Tag Archives: study abroad

6 Things You Need To Know For A Great Summer Abroad

Studying abroad in the summertime is a whole different ballgame–you’ve got a limited amount of time to make the most of your experience in Florence.  Here are 6 things you need to know in order to have a great summer semester abroad:

6.  Make the most of your time in Italy and visit some of the unique regions this country has to offer.

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Visiting the region of Liguria and the cities of the Cinque Terre.

With all of the fun, exciting stuff your program has to offer, the chances are pretty high that you’ll spend little time sleeping and most of your time on-the-go.  While your summer program may not allow enough time to jet-set off to other European countries for the weekend, there is plenty to see right here in Italy.  Each region of Italy is completely unique and different from each other, from the citrus groves and beautiful beaches of Campagnia & the Amalfi Coast region, to the rolling hillsides and sunflower fields of Umbria.  Even a day trip to neighboring Pisa or Lucca or visiting the white beaches of Castiglioncello can provide a much-needed respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.

5.  Don’t forget to explore your own backyard.

Florence is a pretty amazing city, but when you’re crunched for time and want to see all that Italy has to offer, you often forget to spend time getting to know your new host city.  You’ll see the major landmarks on walking tours with your classmates, but it’s worth a closer look to take some time to explore the Oltrarno, bike ride through the Cascine park, visit Fiesole for an afternoon, and just generally enjoy living like the Florentines do.

4.  Take advantage of all the cool special events that only happen during the summer months.

Enjoy music at the Pistoia Blues festival

From food sagras (little village fairs) to music festivals, there’s a whole bunch of exciting events that only take place in the summer. Don’t miss Calcio Storico, the Florentine historic football (soccer) match, that comes towards the end of summer with the fireworks celebration of San Giovanni, the patron saint of Florence.  For all you music lovers out there, everyone from Jack Johnson to The Lumineers to The Arctic Monkeys will be playing the annual Pistoia Blues Festival or Lucca Summer Festival, so be sure to buy your tickets early!

3.  Try something new, whether it’s food or cultural or language related.

Tuscany, like all Italian regions, has its own unique traditions when it comes to language, culture & food.  Ever been curious as to what Crostini Toscani (the infamous chicken liver paté served as an appetizer) tastes like?  Brave enough to try a panino con Lampredotto (cow’s stomach), or shop at the local market and order all your fruits and vegetables in Italian?  Trying something new is a great way to connect to the local culture, and will give you some great stories to tell your friends and family back home.

2.  Get out to the Tuscan countryside at least once. It’s at its most beautiful during the summertime.

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There’s a reason you chose to study abroad in Florence, one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  Tuscany in the summertime, with its powder-blue skies and rolling green hills dotted with yellow hay bales and tall skinny cyprus trees, is the stuff that dreams are made of.  Whether you take a wine day tour or just head off for a hike up in the hills of Bellosguardo behind Florence, you’ll take some beautiful photographs of Tuscany during the summer months if you get out to the countryside.

1.  Invest in getting to know your program mates, even if it is only for a short period of time.

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Let’s face it–summer programs go by fast.  And since you’re probably going to be spending all your class time and many of your scheduled visits with your roommates and program peers, it’s worth it to get to know people.  Some of these people will become your best friends and share in many a great adventure with you, if you’re open to making new friends and meeting people during your time abroad.  So branch out of your circle of already-established friendships, and talk to that shy girl in your Italian language class, or arrange to meet for an aperitivo with your whole program outside of class time so you can all get to know each other.

 

 

 

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Last-Minute Memories from A Semester Abroad

Fiona:  “It feels like a lifetime ago that I lived in California, ignorant of the everyday bits of life that make Florence special. I love living in Florence. I love Italy. I’ve made friends and good acquaintances here, American and Italian.

I’ve been locked away indoors the past two weeks scrambling to work on final projects for all of my classes. I don’t think I’ll be able to see much of Florence these remaining few days; it’s the sacrifice I make to salvage my academics this semester — it’s been tough balancing this adventure with schoolwork when the outside world is fascinating.

I won’t make this blog post my final good bye to Italy.

I’ve just had so many thoughts go through my head these past many days. In some ways it’s a pity I’ll be leaving just as I feel I’ve gotten the hang of things here, but there are also things I’m excited for when I return home — seeing friends, my boyfriend, and dogs. Getting to mountain bike again, and take the liberty of sleeping in. I’m excited to have access to certain foods too, like good Mexican food and all the gluten-free things that await me at home.

