Weekend trips! Stressful am I right? Not one week had passed when I started hearing my classmates talk about how they had every single weekend booked until May. I was in shock. I hadn’t even thought what I was going to eat for dinner that night much less what cities/countries I wanted to visit. It was sad to see how eager students were to leave Italy. I made a decision to give myself one month before leaving Italy to explore the country I chose to study abroad in!
My first weekend trip was to Milan & Lake Como. This was a free trip with SAI and was planned very well. We arrived in Como, had a walk around the city, and had free time to explore Como’s city center. We walked to our restaurant for an amazing dinner and turned in for an early morning. Next day was Milan! It was a busy day but nothing short of amazing. We were able to see the Last Supper and a Women’s Design museum. The last day was spent in Como once again with a boat ride through the beautiful lake.
My next weekend consisted of two day-trips! On Saturday was our SAI trip to Prato. Although it was only 30 minutes away, this little town was so different compared to Florence. We were given a delicious meal with the best almond cookies and sweet wine I have ever tried. Towards the end of the day we went to a museum about the end of the world. On Sunday I tagged along with the Fashion Marketing class and got to explore Cortona and The Mall. I remember watching the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” and I was ecstatic to walk around the city where the movie was filmed. By the end of the day we went to The Mall. This luxury brand outlet houses many designers from Emilio Pucci to Ferragamo and even Nike.
The last weekend of February was by far the most fun. First day trip of the weekend was to Rapolano where we relaxed in thermal hot springs and sipped on fresh mimosas. After a morning of R&R we went to a wine tasting where I found a wine that was made for me! Strawberry wine has become my favorite thing in the world very close to Chipotle. The day couldn’t have been more perfect. The next day started with an early departure to Venice. I fell in love with the sinking city and all of its history. I was excited to cross off “ride a gondola in Venice” off my bucket list. I took at least 50 pictures of the sun setting over the floating city. As if I wasn’t tired enough, I decided to do one more trip before starting the school week. On Sunday I made my way to Montepulciano and Pienza. We toured one of the oldest wine cellars in the world and learned about the importance of the sangiovese grape. We watched the Tuscan hills as the sun set and departed for Florence.
The month has flown by and I am happy I explored different parts of Italy before going to different countries. I constantly hear classmates say how they regret not getting to know the country the chose to study in and I definitely don’t want to make the same mistake. Italy has been nothing short of amazing and I encourage other students to explore more of their study abroad country before jetting off to other countries.
– Nancy is an SAI Florence student from Colorado State University.