17 December 2010

Italy, Politics, and Twitter


Thought all might find this interesting.

12 December 2010

From Courtney: Once in a lifetime

Its over... i cant believe it. We have actually finished our two week trip to Italy and there are not even words to describe this experience. I would have almost have to say while i was here i felt as if i was living a different life, living in a dream. No classes, no work, no stress (for the most part)... visiting some of the most beautiful and famous locations in the world, eating out for literally almost every meal, shopping... it all seems too good to be true. And although as i sit here and look back on all the great things we got to do, all the amazing places we got to go, and the beautiful pictures i got to see those are not the things i am going to remember most. What i will remember most is these 14 fellow students and the relationships i formed with them. I was so scared when i signed up for this class because I only knew 2 people. Then a little bit of the fear went away as i got to know a hand full of others throughout the duration of the 10 weeks during the class. But as we boarded the plane 2 weeks ago to leave the united states i was worried because i didnt know anything about at least half of the people i was leaving the country with, heck i couldnt even remember a few peoples names.
But now... after two weeks of living with these people i can say i couldnt have asked for a better group. Not only do i know everyones name, and not only have i had converstations with each individual on this trip, i have created friendships. People who i never even spoke too during the 10 week class i was going to dinner with or shopping with on a regular basis. We shared amazing experiences together, enjoyed gelato together, we even cried some... we got sick together, we laughed together, we even beleted out old school songs together while playing cards. I know that visiting the Vatican and the Uffizi and the canals of venice are experiences i will never forget but what made this trip and what i cherish most are the memories i have at those locations because of the people who surrounded me.

Thank you Ashley, Erin, Kelley, Jimmy, Jeff, Kailee, Andrea, Olivia, Melissa, Jazmyne, Kayleigh, Anna, Lisa, and Kat for being the coolest people I could have asked for to hang with in Italy!!!

Ciao Italy!...I will be back :)

So I have to say that I have a bitter sweet feeling right now. This experience has been one of a kind and truly amazing. I have gained a lot from this trip and feel so thankful to have been given the opportunity to have this experience. Being on this trip has allowed me to grow so much as a person in many different ways.

Learning about the history of art and philosophy in class allows you to receive only an idea of what the masterpieces are like over here. Seeing works of art like the Sistine Chapel ceiling and the David were such an awesome experience. The pictures of these simply do not grasp the beauty of these pieces. I have a whole new level of appreciation for artists. It has been such a cool feeling to think that I have been in the same building as Michelangelo.

Besides the amazing history that lies within Italy that has allowed me to grow as a person, so has the culture. Being in a foreign country is a completely different experience than traveling around the United States. I have experienced trying to communicate with people who have no idea what I am saying to them, and to also try and understand what they are saying to me. Being in Italy has made me reflect even more on my life. I have experienced parts of a different culture that I do and do not like, which has allowed me to realize what I want more of in my life and what I also appreciate in my life. The beauty of Italy has helped me to grow in my faith even more. I am so thankful for having this experience, and even more thankful to have been lucky enough to experience it with such a wonderful group of people. I have made more friends than I had before, and have grown in relationships that I already had formed.

Thank you so much to Dr. Mills and Dr. Johnson for setting up this trip, and traveling around Italy with the class. Your guidance and friendships have been so awesome!
Thank you also to my family and boyfriend for the support and help, so I was able to come! :)

I am so excited to go home and share all of my pictures and stories with people....and to plan my next trip back!!! :)

Ciao Italy, see you soon!!


Peace Out.

I could start with a cliché like "all good things must come to an end." Or something banal like "veni vidi vici." However, it's not true that all good things must end (truthfully, as far as we know all things end, not just good things but maybe I'm equivocating on 'end'). And its not necessary for this to end. We could choose to stay here and never return. And as far as I know, we came, we saw, but conqueror is an overstatement. Simply, we came, we saw, and we grew. 

Italy was the experience of a lifetime. A facebook message from my grandfather (yes, he's on facebook) told me to enjoy my time here. He spent time here while serving in the US Navy, and he said one never knows when he/she might see this side of the world again. He was sure that he wouldn't have another opportunity. This made me realize my fortunate nature, and the blessings my family and education have bestowed upon me. Traveling abroad has become commonplace in many institutions, and it's widely encouraged. However, many friends and peers of mine do not have the means to pursue such options. And those that do don't necessarily recognize the value within an experience as such. In all, I must thank Dr. Mills and Dr. Johnson for encouraging us in this adventure and giving us the opportunity to grow personally and intellectually. 

So it is that we depart in about 18 hours. Perhaps we leave with some positive anticipation to return to our normal lives, jobs, and loved ones. But there are small frowns within each of us. We've bonded to form new friendships, created memories, and grown to love a culture other than our own. But it's not that we come home completely. In some unconscious state we will always be here (no it's not that I'm pushing a conception of time like the Tralfamadorians from 'Slaughterhouse-Five'). Some might be here through photographs, others through stories, and some through language. We can't leave something like this behind. Soon we are headed out for dinner together. Our own "Last Supper." Corny, I know, but I had to say it. 

Its been amazing, but now it closes. We'll be home soon. 

Ciao, Italia. 


Goodbye Italy

 I can't find an appropriate word to describe today. Odd.. Maybe? It started out with all of us lugging our suitcases all over Venice to get on the vaperato, then a four hour train ride, and more exercise while we drug our bags to our hotel in Rome. First of all I was a bit proud of myself for navigating the city fairly well. I was oriented and haven't needed the map... Yet :). After lunch we went to a crypt which was very.... Interesting. Pretty much it was just bones arranged to decorate several rooms. Some of the skeletons were full bodies, but a lot of them were just skulls or clavicles or scapulae that ornamented the walls. Even the chandeliers were made from bones!! 

I also find it hard to describe my day because it's our last day in Italy. Yes, I am ready to be done living out of a suitcase but am I ready to leave? Not in the least. Being here has intrigued and challenged me in so many ways. It's hard to explain. This has been the opportunity of a lifetime, and I thouroughly enjoyed it. Learning about art history and philosophy is one thing in a classroom, but seeing and experiencing them firsthand is incredible. I could have studied the Sistine chapel for a week in itself, but we have gone, done, and seen so much more.

Inevitably I will be asked what my favorite part of the trip was, and honestly I can't say. Yes, it sounds cliche but each experience has had a different effect on me, all of which I value. The beauty of Assisi brought me serenity and a new appreciation for life, the hustle and bustle of Rome brought me to consider all the unique lifestyles people have, and Florence brought me a sense of home because we were there for the majority of our time here. 

