After arriving in Rome we checked into our hotel. It was only early afternoon so we all went out to buy our last minute souvenirs. It was nice being back in Rome and a place we already knew the ropes on. Walking around we didn’t need a map to navigated our way. We were on our own for the rest of the day. For dinner we ate in campo de fiori. After we enjoyed our last night in Italy and had a blast in Rome! This trip was amazing and I learned so much! Arrivederci!!
Today in the last day! Time flew by. Driving to Pompeii was neat because of the scenery and driving right by the coast. When we arrived in Pompeii we bought sandwiches to save for later. Walking through the ruins of Pompeii was very neat and at the same time weird because of how old it was and how so many people used to live there. The city people were killed and the city was buried by Mt. Vesuvius erupting 3 times. We walked down all the streets and into some houses. There are 3 amphitheaters in the city walls. After Pompeii we went to the Greek temples. The ancient greek Doric temples were in good condition. Very neat to see the different style. When we arrived back at the farmhouse we had our last group dinner. Dinner was amazing! We were able to have their famous buffalo mozzarella! Dinner consisted of pasta, meat, potatoes, and strawberry cake for dessert. After dinner we played cards and went swimming. I can’t believe the trip is almost over!
We had breakfast on the rooftop. Went to check out the theatre Massimo first thing before we left. Our tour was Italian so Dr. Erdogmus filled us in on the important facts. In the theatre there is this practice room, where if you stood right in the middle and spoke, your voice would bounce back and echo in the same spot. We had a bus ride to the airport and flew back to Rome. From Rome we got back on our bus with our luggage and drove to Paestum. We had a group dinner at the farmhouse we were staying at in Paestum. The group 3 course dinner was delicious. After dinner we all played cards.
Had breakfast this morning on the rooftop our hotel, the Crystal Palace. Today was very hot and sunny. First stop was a castle called Palazzo Reale. Inside we walked through a beautiful chapel, Palatina. The chapel had a lot of gold and frescos. After we walked through a shorter museum and the level below the castle. Next we went to the main cathedral. Very pretty church with 2 main towers. For lunch we decided to have a picnic on the beach. Walking towards the shore we needed to pick up something for lunch. The ocean was soooo blue! And the cool breeze cooled every off. After we went Theatre Massimo but it closed at 3 so we decided to come back the next morning before we leave. Tonight was a group dinner and we went to a restaurant that Jeff knew about. The dinner was delicious. First we had octopus! Then shrimp risotto, swordfish rolls, and a delicious homemade ice cream type dessert. After dinner we went back to meet the cook, which was the owners mother, how cute! After dinner we went explored the town.
After breakfast we explored St. Francis of Assisi cathedral. This was built right on the edge of town on a steep hill with the monastery right below the church. Next we went to a little church right in the center piazza, the style on the outside was Romanesque and Baroque inside. Next we kept walking up to the main duomo church. We could see the large castle at the top of the mountain city. After we stopped for lunch, I had a slice of tasty vegetable pizza. The bus ride to Rome was about 3 ½ hours. Went to the airport with only our small bags for the 2 nights in Palermo. Getting on the plane was interesting. Everyone was pushing to get on the plane fast and to get their ‘checked’ bags by the flight attendants. Our flight had some technical problems before we took off but we then made it to Palermo!
After breakfast we climbed the tower by the museum. The view from the top was amazing! Next we toured the torture museum. I went in for a while, but I wasn’t a fan. I walked around for a bit and shopped. San Gimignano is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Italy. We met back by the hotel to gather our luggage and get on the bus for Siena. The ride to Siena was very short. Siena is another preserved medieval town. Dr. Erdogmus explain how each different section of Siena has their own flag. We went to the seashell shaped piazza and climbed the tower. After we went to the Siena duomo cathedral. This cathedral was supposed to be huge, but was never finished. After we had the bus ride to Assisi to stay the night and next morning. After arriving we set out to find a restaurant. It was a little later in the evening and we weren’t exactly sure where we were walking. Awhile later we found the ‘best pizza’ in Assisi, and it was good! Our room had two terraces even one out of the bathroom.
We left Milan this morning by bus to Pisa. The bus ride was a nice change of travel. I loved just looking out the window at the scenery. We arrived in Pisa 4 hours later and took a shuttle to the center of the town. All three sites we were seeing today were all right by each other. First we took a break for lunch. Then climbed the tower of Pisa, we has a full 360 degree view of Pisa from the top. Very pretty with the mountains in the distance. Next we toured the Romanesque style church and baptistery. While in the baptistery, a man started to sing and the whole building echoed. It was so loud I got the goose bumps listening to him. Of course we had to take out tourist pictures with the tower of Pisa. The bus ride from Pisa to San Gimignano was less than an hour. San Gimignano is by far one of my favorite cities. Our hotel was in the main piazza. Our room had an amazing view with a little walkout terrace. For dinner we met at the hotel restaurant. Dinner was delicious! After dinner we walked up to a lookout point. Ryan and I had to pinch each other , “are we really here right now?” . The best part of this town is that it is so quiet! No sirens, traffic, breaking glass at 5am. It was a good day.