However, I’m also aware of the things I’ll lose; I’ll lose the freedom of stepping out my front door and entering a city of adventure. I’ll miss being able to take a stroll around the city and stopping by my friends’ apartments to say hello or have some tea. I’ll miss seeing my Italian buddies around the city in restaurants and my neighborhood Tabacchi (a small store that sells stamps, loto tickets, cigarettes, candy, water and the like), from which I’d manically buy stamps and water bottles.

I drew on a postcard and gave it to the Via dei Macci Tabbachi store owners yesterday. Buona Pasqua = Happy Easter. I’ll be trying to draw little things for my Florentine buddies before I go.

I’ll miss laughing at the creeper Italian men with my friends, and maybe even the gypsies (only a little).

What I’m counting on is that I’ll take with me the things that matter. I’ll keep the moments, stories and the things I’ve seen.

View of the Arno out of the Vasari Corridor.
View out of the Vasari Corridor (the hallway that runs along the top of the Ponte Vecchio).

Elizabeth: “Studying abroad in Florence has been one of the best times of my life, and I know it will be for many many years to come. I’ve tried new foods and drinks, learned to live without a connection to the internet every minute of the day, and I feel like I’ve gained more knowledge about myself and how I work.

When I first arrived in Florence on the 26th of January, I was so scared and nervous that I wouldn’t fit in with everyone else on the trip, all I knew for sure was that I had Kaitlin with me. I’m so happy that we were able to go through this experience together, and I know that we both learned a lot about each other and shared experiences we will never forget. Kaitlin and Devin, our new roomies, were also friends before coming on this trip, and I think that is why we all got along so well. Although Kaitlin and I have different ideas of fun from Kaitlin and Devin, I feel like we still have so much fun when we’re together. I couldn’t have asked for better friends on this trip.

I also met 3 amazing new people, Lily, Megan, and Rachel, whom I absolutely adore. Kaitlin introduced them to me, and since then, the five of us have been hanging out whenever we can, whether that be having late night deep conversations or laughing along to silly movies. Along with my new friends, we found a new home for our studying, and new acquaintances with the people who work at MUG, our favorite cafe. Dealing with our love for flavored coffee and hamburgers, they have created a warm and kind place where we can go to study or have fun. I’ve met lots of fantastic people other than the couple I’ve mentioned on this trip too, people I would love to keep in contact with and reminisce with over a cappuccino and a croissant.

Leaving Florence will be difficult, I’ve grown to love the feeling of having a home away from home. The giant and impossible to maneuver around groups of tourists, the umbrella salesmen, and the men that stand outside restaurants shouting at you to come in, all things I hate hate and will not miss when I’m back in California, in no way outnumber the great times I had here. I’ll save my favorite moments for my next post.

Dealing with jet lag, homesickness, getting physically sick, and sadness during this trip all made me stronger as a person. I’m so glad to get back to my family, friends, job, and school back at home, but I know I will not be the same person they saw leave, and I’m so glad of that. I’ve changed for the better, and I’m proud! “

san miniato al monteBrigitte: “On Sunday morning, I met another student and we walked up to San Miniato al Monte to hear the Gregorian chants, but ended up staying in the main nave and attending mass for Palm Sunday. It’s a good walk uphill and has a great scenic view from the top. The inside of the church is beautiful, the floor is very interesting to look at and the ceiling has detailed designs. It’s one of my favorite churches I’ve visited.

After church we bought pizza at Gusta Pizza and walked around the antique/flea market in Piazza Santo Spirito. There were some very interesting old items and handmade goods being sold. Later in the day we met again to go back to San Miniato al Monte to hear the Gregorian chants. We found the service in an area behind and below the main altar. The voices of the monks were beautiful, it was an awe-inspiring experience.

view from San Miniato

Before class on Wednesday two other students and I went to the Boboli Gardens. We sat on the grass and had a picnic with another scenic view of Florence. We talked about the trip and how it has changed us. The sun was out and it was a perfect time to get some fresh air. picnic at boboli gardens

My roommates and I had a special dinner out since the program is close to ending. All four of us went to a cute restaurant on the side of Il Duomo; they had delicious food. It was strange to think back to the very beginning of the program when we were just settling. We discussed the program ,and how it will and already has affected us. It made us a little sad to think how it’s coming to a close.

dinner with roommates

My mom has arrived in Florence! I am planning on showing her around to the tourist sites and hidden gems of the city, in between class and homework. I’m glad she gets to experience the city that has been my home for the past 11 weeks. After the program is over we will travel and have more adventures together for another 4 weeks!

