Following the final long weekend of independent travel, students embarked on the last group trip of the semester: the Northern Italy trip. Throughout the six-day trip, students, faculty, and staff visited Assisi, Florence, and Venice. The town of Assisi gave the trip a peaceful and prayerful beginning, as students were given tours of the Basilica of Saint Francis, where the saint’s remains are, as well as optional excursions to the Hermitage of St. Francis and the church of San Damiano.
After only one night in Assisi, the class headed off to Florence, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and home of the famous Medici family. Upon arrival, students were given orientation tours by staff and faculty, to help them get acquainted with Florence’s layout and also to point out major landmarks, such as Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo), Palazzo Vecchio, and Ponte Vecchio. The students then had a free afternoon, which many used to climb the Duomo for an incredible view of this famous Tuscan city. The following day, faculty and staff led tours of various sites, for which students signed up prior to the trip, giving them a chance to learn about places more particularly suited to their interests. Students had the option of visiting the Medici chapels, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Santa Croce, Palazzo Vecchio, San Marco, Museo Stibbert, Palazzo Pitti, Giardini di Boboli, or the newly renovated Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. After these tours, students had time to explore leather markets, window-shop along the Ponte Vecchio, and visit other museums, before attending a site visit to one of the greatest museums in the world: the Galleria degli Uffizi, where the class saw some of the most famous Italian paintings, such as “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli. The following day, before heading further north into the Veneto region, there was a visit to see Michelangelo’s famous “David” statue at the Galleria dell’Accademia, where Dr. Robinson discussed the artist’s innovation in this particular work.
The final leg of the Northern Italy trip was in Venice, where the Fall class was completely taken by the beauty of this famous city on water, riding vaporetti (water taxis) along the Grand Canal and exploring the maze of tiny streets. Once again, students were led on walking tours, stopping by places like the Basilica di San Marco and the Rialto Bridge! The next day, they broke into groups for smaller site tours of their choosing, to see one of the following places: San Giorgio Maggiore, Ca’ d’Oro, Ca’ Rezzonico, Peggy Guggenheim Museum, Museo Correr, the Venetian Ghetto, or the Gallerie dell’Accademia. After one final night in Venice, the 2016 Fall Rome class was on its way back to the Due Santi campus, making a stop in the university city of Bologna for lunch!