I'm excited to come home, see my family, and decorate Christmas cookies, but I'm sad to leave Italy. However, I've had an amazing time and I am lucky to take away new memories and all in all, a new me.  

Our Last Day in Italy

We arrived this morning in Rome coming off of a 4 hour train ride from Venice. Venice was beautiful and it was so neat not to see any cars and just to see people getting around either on foot or boat. We had really great weather this weekend, the best that we have had all trip. I really enjoyed going to the Jewish Ghetto, I did not know anything about it before going and it was so interesting to see 3 of their synagogues and learn about the first ever ghetto. It was neat to see the hand made glass in all the different stores, it was all so unique. We went to a contemporary art exhibit and also the Guggenheim art museum, which is a modern art exhibit. I have never been to either kind of art exhibit and it was neat to be able to compare a different style to all the ancient and Renaissance art that we have been viewing the past couple of weeks.

For me these past 2 weeks haves been incredible!! I have so many great memories from the trip and I have really enjoyed being able to share so many great experiences with everyone in the class. This is the first time I have traveled overseas and I feel like I have learned so much about myself. It has been amazing to be surrounded by so many people who have such a different lifestyle and culture than what we are used to, and adjusting to being surrounded by so many people who speak a different language than us. I feel like we have all picked up a few words while we have been here, and even with the language barrier we have been able to make it through. It is also neat because even when you can not speak to someone you can always smile and sometimes that is just as good.

We have a long day of traveling tomorrow and even though I am going to miss being in Italy, I am also really excited to be home for Christmas and see my family.

Last Night in Italy

Hello everyone,
So we arrived back in Rome this afternoon by train from Venice. The train ride back wasnt bad, it was just interesting watching our line of students pulling our luggage from the train station to our hotel. But the trip to Italy has been great, for me its been my first time traveling overseas and to a country that speaks a different language.
Venice was great, the first day we arrived the water level was higher than normal so we got to experience walking on the planks because the ground in some areas had about a half of foot of water at least. One thing in particular I noticed about Venice was there are no cars, people either walk or take the water taxi. Both days it was a little cold but the sun was out so I couldn't complain.
I am looking forward to heading home and cutting back on the number of carbs I have ate in the past two weeks :) But to also get to see my family and to start feeling like its Christmas.
Tonight the whole group is going out to dinner to end our Italy trip on a good note, then its back to try to make everything fit in my suitcase :) Tomorrow we are looking at a 10 hour flight back to the U.S, stopping in Philadelphia to go through customs, and finally home to Columbus! -Ciao

Update from Lisa

We arrived in Rome and tomorrow we head home, which I am very excited for because even though Italy is beautiful I am ready to see my family. I cant wait to show everyone all my pictures. So I will try to remember everything we have done since my last update.

Tuesday- We tried to go to the museums, but the workers at the museums went on strike and all the museums were closed. Instead, we climbed to San Miniato church and it was a beautiful view. The church was gorgeous inside. This has nothing to do with my trip, but that night I did learn how to play a new card game so mom will be happy about that.

Wednesday- We went to the Uffizi Gallery and there I saw a lot of pieces of artwork that we talked about in class. For example, Madonna with the Long Neck, Primavera, Judith Slaying Holofernes, and The Birth of Venus. Then we went to the Academia and saw The David and it was amazing. It stands 16 or 17 ft tall and there is so much detail it is incredible.

Thursday- That day we arrived in Venice and it was raining at first, but it cleared up and it was beautiful. The next two days there were clear skies and sunny. I think that Venice was one of the most beautiful places we have seen. We went to a couple museums while we were in Venice. It was a fun trip there.

While we were there we went to the Jewish Ghetto and traveled to Padova and went to Saint Anthony and the Scrovegni Chapel.

Then of course we arrived in Rome today and I go home tomorrow:)
Cant wait to tell everyone all about my trip.

Love, Lisa

11 December 2010

Venice :)

Tomorrow is our last night in Italy and it's an odd feeling. Although we've only been here for less than two weeks it seems like so long ago that I was walking around the remains of ancient Rome. Overall, it has truely been a life changing and memorable experience. People told me that I would return with a new perspective, and now I understand. Being in italy not only allowed me to visit many historically important sites, it also showed me a lot about myself. Part of our journal assignments are to write about ourselves and the things we've learned on a deeper level and I canhonestly say that this has been an extremely valuable experience for me. 

Yesterday we had the opportunity to visit the jewish ghetto and the guggenheim museum. I thought the synagouges were particularly intriguing because I knew so little about the Jewish faith. I can not imagine being segragated from my community based on the way that I act or the things that I believe. Being locked into my neighborhood At night would be hard to deal with I would imagine. The guggenheim museum was my favorite part of yesterday. Seeing works by pablo Picasso was so interesting, I absolutely loved it. 

I'll talk to you from Rome!! Ciao!!!  

Leaving Venice

Our internet has been expensive here in Venice, which is why there haven't been a lot of posts (we had free and ample internet in Florence). We leave tomorrow morning for Rome, and, I think, we have enjoyed it here. The food is always a bit problematic--more expensive than we want, and not as good--but the group discovered falafel (at a little kebab shop, and then later at Gam Gam, a fantastic restaurant in the Jewish Ghetto), and I think one take away from this trip will be the fact that many of our group are now falafel (and maybe hummus?) fans.

We've kept busy in Venice. We visited San Marco, the Accademia, Verrochio's statue of Colleoni, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the Jewish Ghetto (the very first ghetto in the world--indeed, the word "ghetto" derives from the Jewish ghetto that was founded here in the early 16th Century), then a day-trip to Padua today to see the Scrovegni Chapel, the "Bo"--the original building of the University of Padua where Gallileo and Copernicus taught--and Saint Anthony's Basilica. And we still managed to find gobs of time to shop, so I think friends and family of our travelers can expect to get some nice Italian gifts. That is, if we can fit them all on the plane!

Tomorrow, we return on an early train to Rome, and then have time to see some more sights before returning to Ohio on Monday. We hope to update more from Rome, where the internet is, again, free!

Ciao a tutti!

09 December 2010

Venice :)

We arrived in Venice today and it is unlike Anywhere that I've ever been before. It's true, there's water everywhere! The locals function as in every other city; instead of hopping on the city bus, they just ride the city water bus into work. Their lifestyle is so interesting. Carrying, actually dragging our luggage to our hotel was quite a site to see, but we mAde it. It's a weird feeling to not see any cars around, and to see the wooden planks they put up for when it floods or the tide comes in.

