On the morning of March 12, 2017, nine LRA Art Appreciation students left San Antonio for Italy. We landed in Milan the next morning after a eight hour plane ride from Washington DC, and drove to a small town on the Adriatic Sea to stay the night before the first destination of Venice. When we arrived in Venice, we took a walking tour of the city, walking through the little alleyways and canals that went through the city. We saw many things that we had studied in class, including the Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs, and even got to see a glass-blowing demonstration, which the Venetians are known for. Later, we took a gondola ride around the city, sailing by old buildings and under bridges, the way Venetians used to travel. Next stop: Florence.
When we arrived in Florence, we took another walking tour and had some free time. As we wandered through the streets, we found hidden treasures, such as the church where Michelangelo and Galileo were buried, Medici palaces, beautiful cathedrals, the Ponte Vecchio, and the Uffizi Art Gallery, where we saw paintings we had studied like The Birth of Venus , Primavera, Madonna with the long neck, and Annunciation. We also found little shops to search for souvenirs, and of course, found some of the best gelato shops in Italy.
After two days in Florence, we got back on our coach and left Florence for Rome. Before we arrived in Rome, we stopped in Assisi to see the beautiful and memorable St. Francis’ Basilica. Think of the movies in which you see towns in Italy, and you have Assisi. Streets zig-zagged up the mountain and gave one of the most magnificent views of the trip, with an ancient fortress at the very top. We explored and toured two churches, the main one being St. Francis’ Basilica, which is actually three churches in one.
After we toured the Basilica, we returned to the coach and continued on to Rome, arriving that night. In Rome, we toured the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, seeing one of the world’s most famous landmarks and walking where ancient Romans walked. That afternoon, we headed to the Vatican where we observed massive tapestries, beautiful paintings, and multiple sculptures, then headed to the Sistine Chapel, which can be regarded as one of the most famous works of Michelangelo, as well as a major religious site. We walked in and looked up in awe at the masterpiece that had been painted centuries prior, and later explored St. Peter’s Basilica. That evening after dinner, we walked through the city to the Spanish steps, Trevi fountain, where we threw coins in the fountain with the hope that someday we would return to Rome, and then walked to the Pantheon.
The last day we went to Pompeii. We observed the wreckage of Mount Vesuvius and remembered our study of the catastrophic event that had happened centuries ago.
During our nine-hour flight to Chicago, we realized that we not only gained extensive knowledge about the beautiful pieces of art and the culture of Italy, but we also left with memories and experiences that will last a lifetime. (see more pictures of Italy in the photo section on Living Rock Academy facebook page)