Assisi

Our group thoroughly enjoyed a short visit in Assisi and wish we had more time in this town! 

This town has a very small population and is located on a hill. We arrived at night and had to hike up this hill to get to our hotel. The nightlife was the complete opposite from Rome and Assisi as we arrived at 9:30 pm to silent streets. 
This next morning our group was in complete awe of the stone buildings, wooden shutters, arches, and personality of the town. We got to go into 4 cathedrals here, including St. Francis Basilica, which was absolutely beautiful!! We got to see work here by Cimabue and Giotto, artists we had studied. 
Our group had the afternoon to explore the town, which everyone took advantage of: finding hidden side streets, climbing up brick stairs, and going to see a castle at the top of the stairs. Mostly everyone got a great view one way or another viewing the Italian countryside from a high up view. It was breathtaking! 
Later that day after a short siesta, our group went to a nearby church to attend a service (with no specific religion targeted) where we sat in a beautiful room listening to nuns sing into a microphone hidden in another room. This was for the purpose of absorbing the song and what it means to you without having the whole show right in front of you. It was really powerful. 
We all had a really wonderful time in Assisi, and everyone hopes to go back someday! 
 
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Naples

After Rome, the group made the journey to the second stop of the trip – Naples! Naples had a totally different feel from Rome so we were all interested in getting to know this new area.

Our first stop in Naples was Herculaneum. Herculaneum is one of the oldest ruins left after Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. We had a blast walking around the ruins and seeing their homes and businesses. One of the coolest parts of the ruins was the bathhouse. The bathhouse was a super elaborate building with changing rooms for both males and females, different rooms like the frigitarium and tepidarium with different temperatures of the bath water, and gorgeous mosaics lining it all. 

After that we went to the MAV mueseum which was an interactive museum that allowed our class a glance on the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. We got to wear 3D glasses and stand on a moving platform to watch a video to watch a detailed video before and after the eruption. Then we walked through an exhibit to learn more about the life and culture of the people who lived in Herculaneum. 

After the afternoon free to explore, most of us gathered right before sunset to head to Castel Nuovo which was right down the street from our hotel. We were able to watch the sunset from the top of this amazing castle. The view of the Naples harbor is certainly one we will always remember! 

The next morning we went to the archeological museum to see more tools that people in both Pompeii and Herculaneum used in their day to day lives. We also viewed mosaics and learned that mosaics were used to give people directions since many couldn’t read/didn’t speak the same language. For example, a mosiac of a dog could be translated to “cave canem” or beware of the dog. 

Our last stop was Capo di Monte which was a summer home for 18th century French aristocrats. It was absolutely stunning and we were all in awe of the ceilings and chandeliers. We also were able to see some works of medieval art that we learned a lot about in class.

The trip to Naples was short but it was full of beautiful views, incredible works of art and of course delicious pizza! 

When in Rome… 

After most of us had a sleepless 8 hour flight, we safely arrived in Rome, Italy!  Our tour guide and coach bus awaited us and took us right to Tarquinia for our first adventure! 

Immediately, we went to the Etruscan tombs in search of information regarding how these people lived and what they valued. We found themes of family, competition, and celebration within these tombs. We also noticed many similar patterns on the walls of the tombs that corresponded with these themes and values. 

Following this, we continued our Etruscan studies at a museum in central Tarquinia. Our group was intrigued by these artifacts in this museum that were originally found in the tombs. We then had 4 hours to get our first “taste” of Italy! 

We arrived safely to our hotel in Rome. 

The next day, our group of 25 was split into 5 different groups and given a destination with famous artwork to find. Some of these included Caravaggio’s Crucifixion of St. Peter at the Piazza del Popolo and the Crypt.  We all split up all over the city to find these destinations and each got to explore different parts of Rome–including taking the crowded metro, how exciting!! 

Today, we got to see the Colosseum, the Arch of Titus & Constantine, and the Roman Forum. It was really great to see such historical parts of Rome that we learned about in our pre-course. We had the rest of the afternoon to ourselves to do more exploring which we took full advantage of- to visits to the Pantheon and Circus Maximus!

We have been loving Rome and can’t wait to tell you about our next adventures!