The contemporary museum we visited tOday was really interesting. The exhibits were completely different from the mostly religious affiliated works we've been seen thus far.

Yesterday we finally got to see the David. Let me just say, his feet were probably as big as I am. I was shocked at the size of this sculpture and the talent it took to create this sculpture. I'm really glad the strike took a break!!

I think that's all for now other than to say if you ever come to Venice, bring a map! :)

From Courtney! The city of water :)

We are in Venice, and it is beautiful. For my family at home you will understand when i say its like an upscale lake erie, but with even more water and a lot more shopping lol. There literally is water everywhere, we even had to walk on some wooden blanks to get around to certain places in the city because the tide was high so there was a few inches of water! Its soo pretty though i dont think that i will get annoyed with the water because its just too beautiful! There is Gondolas with the guys with the fun hats and striped shirts singing to the passengers of the ride and it looks so romantic, wish i had that special someone here with me :) But i am really excited to be in a new place and the hotel is amazing here as well. There is carpet and real showers! Cant wait to see what these last few days in Italy has in store :)


We are on the home stretch. Today we arrived in Venice; our last stop before returning to Rome. To our surprise, there was no rain and a bit of sun.  Unfortunately though, the Italian air showed no mercy and breathed chilling air on our necks as we ventured the narrow streets. 

Venice is a unique city in that it's built on water, more or less. To navigate the city the options are by foot or by boat. Every corner there seems to be a canal, and it takes just a morning of rain to flood the streets. This brings out the walking planks, allowing residents and tourists to move about. The best option though, rain boats. Never had I thought I'd be jealous of the silly rain boat fad that's struck women across the world. However, for the next three days I fear I might. Let's not mistake my want, though. It's the envy of dry, warm feet that drives my desire, not the fashion statement. 

We saw the church of San Marco today, and a modern art exhibit as well. The rest of our day consisted of learning the ropes of the city and finding our way about. Not the most stimulating day intellectually, but it was great to see what Venice is like and get a feel for the area. Well that's all for now. Take care, all!


We're in Venice

We don't have as frequent and easy internet access here in Venice, so this will be a brief note to let our readers know that we arrived safe and sound to Venice. There was the remnant of some high tide as we walked around after lunch, but the waters receded and we had a pleasant stroll around the city. Tomorrow, the Ca' Do'ro, the Jewish Ghetto, and maybe the Accademia. Saturday, Padua for the Scrovegni Chapel, San Antonio and the Bo, the University of Padua. Maybe even a Vivaldi concert on Saturday night--who knows!

Ciao from La Serrenissima--the Most Serene one--as Venice is known.

08 December 2010

Last Night in Florence

So tomorrow morning we will be heading to Venice and leaving Florence. Florence has been great, its nice to have stayed in a city for a longer time to get a chance to get familiar with the city. Overall its been rainy but not freezing cold, like we hear it is in Ohio. Today we went to see the David, which I had no clue how much detail would be in the model, you just dont see things like that today. We also were given time to go to any optional museums and a small group decided to go to a photography exhibit which was really neat. It had a range of photographers ranging in different subjects and topics. It was a different change of pace. Tomorrow we wake up bright and early to catch a train...with all our luggage so that should be fun :) So until Venice.....ciao!

Last night in Florence

Today was a rainy day in Florence, but the museums that we visited were really interesting. We visited the Uffizi and the Academia, which housed 100s of paintings and scuptures. Seeing the David in person was probably my favorite part. The detail that you can see on the sculpture is amazing. It was awesome to have the opportunity to experience this piece of work in person.
Tonight is our last night in Florence, and it ended great. Most of us in the group went out to dinner together at an awesome restaurant. The food was delicious and the service was great. After this a few of us went to get some gelato at Dr. MIlls' favorte place! While walking back we stopped to listen to music being played by a great musician that was sitting outside of the Uffizi...it really was a wonderful way to end the week here!
Tomorrow we will be heading to Venice! I heard it is cold and rainy there, but I am hoping for better weather!! I will update once I make it there.

Kailee :)

The end to Florence

Today marks the end of our last day in Florence. I'm kind of upset because I have enjoyed our stay here (especially due to the amazing hotel staff and the leather market didn't hurt either). Today was one of my favorite days yet. It was really cool to visit the Uffizi and be able to see some of the most famous works of art that we have studied all year in person. The Birth of Venus and the The Primavera by Botticelli were by far my favorite, and were much larger in person than I expected. It was interesting to be able to see the actual brush strokes and detail even in the grass of the paintings. You can not see those same details when looking at it on a powerpoint in class.
My favorite part of the day, and what I've been waiting the whole stay in Florence to see, was Michelangelo's DAVID!! Kat has seen him and told me I would not be disappointed with him in person, and boy was she right. He was one amazing specimen :) I could have sat there and stared at him all day. Once again, in class we discussed he was really tall, but I was just amazed at how tall he really was. I was just in awe and stared at him for most of the time that we were at the Accedemia. Seeing him in person was a completely difference experience. You could see all of the detail that Michelangelo put into sculpting him. His veins were visible in his arms and hands, you could see his achilles tendon, his ribs and sternum were sculpted, and his muscle definition was unbelievable. It was really cool to be able to see his back side (not for the reason you're thinking), but to be able to see his strap from his sling shot. I never really noticed that from the powerpoint in class. As Dr. Mills pointed out, it was also nice to be able to see the unfinished slaves in the room to see how rough marble sculpting really is, and helped me appreciate Michelangelo's effort in creating David.
In defense for the poor souls who ate Ben & Jerry's today, it was gelato, not ice cream. It was much smoother and creamier (or so I've been told). I also heard it was pretty tasty ;)

Last day in Florence

Florence has been an amazing experience. The weather was cold and rainy at first but has been warming up. I will take the rain over the snow back home.
Today we were in the Ufizi museum and I saw The Birth of Venus. I have seen a million posters of this, but none of them can compare to the real thing. There are so many elements of the painting that you don't notice until you are up close. We also saw David today. These two pieces of artwork are what I have been waiting for. The churches we have gone in and various museums have had gorgeous pieces of artwork, however these two are by far my favorites. They make someone like me, that knows nothing about art, admire the skill it takes to make something like that.
Erin and I went to Perugia on Saturday. The town is on a mountain and has an absolutely gorgeous view! When we first arrived we couldn't find a map and were rather disappointed. We didn't see anything other than a street with a few shops. We finally found a map and made our way to Piazza Novembre. On our way we stumbled across a market with many handmade jewelry and crafts. I definitely made a few purchases. The day turned out to be worth the 2 hour train ride and I learned a lot about myself. We made it there and back using public transportation in a country that we could not speak their language. The experience showed me how independent I am. It doesn't hurt that I got some amazing pictures and bought some gorgeous earrings.
Oh, by the way, I had some amazing GELATO today!