I’m sad to have this program end, I’ve had so much fun and learned a lot through it all; but I still have one more week to enjoy it!”

Croatia & Budapest: Spring Break in Europe

Written by: Brigitte F.

I returned home to Florence this past Monday after an amazing spring break trip to Croatia and Hungary. I know I can’t express how awesome my experience was, but I’ll try! I traveled by bus on Friday the 7th  to Ancona, a city on the coast of Italy, to take an overnight ferry across the Adriatic sea to Split. While waiting at the ferry station, I met another American who is currently backpacking through Europe. He was also going to Split and we both were staying at the same hostel so we traveled together. I had planned on going by myself but it was a really nice surprise to make a friend with the same travel plans so easily and quickly.

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We arrived in Split early Saturday morning and found our hostel. The Tchaikovsky Hostel in Split has very comfortable rooms, spacious lockers, clean bathrooms, and a friendly, helpful owner. It’s in a great location; I walked down to the water in the morning and explored the city, main sites, and surrounding area easily. We made more friends with other hostel guests and enjoyed Split together.

We wandered around the city, strolled through markets and explored Diocletian’s ancient Roman palace. I swam in the Adriatic Sea almost everyday I was there; the sun was shining and the water refreshing.

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I decided to stay longer in Split and cut off time in Zagreb after talking to travelers who had been there and suggested less time spent in the capital. I really enjoyed the time relaxing and soaking up the sun in Split for about four days and it was a great experience to make new friends with fellow travelers.

After staying one night in Zagreb, my new friend and I traveled by train to Budapest. We met up with his buddy who he is backpacking with and we explored Budapest together. Everywhere you turn there are buildings rich in history and beautiful architecture. It gets redundant, but all of the places I have visited have picturesque art and architecture and interesting history.

We walked along the the river, across the bridges, and past castles. We climbed to a good outlook over Budapest and wandered around on both sides of the Danube. We found St. Stephen’s Basilica and walked through the inside gazing at the ornately decorated interior. There was so much detail, color and images to view; once again I recognized a lot in the art from my classes and could appreciate it more.

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We stopped at the Heroes’ Square; it was built in 1896 and commemorates the 1000th of the founding of arrival of the Magyar tribes in the Carpathian Basin, basically the founding of Hungary.

 

The Szechenyi Thermal Baths were relaxing; we waded in a large outdoor pool, sweated in a sauna and tried out different indoor baths.

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It was easy to befriend more people at the hostel and interesting to hear everyone’s stories. I really enjoy just exploring the city and experiencing the culture; I definitely could have spent more than three nights in Budapest.

Travelling home took a little while and presented a few challenges, but I made it! I left Budapest at 6 AM Sunday morning, took a train, then a bus, then a ferry, then two more buses before reaching my destination. When I finally got home to Florence it was a relief to be in a familiar, comfortable place; but I had an amazing time traveling so it was bittersweet. Both Croatia and Hungary are pretty inexpensive places and definitely worth the trip. I had so many great experiences and learned about other cultures and myself. Just writing about it right now makes me miss the beautiful coast of Split and exciting city of Budapest. I’m not doing my trip justice by this blog, but it’ll have to do. If you ever get the chance, go to Croatia, swim in the Adriatic Sea and explore Budapest!

Capodanno Fiorentino 2014: A Florentine New Year

In order to understand why Florence celebrates their own Capodanno, or New Year’s, on the 25th of March, we must go back into history to the year 1582 when the invention of the Gregorian calendar changed the landscape of European history.  Although the beginning date of the new year was shifted to the 1st of January by the new Gregorian calendar, Florentines continued to celebrate their “new year” on March 25th, a date which undoubtedly was not chosen at random: it’s exactly 9 months before Christmas.

This date also coincides with the date in which the Catholic Church celebrates the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary.  What does that mean for the city of Florence?  Well, the Basilica di Santissima Annunziata will be at the center of the day’s festivities, with particular attention on the fresco inside the church that represents the Annunciation.

According to legends, the artist commissioned to paint the fresco could not paint the face of the Virgin.  An angel then went to help him and completed the painting of Mary, therefore it is the painting itself that gives the church its name and which is still preserved inside.

