So much happened in February that was awesome! My favorite parts were traveling through Italy and February 14th which is a little different here in Sorrento than back in America…more on that later!
In February, I traveled around Italy to Rome, Pompeii, and some different cities in Tuscany and Umbria. I went to Rome with a group of friends from Sorrento and it was a great experience, but made me so happy that I’m studying in Sorrento instead. I definitely think it’s a great city, don’t get me wrong, but it was so full of tourist traps left and right (or at least around the tourist areas we were at, of course), but it just made me realize the warm and homey feel Sorrento has, Rome is most certainly missing. It was fun though because I got to spend times doing the tourist stuff with my friends from Sorrento as well as some shopping with my host brother who lives in Rome and my host sister who traveled there for the weekend, also.
Next was a trip to Pompeii, organized by Sant’Anna, my school here in Sorrento, for all of the students. It was incredible!!! I have seen my fair share of ruins at this point in Italy and wasn’t thinking Pompeii would be anything more interesting, but it was! Mind you, we had a fabulous tour guide, the archaeology teacher here at Sant’Anna, but the trip was incredible: buildings were still together, architecture remained, the red light district was not lost, and you could actually imagine the people, the buildings, and even the culture. It was a great experience and I would recommend to anyone to go to Pompeii if they are lucky enough to have the opportunity.
Lastly, SAI organized a trip for SAI Rome and Sorrento students to go to Tuscany! It was a great weekend starting with us 13 or so SAI Sorrento kids (there are about 30 students total at Sant’Anna, but only 13 are through SAI) heading to Rome to meet with all of them then traveling up to Tuscany. It was a weekend full of tours and food and more tours and more food and thermal spas. It was fantastic. We stayed in a great resort with the previously mentioned thermal baths which we all loved despite the chilly weather and rain, then spent the weekend (which was full of the strangest weather, rain one minute, snow the next, then some sunshine, etc.) touring different cities such as Civita di Bagnoregio, Pitigliano, and Orvieto in Umbria. It was a great weekend!
And the last great February thing that stands out in my mind is February 14th when we celebrated Festa di Sant’Antonino here in Sorrento. Sant’Antonino is the patron Saint of Sorrento and I got a great cultural experience going to an Italian mass with my host mom the night before for Ash Wednesday and then stopping in again Thursday morning to see and touch the Sant’Antonino statute, along with a mob of many other people, as that is what the people do on this day. Then we watched the procession in town where my host dad walked to represent his church, along with all of the other churches in our town. And, for the entire day until late at night, many stands were set up through town selling all kinds of things from candy, to toys, to home items. It was a beautiful day where I was able to have an awesome cultural experience thanks to my host family!
Olivia, Columbia College Chicago