Ciao Firenze!

Well today is our last day in Florence, and it is bitter sweet. The city is absolutely gorgeous, I think I would live a very happy life if I could look at the Duomo every day. It is the most beautiful architecture I have ever seen! A lot has happened since my last post; I survived a day trip to Arrezo with Kat where we wandered around the gorgeous city which was filled with booths selling antiques. I saw my favorite works of all time: Botticelli's Birth of Venus and Primavera, I got to see Parmigianino's creepy Madonna and Child as well as Fra Filippo Lippi's serene one, and the wonderful Venus of Urbino all in the Uffizi Gallery and of course Michelangelo's DAVID in all of his glory in the Accademia Gallery. I look forward to dinner every night, it is always an adventure! My future husband, Elton, the front desk host at the Belletini Hotel recommended a restaurant to us that we have visited twice already, the most delicious pizza I have ever tasted in my life! And I don't think I have missed out on gelato a single day of the trip! We have hit up every gelato store in Florence (even Ben and Jerry's, we don't discriminate!!! Har har...) We have had a lot of fun at the leather and Christmas markets and we visited a meat market with some very interesting sights....? The weather has been mostly rainy but occasionally we get lucky and have nice weather for a few minutes. Last night we reveled in the warmth and dryness and wandered around the Ponte Vecchio for a while, taking some amazing pictures. I am looking forward to scrap booking! Tonight after dinner we stumbled across a tree lighting ceremony in the Piazza of the Duomo! There was a marching band with some feather-clad men throwing flags around, then they turned the lights on on the giant tree. I feel truly lucky to have witnessed it. The hotel here is so great, I hate to leave it! We have made several friends from all over the world during our night time hang-outs in the lobby. I am thrilled to move on to Venice, but it symbolizes our trip coming to an end. I am looking forward to meeting up with my Italian "brother" when we are in Venice. He was an exchange student living with my family for a year a few years ago and I haven't seen him since. Ciao for now, see you in Venezia!

Our last day in Florence

Today the strike ended and the museums were open again. We started out at the Uffizi, and got to see a lot of the great paintings that we have been talking about in class all quarter. It is so much greater to see the original works of art in person rather than just a replication or a picture. I really enjoyed seeing the 3 paintings by Leonardo, it was the first time I've seen an original work of art by him and it was an awesome feeling, it is hard to describe. This afternoon we went to the Accademia to see The David. It was amazing and so realistic and perfect. I think Andrea and I just stared up at it for about 10 minutes straight. After that Kailee, Melissa, Andrea and I went to the Palazzo Strozzi to see the Bronzino exhibit. I really liked one of the paintings called the Holy Family with St. John the Babtist. It is usually in the Uffizi, but they moved it to be in the Bronzino exhibit, and I'm really glad we were able to see it. We also went to a comtemporay photography exhibit at the Palazzo Strozzi, and that was really neat to see too. The way some people are able to catch certain moments and feelings in a photograph is amazing. Tomorrow we're leaving bright and early to catch a train to Venice. I'm excited to see the canals and see what Venice is like. Hopefully we don't have too much trouble pulling our luggage all the way to the train station. I think I might have packed too much! Ciao!

Arrivederci a Firenze!

Our last day in Florence has been a full one. We started out at the Uffizi, took a break for lunch, and then visited David in the Accademia. Then some of us went to the Archaeological Museum to visit some fantastic Greek, Roman, and (especially) Etruscan antiquities, while others went to see the Bronzino exhibit at the Palazzo Strozzi.

The day was somewhat marred by the fact that three students (who shall, so that their crime shall not be attributed to them) purchased ice cream from a Ben and Jerry's store right in front of the Duomo. Now, there's nothing wrong with Ben and Jerry's--I'm a fan of Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream, myself--but when one is in Italy, one should not eat at Ben and Jerry's. One should only eat gelato. I will take suggestions here for appropriate punishment for this horrible infraction.

We depart early tomorrow morning for Venice, where the weather (according to the forecast) will be clear but cold. We have enjoyed beyond words our stay at the Hotel Bellettini. For anyone looking for a clean, comfortable, friendly, affordable, well-located hotel in Florence, you could do a whole lot worse than the Hotel Bellettini. A big shout out to Elton whose hospitality knows no limits, and to all the other friendly staff here who have let us take over their lobby, and who have plied us with free hot chocolate and fantastic restaurant recommendations. Here's hoping that our hotel in Venice is as hospitable as the Hotel Bellettini!

A dopo.....

07 December 2010

Day of Climbing

There has been a strike the past few days in the Florence Museums. So, today we explored a few churches, which included San Miniato al Monte. And as the name suggests, it is on top of a mountain so we had a lovely morning of climbing. After that we grabbed some lunch and since everything was closed, we had the afternoon free. Everybody in the group explored some more of Florence. I decided that with the free time I wanted to do something I might not get a chance to do again. So, I hoped on a train and took the hour ride to Pisa. I realized upon getting off the train that people are right when they say the only interesting thing to see in Pisa is the Tower. So, I made my way through the city and saw the amazing sight of the Leaning Tower. I spent about two hours in Pisa and during this time I climbed the tower. The view from the top is AMAZING!!!! It was a little frightening because you can tell that it is tilted when you're on top of it. So, that was my day of climbing and now I am sore.



06 December 2010

San Gimignano

What a beautiful place. It reminded me of Assisi because it was such a small town. I think that this town is family oriented because you saw children with their parents everywhere you turned. San Gimignano was set in a medieval setting. There were castles and old stone buildings.

Besides the freezing weather and the little driblets of rain the scenery was amazing.There were small side streets that led to even more scenery and small houses and shops.

Jimmy and I started out at 9:15 to catch the train. We were on the train for 50 mins and we finally arrived there a hour later. While we were on the train we saw a lot of vineyards and they were all in a perfect straight line. We started out at the church of San Agostino because we made a wrong turn when we first started, where we saw frescos and paintings. After that we went to the Collegiata, and saw more frescos cycles, featuring Old Testament and New Testament stories. In the New testament we saw alot of depictions of angels and demons than we have before within
the frescos in Florence and Rome.

