My Week Under the Tuscan Sun
It seems a bit disingenuous to call my week in Italy over spring break one spent under the sun, when in reality it rained for most of the week. But rain or shine, my week in Italia went down as one of the best weeks of my life.
I traveled to Italy with my QU301 class, which focuses on the Italian perspective in the global community. We learned Italian and researched Italian business prior to our trip. We also studied the country’s culture and lifestyles. Our professor Janet Bahgat previously led another class to Egypt, and took ours to Italy for the first time.
Day 1: My class arrived in Florence after a day of travel. Before leaving New York, I accidentally left my camera in my suitcase, thinking I would take it out at JFK airport. I immediately opened my suitcase in Florence and noticed my camera was gone. That wasn’t the way I wanted to begin my week in Italy. Note: When traveling, especially to another country, it’s important to have everything valuable on your person at all times.
We were picked up at the airport by our tour guide Martin, who stayed with us for the whole week. Allora. That evening, we had our first dinner as a group. To say the class enjoyed the occasional glass of Prosecco is an understatement.
Day 2: We traveled to Pisa for the morning where we visited the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. High school students flooded the piazza that day, celebrating 100 days left until the end of school. It looked like a scene from May Weekend at QU. Guys were running around pinching girls’ behinds for good luck, and girls were wearing obnoxious bright red lipstick in order to leave lip marks on the guys’ cheeks.
That night, my class went into the countryside of Tuscany where we ate all of the courses in a traditional Tuscan meal. We were served bread and antipasto to eat before the meal. The meal consisted of multiple pastas and meats. Interestingly, pasta and meats are eaten separately and not together in Italy. Dessert consisted of cake and Tiramisu, as well as tiny cups of cappuccino. Real Italian cuisine is delicious and has forever spoiled the fake Italian chain restaurants for me.
Later, a portion of us went to a nightclub called Yab. It’s different from the clubs in North America, but it’s interesting to point out how influential American music is around the world.
Day 3: This was our last full day in Florence. We walked around the city and had the opportunity to observe the beauty of it. We saw the Duomo, which is the cathedral church. We also saw Michelangelo’s famed “David” sculpture. Florence is famous for its gold and leather, so we stopped in several shops. We traveled to the famous leather market, which is a long strip of vendors selling various goods, including jewelry and leather.
Day 4: We spent the day on our bus going from Florence to Rome. We stopped in Assisi for a few hours where we visited St. Francis’s Basilica.
Day 5: During our first full day in Rome, we visited the Vatican museums and observed the gorgeous beauty of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. We walked through St. Peter’s Square, to visit St. Peter’s Basilica where we saw Michelangelo’s “Pieta.” The marble structure features a just-crucified Jesus Christ lying in the arms of the Virgin Mary. That evening, my class celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at an Irish pub, Scholar’s Lounge, where we reunited with several Quinnipiac students abroad in Rome for the semester.
Day 6: We explored the grand piazzas of Rome. We stood at the Spanish Steps, made several wishes at the famed Trevi Fountain and walked around the Pantheon.
Day 7: Our last full day in Rome brought us to the Roman Forum (the political center during the Roman Republic) the Arch of Constantine, the Arch of Titus and the Coliseum, the largest amphitheater built in the Roman Empire. Luckily, after a week without a camera, I was presented with a disposable one to record the remaining 28 hours of our trip. Several of us went on an underground tour of Rome led by our fearless guide Guarina and her large yellow ribbon hoisted above the crowd to keep the group together. The last night in Rome, half of us went to Campo de’ Fiori, a popular nighttime hangout for young people in Rome.
Day 8: Our final day in Italy was the saddest. I got breakfast one final time, which consists of croissants and cappuccino there. We traveled nine-and-a-half hours from Rome to New York.
I miss Italy and all of its intrinsic beauty. I regret not studying abroad in Florence because I fell in love with the city, the food and the people. My class became another family to me. I already miss certain classmates who hogged several seats on the bus, and others who found everything we did “super duper.” I know my experiences wouldn’t have been the same without them.
Photo credit: Alessandra Screnci