During the Florentine Capodanno (New Year), a historical parade will wind through the streets of the city center, starting at the Palagio di Parte Guelphi through Piazza Repubblica, the Duomo & finally on to Piazza SS. Annunziata to give white lilies as homage to the miraculous portrait of the Virgin Mary.

Despite a decree from the Grand Duke Francis III of Lorraine issued in 1749 that officially changed the start of the New Year for Florentine’s to January 1st, the city continues to celebrate this traditional day 250 years later.

 You can catch all the excitement at 3:30 pm starting from just behind Piazza Repubblica.  The historical parade will wind through the main squares of Florence, finishing at the Basilica di Santissima Annunziata at 4:15pm for the homage of the lilies.

Sunday Carnevale in Viareggio

Written by: Fiona O.

Carnevale di Viareggio is a large-scale parade of floats and masks that occurs every year in the Tuscan city of Viareggio. It’s considered one of the greatest celebrations in both Italy and Europe.

I went on the AIFS day trip to Viareggio to see the Carnevale parade. The floats were extraordinary, and have always been very political in nature, often depicting famous people and politicians.

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The first float was so amazing! It was John Lennon’s head. One of the most amazing things about the floats, aside from their size, is how mobile they are. This float began with Lennon’s head cradled in his hands with a black and white background. As the music began playing, Lennon lifts his head and looks from side to side as everything explodes with confetti, movement and Beatles’ music. It was spectacular!!!
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The floats are huge — a bit of the 3-story building is visible next to this float. Each float played its own music, and large groups of dressed up people and dancers moved along between each huge float.

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Excited and dressed like a girl for Carnevale!
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Another amazing float. The shaman could move his head and hands, as well as blink. The butterfly pillars spun around crazily too.
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The crowd. That’s where the floats approached me from where I stood. That’s a 3-story building next to the shaman float, which gives you an idea of scale. The floats travelled a loop, so they moved down the street, then turned and came back along another street.
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One of the dancers in the parade.
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A giant voo-doo doll.
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This was so cool! The scale of it was just incredible. It makes you realise how almost all large-scale things are rendered digitally in movies — I can’t imagine how much effort went into constructing an actual, huge, mobile model of a robotic spider. Really loud techno/electronic music played, and the people on the float danced a little techno routine.

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I’m honestly not really sure what this is about.
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This float is definitely very political. Just consider the camouflage colours, painted face, and expression of the soldier in the tank. Anyway, this was a super cool float. It was so mobile; the helmet, hands, eyes, tongue and hair all moved. It’s erie to have the huge floats loom down over you.
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 The people on the floats were very dressed up too.
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This scary thing coming along the other side of the street. It was breathing smoke.
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Creeper Shot #7: Just chilling with an admirable tuft of texture.
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That devil float made it around to my side of the street. He’s dressed as a puppet master (his mask could come down over his entire face as well) manipulating (what I presume to be) politicians in a boxing rink. The pope was depicted as one of the puppets hanging off the back of this float.

 

Creeper shot #8: This looks like the same guy as in #7, but I’m 70% sure it’s not. The hair is a tiny bit different.

 

All I can work out is that Immigrazione= Immigration.
Omosessualita = Homosexuality. I have to admit that I’m very entertained by how willing the Italian men are to dress up like this.
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I’m not sure what the message is here, but this was such an awesome float. The guy could fold his wings and duck his head, to where he wasn’t that visible. Then he rose up while spreading his wings.
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Creeper shot #8: This guy’s carrying some figurines.
 

Figurines like this one were carried along on the back of a single, dedicated \ person.
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They Hysteria float — the lady (dressed in the colours of Italy) basically just screams (there’s a sound track). A scientist and psychologist are on either side of her. Again, I’m not sure what the message is here, but I interpreted it as representation of Italy’s (social and political) problems that are understood neither by the scientist (who studies physical bodies), nor by the psychologist (who studies the mind).
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This thing was pretty intense — it’s eyes, jaw, head and arms all moved. It just leered creepily over the crowd.
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Poseidon appeared. He could both sit and stand upright.
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Creeper shot #9: A cute soccer-playing child with that hair cut I need to photograph.
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I ran off to explore and found the beach!! The mountains in the distance were such an unexpected sight!
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Me by the sea shore of the  Mediterranean Sea.
Tips for Viareggio:
  • Bring layers! It may be warm for a while, but the temperature drops in the evening.
  • Ride the ferris wheel! I didn’t do this, but some classmates had a great time (and a great view).
  • Walk through/along with the parade. You see everything faster this way, and get to dance around and stuff (I didn’t do this, I stood in one spot).
  • Take sunglasses, it can get sunny.
  • Don’t let the kids throw confetti at you — they tend to scoop it off of the ground.
  • Go run over to the beach! It’s so gorgeous.