Next stop Venice :) Super excited for that
Ciao for now


On Saturday, one of our free days, Courtney, Jeff, and I all went to Siena for the day. We took a bus there and it took about an hour and a half to get there. While we were there we saw a lot of really cool things! We went in the Duomo which was a gothic church that had really cool green and white stripes inside. There were carved marble bible stories on the floor and one was by Donatello. We went in a crypt that was under the Duomo and it had brick walls with some partial frescos on them. We then went across the road to the Santa Maria Della Scalla. It had a really scary underground chapel and some more underground brick rooms. We also went to the baptistry that had some bronze sculptures by Donatello. After this we went in a museum and saw Duccio's Maesta that Jeff did his project on. The last thing we did was see the Campo where the Palio is run each year. We were really cold by this point so we all got on the bus and headed back to Florence. It was a really good day!!!!!! :)

Update from Lisa

Today we went to the Piazza Santissima Annunziata where we saw the Statue of Grand Duke Ferdinando I, The Spedale degli Innocenti, and the Santissima Annunziata Basilica. There was a story about the statue and it was about Ferdinando seeing a beautiful woman in the second window and they fell in love, but they both were to marry someone else. Well he wanted the statue built with the man's head looking a that same window.The Spedale degli Innocenti first European Orphanage was the first European orphanage where women would drop their babies off there with a tag on them so in the future if the women wanted to find their baby they could by the tag. We tried to go into the basilica twice, but there was a mass going on and we could not. We went to the Palazzo Medici today as well and it was interesting because we got to see a bed room that was still in the same place it was when people lived in it.

Dr. Johnson, Kat, and I went to the San Marco Church today after the Palazzo Medici. There I lit a candle for my Grandpap John because today was the ceremony and since I could not be with my family during the acctual ceremony, I had my own ceremony and prayed. I got pictures of the church and Kat got really good ones of me while I was lighting the candle. It was really emotional, but I am glad I did go to the church.


05 December 2010

From Courtney: A few observations

I have been making note of some of the differences between the U.S. and Italy and I thought i would share how they do some things in Italy with those of  you at home...
1. No shower curtains\doors with the showers and bathtubs or there is a curtain but you just shower on the floor of the bathroom
2. They use Military time
3. They meausure temperature in Celcius
4. There is pizza and Gelato (ice cream) on EVERY corner
5. lunch is around 1-2pm and dinner is around 8-9pm
6. you leave your hotel key with the front desk anytime you leave they hotel
7. most restaurants you do NOT tip at, there is a service charge added to your bill autoimatically
8. water is NOT free at restaurants, sometimes wine is cheaper than water lol
9. you can not wear your pj's or sweats to the hotel breakfast, you must be dressed nicely
10. public restrooms cost anywhere from 10-50 euros

Days off to explore!

The last two days we have been able to travel to a city we wanted and view or do pretty much whatever we stumbled upon. Yesterday, Ashley Wilson and I traveled to Perugia. As soon as we got off the train at the station, we immediately questioned why we chose this city. We were thinking we were crazy! Luckily, my mom's friend's son traveled abroad at the college in Perugia and he told me where to head to. Like many of the groups discovered, no one spoke English, and the information desk didn't even have a map! We managed to finda store to buy a map and we trucked uphill for two whole hours (no exagerration)! We thought we'd finally get a day to rest our legs, but boy were we wrong. We stumbled upon many helpful people that helped us follow the map. The last man pointed us to an escaltor to help us get up the hills of Perugia faster. As soon as we got off of the fourth or so escalator, we thought we had arrived in heaven! There were probably about fifty or more stands selling handmade jewelry and all sorts of crafts, in this gorgeous underground brick and stone cave-like area. We shopped for a long time and bought quite a few things. Finally we ended up in Piazza Novembre where the boy had told me to go. It was absolutely gorgeous as well. The sights were similar to those of Assisi, overlooking the beautiful hills. Once again, there was tons of shopping! We also stumbled across the Fontana Maggiore, which is considered to be one of the most beautful fountains of the 13th century. We also went into the Museum of S. Lorenzo. It was very interesting and you could go underground yet again and explore under all of the stone architecture. Even though we did get quite lost at the very beginning, it was totally worth it and we knew exactly why we picked that city in the end! After taking the bus back to the train station (we decided not to walk for two hours again) and hopping on the train, everyone was happy to see we made it back in one piece! They thought we wouldn't survive on our own!
Today was a very relaxing day. For once we got to sleep in. Afterwards, we had a failed attempt at finding a Harley Davidson store. We did find it, but of course it was closed since it was Sunday, and it was not in the best area ever to say the least :x We then shopped some more and had a nice dinner! I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings :)


Ok so this is the second attempt at doing this because blogger did not save my entire post only 1 sentence that I typed up so sorry but this is going to be shorter than it originally was....Yesterday K-Folg (aka Kelley Folger) and I traveled to Arezzo. Every weekend they have an antiques market that takes up a good portion of the streets and of the piazzas. We walked through the market and had a nice meandering day looking at antiques and historic sites. The first historic site we came upon was the Pieve di Santa Maria which has around 100 columns on the outside each one with a different design. We also got to see the Basilica of San Francesco, The Cathedral of Arezzo, The Plazzo Pretorio, Petrarch's house, and the Plazzo dei Priori which is now the town hall. The antiques market was also in the historic Piazza Grande and the area of the Plazzo delle Logge. We also happened upon the Passeggio del Prato a beautifl monument in a gorgeous park. The park also had a breathtaking view. We were pretty lucky and had a mostly sunny day until the end when it started to sprinkle and became quite cold. It was a great day and I would love to be able to do it again.

Bologna Trip

Yesterday, as part of an assignment for the class, we were divided into small groups (2 or 3) and asked to explore a new city within an few hours outside of Florence. The goal was to see how well we could interact with the locals and discover a new place. Lisa and I were paried up and chose to go to Bologna.

We took the train there, which I found was a lot easier than I expected. Once out of the train station we got a bit lost. Instead of heading into the city we headed out of it and had to stop into a small shop to get a map and ask for directions. Once we found our way we took a hike over to the University of Bologna. The univertisty was very different from Otterbein but can be compared to almost and NYU or CSU where a large campus is integrated into part of the city. The buildings of the university were scatered among a section of Bologna and all around were shops, offices and restaurants. One thing we found that I was impressed with was a whole side of a building covered with posters for school functions, apartments for rent, and job listings. I found this interesting since we usually post things on bulletin boards outside our small campus, but they used a side of a building and even graffiti was incorperated.

