Florence, Pisa, Siena

 

I was 23 years old when I first traveled to Florence and it changed my life forever; I committed myself to a career in education with the goal of one day returning to Italy to teach. I've since been to the city of the Renaissance over 15 times with CCI. Each time, I'm blown away by its beauty. This trip was no different.

We reached Florence in the early afternoon on Sunday. After checking in to the Hotel Adriatico, we walked a short distance to the Accademia taking pictures along the way.

The Accademia houses David, the most iconic sculptures in the world. It’s amazing to think that Michelangelo was only 30 years old when he completed this masterpiece. 

We regrouped at the hotel for dinner. Afterward, we set out on a tour of the town, which included a walk along the Arno River toward Ponte Vecchio.

On our second day, we traveled to Pisa to see the leaning tower. The light along the Arno was perfect for morning photography as we waited for our bus.

 

Silly photo-taking ensued in Pisa because... why not?

We returned to Florence for tours-by-choice in the afternoon. Most of our students chose to climb the Duomo. Another group visited the Galileo Museum. My group, made up mostly of returning students, went on an off-the-beaten-path walk around the town. We first visited the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy (one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe), followed by a stop at Palazzo Strozzi for a contemporary art exhibit. Along the way, we couldn't resist a ride on the merry-go-round in Piazza della Repubblica, where we officially renamed our tour "the tour of happiness." 

In the evening, we broke into smaller groups and had dinner out on the town. After two busy days, many called it an early night.

In the morning, the school toured the Uffizi. These galleries hold the artwork collected by the Medici family over centuries, and house the most important pieces of the Renaissance. We saw works by Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and of course, Botticelli.

We jumped onto the bus later on, and started our journey back to Lanciano. However, our trip didn’t end there. Along the way, we stopped in Siena, located just an hour from Florence. There, we visited the Church of San Domenico to see the relics of Saint Catherine of Siena (one of two patron saints to Italy). 

We then made our way to the Campo to learn about the famous Palio horse race that takes place twice every summer. CCI tradition holds that our students participate in their own foot race. Congratulations to Dimitri for taking the gold!

Our tour ended at Siena's Duomo just as the sun was setting over this incredible town.

 

As always, I thank our incredible teachers for guiding our students on this trip and to Mr. C for helping with all of the organization.

Next week we head to Vatican City for our last trip of the semester. Stay tuned!