Our trip to Rome was absolutely amazing! We started off with the Colosseum; a truly unfathomable monument. Hearing the tour guide explain the hundreds of thousands of beasts and animals that died there was the most shocking part. We also were fortunate enough to visit the Vatican, the smallest country in the world; only 0.2 square miles! The valor and greatness within the St. Peter’s Church was unforgettable, my favorite was the Pietà statue by Michelangelo. From there we invested in a Vatican museum tour, a very wise choice. We learned the history behind all of the beautiful art and we were able to learn much more about the Sistine Chapel. The “Last Judgement” portion was the most intriguing to me, I learned the flayed skin that St.Bartholomew was holding was actually supposed to be a self portrait of Michelangelo himself. Ten minutes in the chapel really wasn’t enough time to truly experience the valor that was within.
The next weekend we chose to explore Firenze, a gorgeous gem only a Frecciarossa train ride away. We got to see the Cenacolo di San Marco by Ghirlandaio ib 1482, a beautiful fresco like the original “Last Supper” in Milan. The Duomo Cathedral was just as breath taking as it was exhausting, we were told 463 steps! After the Duomo we took a day and a train to visit the city of Pisa and the Leaning Tower! I would have to say if you are in Italy, do not miss the Leaning Tower its a once in a lifetime experience to see! In addition, our hostel was able to set us up with a lovely day long tour of San Gimignano, Siena, and Chianti. We went shopping in Siena and than ended the day with a wine tasting in a beautiful Chianti vineyard. Although the sights were spectacular, there was nothing more comforting than returning to my bed at my host family’s and my cappuccino in Piazza Tasso the next morning.
Natalie – University of Florida