After visiting the university the rest of the trip was spend exploring the city's plazas. The city has its own unquie charm about it but overall I did not find it anything special and perfer Florence over it.

Lisa- Trip to Bologna


Well on Friday we got walk through Florence and it is a beautiful place. We went to the Medici Chapel, which was very interesting because after reading about the family in class and through my research about Machiavelli we finally got to see where the family is burried. Also, I got to see where Machiavelli's office was in the Palazzo di Vecchio and that was a great experience. I did my research project about him and his philosophy about politics.We went to see the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella and that was amazing because of all the artworks and the inside of the building. I did some shopping while I have been here and there is a veyr big leather market in Florence that sells some very nice leather items for good prices.

Yesturday Kayleigh and I went to Bologna on our own and that was a fun trip. We first got lost because we started walking in the opposite direction of Bologna, but stopped for directions and found our way. We went to see the University of Bologna, but there was not very many people out because we wanted to get some information about how their university works. We did find a main road that had tons of shopping and food places. The food was very very good and the stores where nice. We saw a statue of Neptune in the Piazza Maggore and a Garibaldi statue. I will be able to show you all the pictures so you know what I am talking about.

I hope everyone is alright and I miss everyone.Love every single one of you!


04 December 2010

Hello from florence!!

So much has happened since my last blog. First off, Assisi was amazing, so far it is my most favorite place. It was beautiful there and we were very lucky to have a sunny day. Florence has been awesome as well. I really like the feel of the city here...its not as busy and easier to get around in.
Today we went to Cortona for our group day trip. Andrea, Olivia, Melissa, and I all went together. Cortona reminded me of Assisi because it was a smaller hilltop town, which we found out was actually right near Assisi. The view here was beautiful and I loved walking around the small little streets. This trip was even more interesting because not as many people spoke english so it was a little more challenging, but it went really well. A lot of the shops were closed during certain parts of the day, but one shop that we found open was a hand crafted ceramic shop. The pieces that we saw were beautiful, and the woman working in the shop was very nice and told us all about the process of making the pieces. All in all today was a wonderful experience and I really enjoyed being able to go off on our own.
I am looking forward to tomorrow becauase we may be taking another day trip to a different city.

that's all for now.


P.s. and hello to my family and Logan...I miss you guys and love you!!! i hope you are enjoying the lovely weather in ohio!! :)


Today Kailee, Andrea, Melissa and I made it to and from Cortona just the 4 of us, and it was definitly an experience because mostly everyone we encountered today spoke little English. First of all at the train station the board didnt have our stop listed so we had to ask different people for help and a man in the international help office ended up writing down the terminal and train number. It was funny because even though we got there 20 minutes early we still had to run to catch our train. Then when we got there we had to get tickets for the way back and a taxi driver helped us figure out the machine. He barely spoke english either but I dont know what we would have done if he did not help us. Then the taxi driver drove us the rest of the way to Cortona because it is a little town on the top of a hill, and he was so nice and explained things about the city and where things were, and was really patient repeating himself in mostlyIitalian and a little english so we would understand. It was amazing how well he communicated with us and we barely spoke the same language. The city was beautiful!! It was freezing but thankfully it didnt rain. We went into one museum bc andreas painting that she chose for a project was there and then we just walked around the rest of the time. It was such a great experience and neat feeling just walking around the city own our own. I also really enjoyed communicating with the locals by mostly hand gestures and very little language. It was a great day and one I will never forget!!

A cold and rainy and, did I mention, cold day.

Many of the students have been keeping you updated about our doings, kind blog readers, so there's little for me to say but to confirm that we've been having a fantastic (and busy!) time. Today was the first free day and we scattered to the four winds. People went to Bologna, Siena, Cortona, San Gimignano, Arezzo, and Perugia. Everyone encountered cold today, but some had some sun. They all had adventures, and I'll let them tell you about them in more detail. Amy and I went to Bologna, and despite the cold there, enjoyed a few hours in the city. It was crowded with Christmas shoppers, for the most part, but we visited the medieval museum, the Archiginnasio (site of the original university) and Duomo.

Tomorrow there is interest in going off to Pisa, and if the weather turns a bit warmer, maybe we shall venture up to Fiesole--a hill town just outside of Florence--that promises fantastic views of the surrounding countryside.

Check out my pictures, linked on the top of the left column of the blog. These are just mine--somehow I'll figure out how to get some of the students' pictures up here as well.


A Day in Cortona

Today Kailee,Olivia, Melissa, and I survived our first day trip by ourselves to Cortona. Started the day off almost missing our train because when we arrived to the station we quickly realized our train had changed. Once we found out the change we quickly had to hurry to make it to our train which was just about to depart. Cortona is beautiful to say the least, its a small town high up on a Tuscany hill with an amazing view. Noone really spoke any english but I really enjoyed that part of it. We realized just how friendly and helpful the people of Cortona were. Although we didnt speak the same language they tried and so did we. For example we were catching the bus to head back to catch the train and we had no clue what time to expect the bus, which we had been waiting for a bit. We noticed a woman waiting for the bus and Kailee went over to her and asked her if she knew what time the bus came. The woman spoke no english and started to walk away, but then the woman stoped waved us over and pointed out the time for us on this sign. It was like this throughout the day from a taxi ride by an older man who again spoke little english but he helped us get our train tickets to come back later in the day, showed us where we needed to come to catch the train, and as we rode up to Cortona would stop and point out all the sites on our way up to the town. It truely has amazed me how welcoming and friendly the people of Cortona were today to us.

Cortona was also the town which had the piece of artwork in which I took a look at and wrote a paper during this past quarter. The piece was Fra Angelico's first annunciation he created. Getting to actually see the piece in person was a completly new experience, here I had been researching the painting and the artist and now it was here infront of me. Pictures on the internet do not even come close to what I actually saw today.

I feel very blessed to have experience today with 3 amazing people :)
Ciao! and hello to my family back home!

News from cortona :)

Today was our day trip to cortona. Andrea, Olivia, Kailee and i survived! The day started a little crazy because we got confused at the train station. Somehow we were supposed to know to look at the train headed for Rome? Thank goodness for non verbal communication! I hope it makes all of you laugh to know that we sprinted to get on our train within seconds of it's departure. Once we got to our final destination we looked for the bus to take us up the mountain to cortona, but an Italian taxi driver intercepted us. Don't worry, he was exteremely helpful!! He helped us get our return tickets and then gave us a short tour of cortona. He didn't speak any english, but he was really good at signaling and repeating words so that we all understood.

