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Buongiorno dall’Italia! June 8, 2010

Posted by luciabird in Travel Log.
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Buongiorno dall’Italia! After a bit of a rough start involving a mix up in our bus arrival time, Oxford Group 2 arrived in Florence.  This city was one of the best in Italy, as we were allowed much free time to explore the ancient streets and tasty pizzerias on our own.  During our free time, most of the group gathered at a piazza in front of the Santa Croce church.  As a group, we visited several prominent museums and churches.  My favorite place we visited was the Medici Chapel, which has a beautiful sculpture by Michelangelo called Night and Day.  We had studied this during the intense week of classes prior to our departure, so seeing it in real life was a bit like meeting Silvio Berlusconi after my European politics class last semester.  Another highlight was climbing the 463 steps to the top of Il Duomo, a dome of a church unique because it is designed to reflect the human body.  After sampling as much gelato as Florence had to offer, we jumped on the bus for Rome Monday morning.

Rome was the city to which I was most looking forward.  After years of Latin and religion classes, finally seeing things like the Coliseum and the Vatican was amazing.  We stayed in the most adorable retro hotel just outside the city walls of Rome.  The first day was my favorite—after early morning classes (which were not my favorite!), we embarked on a walking tour of ancient Rome.  Seeing the Coliseum and the Forum was literally like walking into my history books; I felt like I could almost see Seneca speaking.  We also went to San Clemente, a Roman Catholic church with two excavated lower levels: one is an early Christian Church from the 300s and beneath that is an aristocratic ancient Roman home separated from a temple dedicated to the god Mithras by the narrowest of alleys.  The other part of this trip that I most enjoyed was visiting the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica.  We saw more art there than I would have ever believed could exist in one space, and the basilica was absolutely beautiful.  After hearing all the stories of my various Irish Catholic family members who have visited Rome, I finally feel like I can appreciate what they said.  I’m not sure if any of the next cities can top this one!

Our last stop in Italy was Venice.  We visited two museums—the Accademia, which houses several important Venetian paintings of the Renaissance, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection of modern art.  The latter collection was much different than any art we had seen before and very interesting because of our art professor’s expertise and enthusiasm for the subject.  We also saw the famed frescoes of the Scrovegni Chapel.  The highlight of Venice for me was our trip to the island of Murano to see the glass making factories.  First, we got to see workers actually making glass pieces for a chandelier that would eventually be comprised of over one thousand pieces! After that, we perused the completed glass works from the factory.  An hour later and a few euros shorter, we left with many gifts for our families and friends.

Coming soon: Vienna!



1. msweeney6 - June 9, 2010

awww, love the pic (I am such a good photographer!)

2. nat - August 25, 2011

nice thank for the post

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