Florence

Florence, the birthplace of the renaissance. In my mind, Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in the world with its rich history, architecture, sculpture, and paintings. I can't help but get excited every time I visit. We spent two nights in this wonderful city last week. Upon arrival, we first headed to Piazzale Michelangelo for a gorgeous view of the town, with the famous Duomo at its centre.

From there, we checked in to the Hotel Adriatico. We were at our hotel for only a few minutes before heading to the Accademia to see Michelangelo's David, perhaps the most recognizable sculptures in the world. There, the Italian Studies class delivered presentations on the statue and the work of Michelangelo.

Afterward, our students had time to explore Florence's leather market. We then rendezvoused at the hotel for dinner.

A walking tour followed dinner, moving along the Arno River to catch this amazing view of Ponte Vecchio lit up at night.

The next morning we visited the Uffizi Gallery. "Uffizi" translates to "offices" and it was here that the Medici family governed the city-state of Florence. It now houses the most important paintings of the Renaissance. Tours were led by the teachers who explained the evolution of Renaissance art as we moved from room to room. We spotted work by such artists as Giotto, Botticelli, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Caravaggio.

In the afternoon, we split up for "tours by choice." These included a visit to Museo Galileo, another to Santa Croce, as well as climb to the top of the Duomo for magnificent views of the city.

My group visited La Specola – a part of the Natural History Museum – to learn about zoological classification and human anatomy. Along the way, we crossed Ponte Vecchio, then passed Palazzo Pitti.

We had dinner out on Friday night. Our students had five local restaurants to choose from, each offering traditional Tuscan dishes.

The last day of the trip came too early. However, instead of heading directly back to Lanciano, we extended our trip with stops in Siena and later Assisi.

We arrived back in Lanciano by midnight. While it was nice to be back in town and off the bus, it was sad to think that this was our last overnight trip of the semester.