It was an amazing feeling to have the freedom to roam the city and figure everything out on our own. Cortona has a market on Saturdays that sold everything imaginable from fruits to sweaters. Once the market closed for the day everything in the city seemed to shut down. I even walked into a restaurant without realizing they weren't open :). The city and the views were gorgeous!!! Although we were practically mountain climbing all day long because the streets were so steep, I loved the atmosphere and the opportunity for adventures. We went shopping, ate lunch, and roamed around to take pictures. Did I mention it was beautiful?

Overall, I really enjoyed being able to tackle the obstacles we encountered today. Even though there is a language barrier, everyone thus far has been more than willing to help us. The culture here is so much different and I love it!!! Talk to you soon! Ciao!

Day in Siena

So far I have been to Rome, Assisi, and Florence on this trip, today I added the hill-town of Siena to the list. Courtney, Anna, and I hoped on a bus and travelled about one and a half hours south of Florence to this town with some amazing views. We spent a fair chunk of our time there exploring the Cathedral and the Museum beside it. We also went to another museum which features an underground church, which was both cool and slightly terrifying. After that we went and explored the city and stopped at the main Piazza where a huge horse race is held every year. After getting our gelatto, we decided the weather was too much to bear any longer and returned to the comfort of our Florentine hotel. I can't wait to get to explore more of Italy tomorrow on my second free day.


A Day In San Gimignano

About an hour from Florence, set in the Tuscan hills, among the grapes and olives, lies San Gimignano. Immediately I was reminded of Assisi, not only because of the view, but also because of the friendly atmosphere and brisk winds. It was raining when we arrived, Jazymne and I that is. We survived the rain. It was piercing to say the least, as the temperature struggled to hover above freezing. We made a wrong turn from the beginning, but that was no problem. It took less than 15 minutes to get from one end of the city to the other, so we started at the back and worked our way forward. We started at San Agostino, where we saw beautiful frescos and many fine paintings. We then ventured to the Collegiata, and saw more frescos cycles, featuring Old Testament stories, New Testament stories, and a vivid depiction of the seven deadly sins.

Aside from the art, the city was surrounded by medieval walls. Houses and apartments were set in the medieval structures, and shops and cafes were in plenty. Mothers could be seen with their children, and everyday life was happening all around. There were no problems getting to or from the city, and we met several Americans in our journey. It was very much a worthwhile experience, and I cannot wait to share pictures with my family, friends, and classmates.

Hope all are doing well back in the States!


03 December 2010


Well we have survived almost a full week in Italy and I am not sure I have fully grasped being here. Yes, the language is different, keys on the computer are different and customs are not what I am used to but somehow it all stills has that home feeling for me. We spent a few nights in Rome and the city was constantly alive with people, cars, motorcycles (which I loved!) and noise, so to me it was just like being on vaction in NYC. So even though Rome and NYC have very different customs I still see similarites between the two, which makes me remeber we are all the same and what we percive as different is the only thing that makes us so.

This week we will be in Florence, a much smaller town but still has the energy of a bigger city. I am off to Bologna tomorrow for a day trip and looking forward to comparing all three cities to home.

Ciao for now!

Hi from Florence :)

It still hasn't hit me that we are finally here after waiting so long for this trip. I can honestly say the sights I have seen are literally breathtaking. My pictures never seem to justify what i have actually seen . So far my favorite town has been Assisi. I love Rome and Florence, but Assisi is unlike anything I have ever seen. It's hard to imagine that people actually live there everyday with those views. Assisi is home to st. Francis's basillica which was absolutely beautiful. St. Francis's relics are housed in the basement of the church, and those were neat to see especially since I did my project about him. Rome was a crazy city, where traffic laws are optional. Florence is a bit more roomy ifyou will and today I saw my first vegetable stand where produce didn't cost five euros per kilogram. Today we also went to a market which reminded me a lot of findlay market in cincinnati. Anyway, tomorrow is our day trip and Olivia, Kailee, Andrea and I are off to cortona :) talk to you soon!


Twenty-four hours have passed since departing Assisi and arriving in Florence. I was in fear of a hangover; Assisi was the most intoxicating site I've ever witnessed. I couldn't imagine anything ever comparing to it's beauty. Although Florence is not as breathtaking and naturally beautiful, it is a rather brilliant city. The historical sites are offset by surrounding hills that look like they were handcrafted by the great artists themselves. The clouds hang just above the hills, as if to mingle with them. The view from atop the Duomo offers this site. Climbing St. Peter's was a much greater chore than climbing the Duomo. Similar in height, yes, but the structure of the stairs made the latter a much more pleasant climb. Before the Duomo we started our morning at the Medici chapel, where we saw tombs and burial sites for some of Florence's most powerful men and works by one of the greatest, Michelangelo. We also visited San Lorenzo, San Maria Novella, explored the markets, and found ourselves learning about public transportation courtesy of Dr. Mills.

Compared to Rome, Florence feels much more genuine. A song by the Arcade Fire tags the line, "it feels like I've been living in a city with no children in it, a garden left for ruins by a billionaire outside of a private prison." That was my exact thought for Rome, beautiful but modern. It seemed deprived of families and simplicity. It felt very much like New York. There were amazing historical sites, but they were mostly ruins of a former life, a former Rome. Florence, however, has the big city feel but also has those essential features to make for the suburban life. The view from atop the Duomo justifies this as I could see homes and neighborhood, and real life happening. Florence has less tourists, a more lively atmosphere, and the perfect balance of lifestyles. It feels a lot likes Columbus.

Well it's time explore Florence more! Until next time!

02 December 2010

Under the Tuscan sun

We are currently in Florence. I like this city so much better than Rome already. We have had very little time to explore but there is a lot of shopping that I am very excited to tackle. So far the trip has been great. We have seen so many beautiful sights. Today we went to Assisi which was absolutely gorgeous. The language barrier hasn't been as difficult as I imagined, however this keyboard is different so please ignore any typing errors. I am very excited to get the ball rolling in Florence this week. Ciao!

When In Rome...or Florence

Well we have moved on from Rome to Florence! Rome was not exactly what I expected, but still incredible. I learned a lot; like how to buy a bus ticket and get on a bus without chaperones guiding you. If you hesitate outside of a restaurant, the host will offer you free champagne! Cars/vespas park and drive on the sidewalks, so watch where you're going (cough, cough...Jazmyne!) And gelato is AMAZING! Today we spent the day in Assisi, which was absolutely INCREDIBLE! The view alone was worth the entire cost of the trip. Even the bus ride held amazing views and sparked fantasies of moving to Italy forever! Florence seems promising so far, I can't wait to get out and explore tomorrow...and go shopping ;) Ciao!

