Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I had the opportunity to study abroad in Italy during the month of May. I was the only Art major (Graphic Design) studying with Architecture and Engineering students who I had never met before. I'm glad that I didn't let that discourage me from going on the trip, because it was an experience I will never forget. We had a great time for 3 weeks, starting in Rome and traveling to Sicily, Milan, Genoa, Pisa, and Florence. If you ever have a chance to study abroad, I would strongly recommend it! Not only did I meet awesome people on the trip, but seeing ancient Italy in person was surreal.
After Pisa, we made our way to Florence. As an art major, Florence was one of the best places to visit. I went to see the David (shown) after I went to the Uffizi museum (one of the most famous museums in the world). Even though we waited in line for about an hour, it was definitely worth it. I have been a fan of Michelangelo and his work for some time, and this is one of his most famous works. The David is huge, probably about 15 feet tall.

Seeing the leaning tower of Pisa in person is like seeing the Eiffel Tower in person, it's so famous and you've seen it so many times but seeing it first hand is almost unreal. The leaning tower is next to the baptistry and the church. When you take a step back you can see how far off balance the tower is compared to the other buildings. Apparently the whole piazza is sinking, and even the church has had extra levels added on to make it straight. The tower was closed in 1989 because of safety reasons but has opened back up again to climb, definitely worth it!
When we were staying in Genoa, we took a train to Cinque Terra which is along the coast. Cinque Terra means "Five Lands" and is one of the most beautiful places! This is the first of five cities, and also had the best beach which we took full advantage of. The weather was great and water wasn't too cold so we got to go swimming in the Mediterranean. This was my favorite day of the whole trip because we got to relax on the beach and take our time doing whatever we wanted.
This is the coast of Genoa, which is in North West Italy. I'm not sure of what the poles sticking out are used for but you can see this almost anywhere in Genoa considering most of Genoa is located on a mountain.
While we were in Milan, we encountered soccer mania! Apparently, the day we got to Milan was the day of the soccer finals between the Inter-Milan and Munich soccer teams. On the way to the main piazza (shown) we kept seeing more and more fans and we had no idea what was going on until we arrived in the middle of it all! There were hundreds of fans with their air horns and fireworks...definitely a once in a lifetime experience!
This is the view from on top of the Milan Cathedral, 4th largest church in the world. This is probably one of my favorite pictures from the entire trip!
We were able to stop in Milan for a few hours, and this is the Milan Cathedral in the main piazza. This was by far the most gorgeous cathedral I have ever seen. We got to climb to the top (which was not nearly as bad as climbing up St. Peter's!) and I think that the architecture on top is even better than what you can see here.
Some of us were just determined to go swimming! We spent the day in Syracusa, Sicily, and we were all pretty excited to see the water. Even though it was freezing, these are a few of my classmates who decided to jump in...off of a rock!
This is the main piazza in Catania, where we spent many hours sketching. We visited this spot every day for the 5 days that we were here. Most of the dark stone on these buildings are lava rocks from Mt. Etna, which is very close to here. The people in Catania were so nice and friendly, we were all joking about "Southern Hospitality" being relevant not only in the U.S. but in other places as well!
Ahhh the sunrise in Catania, Sicily. After Rome, we took an overnight ferry boat to Sicily. Our ferry boat had been delayed several hours in Rome, and after spending the night in the terminal waiting for the ferry, many people got seasick on the boat! Needless to say, this was a relieving sight after getting back onto land. And it was much warmer (and NOT rainy) so arriving in Sicily was like a new beginning to our trip.
This is the Trevi Fountain in Rome, probably one of the most famous fountains in the world! We saw this on our last day in Rome (which rained ALL day) and even though it was raining you just can't let that stop you from sightseeing. Although Rome was the coldest and rainiest city that we encountered, it definitely had the most famous art and architecture.
As soon as I stepped into the Vatican museum I made my way towards the Sistine Chapel. I had heard that if you get there early then it's not as crowded, and that turned out to be true. I could have stayed in there forever! I have recently taken a class called the "Myth of Michelangelo" and was able to explain the background of some of his famous paintings in the Chapel. Although pictures weren't allowed, I just HAD to sneak this one in!
This photo is of St. Peter's Basilica and was taken on our first day in Italy in Vatican City. Standing in the middle of St. Peter's square surrounded by so much beautiful architecture was breathtaking.