Travel Thoughts after Spring Break

Written by: Hailie G.

I am ending my spring break with my last few hours in London and I feel like I have seen so much. I found myself a little emotional yesterday as I was sitting on the Tube waiting to go see my next major landmark and just thought, “All my life I have seen these places on TV, in textbooks, and in my dad’s art books, but now I am here.. seeing this with my own eyes.” Everything that was so far away is now right in front of me and tangible.

Two days ago I saw a Monet, Van Gogh, da Vinci, and Rafael painting in just one little museum in Scotland. First off… I was in Scotland, how did that happen? Secondly… I saw those paintings in person. They weren’t any famous ones like “Starry Night” or anything like that, but they were still done by these people. I will say that I don’t have any idols, but I still felt so honored to be inches away from such important pieces.

I also went to Loch Ness, and Nessy didn’t say hello to me, but a little curious piece of me hoped she would. My entire life my mom and dad have had me watching those pointless documentaries that just spike your interest without ever giving you a real modern sighting or any more information about the mystery. If I am going to be completely honest I didn’t even know that Loch Ness was in Scotland, but I saw the tour for it and my little girl excitement skyrocketed. Of course I suppressed it a little bit so that my roommate would not think me a fool, but I signed us up and I went there. I rode a silly boat through those mystical and gorgeous waters and became a part of those inconclusive documentaries.. and it was exhilarating.

Then London. Big Ben. Buckingham Palace. The globe theatre. The Queen’s walk. The London Eye. Tate Modern. A musical (Wicked). I just don’t know how I got here.

My immediate family has not traveled much, if any at all and now me.. a 20 year old college student is doing it. I have been in 5 different countries in the last 10 days. I have hardly a clue as to how this happened, but it did and I am so in awe. I feel so blessed to be achieving a life goal of mine. Many who know me know that my family didn’t have a lot of money to do much “extra” so I have learned to work for the things that I really want. What I really want is to show others that they can travel, go to school, and be successes if they believe and work hard (cliche I know, but I believe it to be true). I want the younger generation in my family to know that they can be whoever they want to be and that someone has already done it and will support them.

Anyway, I know I went on a rant, but I was thinking about that and wondering how I ended up where I am right now. So, I will quickly thank my mom and dad for showing me that even if they started picking vegetables in a field or working at McDonald’s they worked hard and climbed some ladders. I couldn’t ask for any better role models. Lalala emotions…

Back to my spring break. Where did I leave off? *scrolls up to check*. Ahh yes, London. My gosh, I had the best day in London! It was so diverse, and everyone spoke clear English! Ellen and I soaked that in while we could. But, we did not eat the English food. We took the opportunity to get some pho (my favorite), Indian food, and kfc (late night rush.. oops). Yeah, we definitely needed our fix of ethnic food after being in Italy for so long. After our stomachs and taste buds were satisfied we went on the London eye and got our first glimpse of Big Ben. He was beautiful. After that we took a stroll to go visit him, he was better looking up close. Surprising, huh?

We also saw the Buckingham palace, which was pretty overrated considering we couldn’t go inside. Then the Tate Modern. I saw “Water Lilies” in person, what?! It’s not just something out of a book?

In all seriousness, I couldn’t help but be that person who stands 2 inches from the paintings at an angle so I could see the paint strokes. It takes the image to a whole different level when I can imagine the artist placing the color THERE because they knew it was right. Ahh gives me chills imaging even the simplest stroke of a brush. Hmm what else..What a strange order I am putting this in.

Well, we started in Barcelona. *cough* what gorgeous people they have there ;). I do believe that I loved that city, even if I was just there for a day. I need to go back. Let me just say that Goudi is a genius. Segrada Familia has got to be my favorite church out of all of the ones I have seen in Europe so far. It is so bright and the stain glass windows are so vibrant and colorful. If I were Catholic I would go to THAT church. Unfortunately that is all I got to see aside from the market. That was a trip in itself. They had some of the best fresh fruit juices ever! I had only had juice like that in Nicaragua and it was nice to have of again. I am pleased to say that I had 2, 1 kiwi and 1 kiwi/coconut. My roommate had 3.. lol then she proceeded in mentioning them everyday for the next 8 days of our spring break. Anyway this is getting far too long, and it is 1 am here, so I shall leave you with this and tell you about all of the rest soon.