Today was our second free day in Milan. I slept in till 11! We all hung out in the hostel most of the day catching up on journaling, napping, or playing cards. In the afternoon I had a lot of journaling to catch up on and organized my suitcase for our trip tomorrow morning to San Gimignano. Today the weather is gloomy and overcast. For dinner Rachel, Emily, Drew, Ryan, Steve, and myself cooked pasta. We went to the grocery store and picked up all the ingredients. We made pasta/sauce, salad, dessert, and garlic bread for only 3 euro a piece. While we were cooking dinner we saw a rainbow after it quit raining. After dinner we played cards for a while. After we walked around Milano.
Today was our first free day. Everyone is traveling to Venice from Milan. Mostly everyone took the train at 8am. It seemed like it was a rush to get to the train station on time to buy our tickets. But really barely anyone was on our train. I was a nice challenge to go out on our own and plan our day in Venice. Our train car was very empty. For the whole 2 hours we played cards. Arriving in Venice was very pretty. We decided to split up into smaller groups for the day because it would be impossible to do everything everyone wanted to see/do in 1 day. For the day Ryan, Emily, Rachel, Steven, Drew, and myself all stayed by each other. First we just wandered around exploring walking into cute shops. We bought some quick lunch at the market and bought some souvenirs/gifts. We walked over the famous bridge called the Rialto Bridge over the canal. I found a reasonable prices glass shop and bought gifts for my family back home. Next we headed towards the shore and passed by the church San Marco. It took awhile but we manage to purchase a round trip water taxi to Lido island. 4 stops on the taxi and we made it to the island! We stayed at the beach for about 3 hours. We sat down for dinner at a pizzeria in Venice before we had to catch our train at 7:50. No one wanted to leave the beach. I definitely needed a day to just relax and regroup from our busy days. It was an awesome day, definitely worth the trip!
Today was filled with museums and churches. First we went to the national Science museum. Here there were many displays of Leonardo da Vinci’s career and interactive displays. There were displays on food, telecommunication, television, music broadcasting, mining, recycling, robotics, Faucault’s pendulum, chemistry, gum and rubber. I thought that this was a very interesting museum and one of my favorites so far on the trip. Our next stop was the church called San Lorenzo. Here is the largest dome in Milan. The church is a round plan not a basilica plan like we have been seeing so far this trip. The church has a Byzantine and Roman style. Also in the church is an upside down pillar that we were looking for. The upside down pillar represents something about what was on the land before the church was built. Next we walked towards duomo Milan to get some lunch at Galleria Vittoria Emanuelle II. Which has the symbols of the fours cities on the floor including Milan, Rome and Florence. If you turn your heel on the Milan symbol it is said to bring symbol it is said to bring you good luck. Of course I did it and so did others. Right next to the Galleria was a smaller piazza called Piazza alla Scala where there is a sculpture of Leonardo di Vinci in the center. Next we walked across the street Teatro alla Scala and theater museum. Here we got to see the opera stage area were everything is performed and tour the museum including lists of names of people in the plays and many little things like musical interments and a lock of hair from someone. Next went to Castello Sforzesco. Which was gothic and later Renaissance. It had many different museums inside including an Egyptian museum and a furniture museum. The museums included the last and unfinished Rondanini Pieta by Michelangelo. Our last stop for the day my favorite was Santa Maria delle Grazie. This church has Da Vinci’s last supper frescos in it. They only let 20 people in every 10 minutes. The painting is not exactly in the church but in the monastery complex right next to the church. The paint was huge and perfect. Even the door that took out Jesus’ feet that was put in for a door to the kitchen was there. Of course everyone wanted pictures of it but everywhere we go is “NO PHOTO”. Big and little Steve tried to take a picture of it, and he left the flash on! Of course he was going to get caught. The people ran over and made him delete the photo he just took. Matt also tried to get a picture of it on his phone and was also caught by the people running the place. After that I definitely was not going to try to take and pictures. For dinner we did not have any specific plans and Ryan, Rachel, Emily, Patrick and I went to the store to pick up some pasta, bread, meat, and sauce to make a pasta feast. It was fun to make the dinner and was delicious. After dinner made the final plans for our trip to Venice tomorrow!