Ciao from Erin! :)

Italy has been amazing so far!! The first day was very tiring with all the rain, sightseeing , and most importantly the time difference. Rome was cool, but it seemed more like New York City with all the traffic, graffiti, and busyness. The trip to Assisi was breathtaking today! The scenery was so green, with hills with beautiful buildings on them, and tons of sheep grazing. Assisi was even more beautiful than I expected. We were able to see the San Francesco church which Dr. Johnson kept telling us we wouldn't be able to see through all the fog. It seriously looked like it was a scene from out of a movie. We've only been in Florence for the night, but I can tell I'm already going to love it. It's a lot more calm than Rome and I don't fear Jazmyne almost getting hit by cars as often :) It's time to go to bed to rest my sore legs from those 551 steps we climbed from the Dome yesterday. Goodnight and miss you all from home :)

"Roaming" in Rome/Assisi

Buon Giorno,

The first three nights in Rome were amazing!!! The first night was rainy and everyone was really tired because of the long flight. We saw a lot of amazing statues and paintings. I also saw my magnificent fresco in the Vatican which was Mount Parnassus. The trip too Assisi was gorgeous!!! It was not foggy like it was last year, it was just right. I even brought some soap which smell amazing. Erin brought soap that smells like cake....YUM =) I also saw a gorgeous man in Assisi, he was tall with a cute little bun. If only I took a picture SIGH. :) We are now in Florence which is a lot different from Rome. Rome was very busy which is kind of like New York City, whereas Florence is like Westerville. We are going to spend a seven days here in Florence, I'm pretty excited. Next is Venice. That's it for now!!


By the way,
Gelato is AMAZING!!!!!

A day in Paradise

We took a day trip to Assisi today! It was amazing. It is this small town up in the hills/mountains and it is between Rome and Florence. It was the prettiest place and i guess we totally lucked out on the weather, it was pri 50 and sunny most of the day :) We went to the Church of St. Francis and St. Claire, went in various shops and admired the amazing atmosphere and streets and buildings of Assisi. I am having a wonderful time but i miss you family and nick!! I cant wait to tell you all about this experience. Its also really cool because we as a class are getting so comfortable and close with one another.
More updates later, we are in Florence for the next week :) Ciao!

01 December 2010

Day 2 in Rome

Our second day in Rome was very eventful. We started out at the Vatican. The ceiling of the Sistine chapel was amazing along with the rest of the Vatican. Then we went to St. Peters Basilica. It blew my mind how enormous the inside of the church was. From the outside I was not expecting it to be like that on the inside, but it was beautiful. My favorite part of the day was the view of Rome from the top of the Dome of St. Peters, after we all got our workout from climbing what seemed like the never ending number of stairs, but it was worth it. We also went to the Pantheon, and the Plazza Navona. We all through in our coins into the Trevi Fountain, which was bigger than I expected. We went to the Spanish steps and it was neat too see the city lit up at night. Tomorrow we are headed to Assisi and then on to Florence, I am excited to see how they both compare to what we have experienced so far in Rome.

Also I had Italian gelato for the first time and it was delicious!!


We made it!

Well we survived day 2 in Rome, and so far our days have been packed with site seeing. Its a whole new experience actually getting to visit these sites that we have talked about in class. Today we went to the Vatican, which was amazing to say the least, there was constantly something to look at. After the Vatican we headed to St Peter Basilica, it was crazy how enormous the structure was. Then all of us got a chance to climb to the top of the dome, by the time we reached the top all of us were out of breath but the view was worth it. Tomorrow we head to Assisi and then on to Florence...and until then ciao :)

Our first full day in Rome...and a full day it was!!!

We're at the end of our first full day in Rome, and a full day it was! It started with an early morning metro ride to the Vatican Museums, where we spent a fantastic few hours: we had the Sistine Chapel pretty much to ourselves (though the overcast skies made it not as bright inside as we would have liked), and then wandered in and out of the Raphael Rooms, the collection of ancient Greek and Roman statuary, and the hall of tapestries. We ambled over to St Peter's square and went inside the Basilica. We climbed the many hundreds of steps to the dome of St Peter's for amazing views of the (wet!!) city below. After lunch, we walked across the Ponte Saint Angelo and took in the Christmas market at the Piazza Navona, saw the Pantheon, the amazing ceilings at San Ignatio, threw coins in the Trevi Fountain, climbed the steps of the Quirinale Hill to see the residence of the President of Italy, took a brief rest at the hotel before heading over to the Spanish Steps....and all this before dinner!

Take a look at the pictures (link on the left hand side of the blog) for some evidence of what we were up to!

Tomorrow, we head off to Assisi for a few hours before laying our heads at our hotel in Florence. It probably will be a day or two before we have reliable internet access again, so enjoy the pictures in our absence. And thanks to the Hotel Aberdeen in Rome for free wifi! If you're ever in Rome, do consider staying at the Hotel Aberdeen!

Ciao a tutti and buona notte!

Italy Update from Lisa!!!

Salve, Well obviously I arrived safely in Italy and I am now in Rome, but I will be leaving tomorrow morning for Florence. So far I am having a blast in Italy and the food and wine is amazing. I have been to the Colesseum, the Vatican, Trive Fountain (Where I threw a coin in and saw an old man stealing coins from it), I climb St. Peter's Dome, which was 551 steps. I have been to many other places too. The traffic here is crazy. No one cares who or what's in their way you just have to move. They also do not care where they park because they take up almost the whole street and on sidewalks. But overall it has been fun and interesting. To my family I love you all and miss.

Lisa Shoemaker

I'm In ITALY!!

So it's day 2 in Italy! The trip has been amazing so far, just as I had expected. We have already seen so much in Rome so far...well what seems like a lot I know there is MUCH more to see! I'd have to say St. Peters Cathedral was probably my favorite...we climbed to the very tip top of it. The view from the top was absolutely amazing!! It overlooked all of Rome it was such a great experience. Anyway, I have to get going because we are about to go climb the Spanish Steps! Tomorrow morning we leave for Florence and stop by Assisi...I'm super excited!!

P.s. The drivers here are INSANE..
P.S.s The gelato was very good!!

Okay talk to everyone soon!