Roma, Roma: A Weekend in the Eternal City

 Written by: Brigitte F.

I have been to the Eternal City; Rome was overwhelming and awesome. I saw more monuments and ruins than I have ever seen before.

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When we first arrived in Rome, before our group tour, a few of us explored the area around our hotel before our group tour. The Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, ancient Roman ruins, and Trajan’s Column were all within a few minutes of our hotel.

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We had a tour of the Colosseum; even though it was pouring rain while we waited outside, it was still a great experience. Our tour guide told us a lot of information about the Flavian Amphitheatre, gladiators, and the structure’s uses and abandonment over the years. We walked through the Colosseum, trying to imagine what it looked and felt like in its heyday. It is huge! Definitely a must-see place. Walked past the Arch of Constantine (with scaffolding) and Roman ruins everywhere.

In the evening I walked to the Isola Tiberina, a small, cute island in the river, with another girl from the program. It was a little difficult to find at first, but we understood the misleading map eventually. It was nice to see different parts of Rome as we looked for the island. A group of us ate at a restaurant with friendly staff, inexpensive prices, and TVs that played old 1980′s American music videos. That night we visited the Trevi Fountain beautifully light up. There were a lot of people circled around it throwing coins, making wishes and posing for pictures.

brigitte f. in rome

On Saturday we had a guided tour of the Vatican City, so technically I visited another country! My absolute favorite part of the tour was standing with my neck bent and face tilted upwards staring at the Sistine Ceiling. I spent so long gazing at all of the frescoes, trying to soak them all up. A few of us spent so long in the Sistine Chapel we actually got left behind and had to join another AIFS tour group (but we found our group quickly). I had very few words after experiencing Michelangelo’s work. The tour ended and we were let loose to explore on our own. St. Peter’s was amazing; it has so much detail to look at. The Pieta is one of my favorite sculptures and I finally saw it in person; sadly it has to be kept behind a protective barrier so I didn’t get to look at it closely.

michelangelo pieta

I mailed two postcards to my mom from the Vatican City and then a group of us left on an optional walking tour. We meandered through Rome; ended up at the Pantheon. The Pantheon is such an interesting building! It’s thousands of years old and a tribute to Roman engineering, plus it just looks awesome. We walked to the Trevi Fountain and I made a wish!

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clarke, katie and brigitte at trevi fountain

After a short stop at the hotel a few of us headed out to stick our hands in The Mouth of Truth. We stopped for pizza before strolling down to the Spanish Steps and climbing to the top. It was a great nighttime view of Rome.

The next morning we packed up our luggage and left for the catacombs; but we didn’t want to miss the Pope’s weekly address so we changed course and made our way to the Vatican City. Even though I understood virtually none of it, I’m so glad I got to experience the Pope’s speech.

pope in rome

The crowd was full of people from all over so excited to see him, many had posters and screamed. After his address, we left for The Catacombs of St. Callixtus. We walked down steep steps and through dark, cold, windingpassageways that used to be filled with dead bodies. The catacombs were fun and creepy to walk through and the surrounding countryside so green and lush. Our tour started later than we anticipated so we were a little rushed after the conclusion of the tour. However, every taxi we tried calling said it could not send any to us. We waited at a bus stop but no bus came; so as taxis drove by we hailed them down and bit by bit our group made it back to our hotel. We grabbed our backpacks and ran down the hill to meet the AIFS group at the bus stop. A parade had just started and the buses were full… but we all made it to the train station on time!

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It was a beautiful train ride home and nice to relax after a packed weekend. I have to go back to Rome, it is a really exciting city full of many things to do and see. Once again so many monuments and pieces of art I studied and longed to see, and now I have!

After an awesome weekend in Rome this week of school was very stressful. We all had to take tests and quizzes, turn in papers, and make sure spring break plans were set. Now it’s officially vacation and I can exhale! I leave for Croatia tomorrow; I’ll stay in Split and Zagreb then Budapest. I’m really excited because I know this is going to be a great adventure! I’ll return on Monday in time to crash and sleep for hours, then jump back into classes.

Arrivederci!