run or just walking by the sea, on
the way to Pirita. Also the Kadriorg park is very beautiful and a nice place to be at. Of course, the old town
is great to go for a walk - there’s many sights around and nice little streets. Not exactly for sightseeing,
but I also really love going to the Radisson Hotel sky bar. You go all the way up and when the weather is
nice, you can really see very far away and it has a great view. So if you’re tired of walking around, then
going there for a coffee or a drink is really good.
For me personally, my Tallinn life centres around the university. What I like
about the Tallinn University, is that I think it’s really well run. Compared to Bologna, the teachers are a
lot younger and they have a warmer approach and come up with new ways of teaching. Studying with Erasmus is
great for connecting different people from all parts of the world and it is really fun to meet exciting
ESN (Erasmus Student Network) helps to organise trips around also and makes it simple to go
explore other parts of Estonia or Northern Europe. We’ve gone with friends to Keila and see the Jägala
waterfall. Also a short drive away from Tallinn there’s Paldiski and Rummu. Here it’s a lot cheaper for me to
go explore and get a feel for nearby cities also, for example it is really easy to get to Stockholm, Riga or
Helsinki from here or even St Petersburg.
I think the best time to come visit Tallinn is the warmer parts of the year, so
you can really enjoy Tallinn. Then it’s more lively here and more things to do. However, winter here can be
beautiful also, when it starts snowing. In Italy when it snows, it can stop everything. There would be traffic
jams, but here there’s less stress about snow and life goes on. I heard you can even go see the islands by car
and drive on the ice on the sea, when it’s really cold.
Main thing in winter time is make sure to get
yourself a warm coat and protect yourself (laughs). Funny thing about Estonians, is you never see them sick.
I’m used to a lot warmer weather, so here I can often have a cold, but I never see Estonians with a cold, even
in the winter time.
Living abroad, stupid things can always happen and you’ll find yourself in funny
situations. I went to the Russian market to get fresh food recently and one lady there almost tried to force
me to buy something like two or three kilos of meat, even though I just needed a little. So you try to show
with your hands that no-no, I just need this amount. Or the other time, it was raining outside and we were
about to go out and I put this scarf around my head and kept getting called Turkish mama the whole
In general though, I love Erasmus and the choice to study abroad and I’ve had a good time here