Ciao! As we near the end of our semester here in Roma, everyone is in a frenzy trying to finish all the schoolwork we need to do and still make time to take excursions to those last few Rome sites to be seen before leaving. Additionally, our class just returned from a five-day break in our hectic schedules in which we traveled together to Venice and Florence.
We were thrilled with Venice. It rained both evenings we were there, but most of us had remembered our umbrellas, and some even had rain boots, which were especially helpful when we heard the “acqua alta” sirens that meant the streets were beginning to flood. It was a blast to walk along the raised catwalks that were set up through the centers of the streets in the evenings to avoid the high water, and we did not have to walk through the rain if we just used our vaporetto passes to take the bus-boats through the canal.
During our stay in Venice, small groups were treated to tours of the Doge’s Palace, the Basilica di San Marco and the Museo Storico Navale among others. Peter Blute also took a large group to the island of Murano to watch a demonstration on how the local blown glass is made, which presented a great opportunity for students to purchase souvenirs.
It was raining upon our arrival in Florence on Friday, so orientation tours were canceled. But Dr. Griffin Nelson, our philosophy professor, kindly escorted a group of over 15 girls through the city anyway. Also on Friday, our class made a visit to the Galleria degli Uffizi where Dr. Elizabeth Lisot, our art professor, spoke on a selection of the paintings, concentrating on those of Botticelli.
On Saturday, students struggled to see all of the sites they wanted to and still have time to visit the massive leather market to do some shopping. The morning was filled with small group tours to places such as the Ospedale degli Innocenti, the Boboli Gardens and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, and in the afternoon we took a trip as a class to the Galleria dell’Accademia to be blown away by Michelangelo’s David.
After a full and exiting trip, we re-boarded the buses, decked out in new leather, tired from our adventure and, maybe just a little, dreading the return to our pile of books to study. We have two more partial weeks of classes and one long weekend of travel between us and finals. Then, all 114 of us will return to the States, either on the group flight or shortly thereafter. We will see you back in Irving in just a few months.
Until then, ciao!