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It won't be long!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

June 1, 2012

We are in Germany, in the Frankfurt Airport.  The 8 1/2 hour flight over the Atlantic was smooth, but long.  Not too much sleeping took place.  We are now in the middle of our 5 hour layover before we board our short flight over the Alps and on to Venice. 

 

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Today we woke up in Venice. After a 5:30 am wake-up call, we had breakfast and got on our coach bus, then transferred to a water taxi to head towards the Venice canals. We were all amazed by how magical everything seemed. It almost looked like we were in a movie. Houses lined the waterways which were constantly busy with gondolas and water taxis. First we walked through the Jewish Ghettos and our tour guide shared some information with us on their history. Next we walked through the San Maria Gloriosa dei Frari Church and learned about the origins of the artwork that line the walls and ceilings. We visited the Byzantine Basilica San Marco which is located in the huge square, Piazza San Marco. The Basilica’s beautiful mosaics amazed all of us. We took an elevator up the Campanile Bell Tower which gave us a beautiful view of the whole city of Venice. Finally we visited the Doges Palace with all of its beautifully painted rooms. After an exciting yet exhausting day, we boarded the bus for a 3 hour bus ride to our current location in Ravenna.

By: Danielle Gale and Jessica Golden

 

Sunday, June 3, 2012 – Ravenna and Florence

 

Today we woke up in Ravenna, and had an early start to the day. There we saw the San Vitale Basilica and many other beautiful sites. Many monasteries have beautiful courtyards in them, especially the one we visited today, which was very serene.  The Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna are amazing – so intricate and colorful, depicting much of the Bible story. 

Afterwards, we went on a quite long drive to Florence over and through mountains, gorgeous scenery was to be had all around. After our scenic drive, we arrived at the bustling city of Florence. We immediately started touring the gorgeous city and went straight to the Academia, the resting place of Michelangelo’s David as well as many other amazing paintings. The quality of art was simply outstanding and many of us were left breathless. With our remaining time, we got to see the Duomo, originally the largest freestanding dome in the world. Across from the Duomo, we were pleased to see the Gates of Paradise on the Baptistery doors of the Santa Maria del Fiore. As our day came to a close, we walked to our beautiful hotel in Florence to enjoy some rest and relaxation after another exhausting yet exciting day.

 

By: Stephen Harwood and Mitchell Shropshire

Monday, June 4, 2012

Today we continued our adventures in Florence. We actually got to sleep in until 7:15 this morning, and then we began our day in the San Marco Museum, in which we were able to see Savonarola’s cell where he spent his days as a monk. From there we went to the Santa Maria del Carmine that contained beautiful paintings by three different artists, including Masaccio, that were dedicated to Saint Peter. We then walked to the Baptistery that housed many amazingly beautiful mosaics that told Biblical stories. Across from the Baptistery was the enormous Duomo that took 170 years to finish. After that, we walked to the Opera del Duomo Museum with many religious sculptures created by the famous Michelangelo. Our last educational stop led us to the San Lorenzo Church. As the first Christian Church in the city, it was dedicated to San Lorenzo who was one of the first Christian martyrs. Our very last stop, before a very long walk home, was a much longer climb up 498 steps to the top of the Duomo. We all agreed that it was worth the climb and time away from our beds at the hotel, and it was undoubtedly the most astounding view many of us had ever seen. 

By Emily Wade and Will Domeyer

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

 

Today we had an early morning in Florence where we walked down the busy city streets near the Arno River.  Our first stop of the day was the Uffizi museum.  We were delighted to see the lavish Renaissance paintings of the Virgin Mary and the baby Christ laboriously decorated and covered with gold paint.   Furthermore, we saw Botticelli’s splendid Primaverra and The Birth of Venus with its vibrant colors and intriguing allegorical representation.  We were also lucky to see Leonardo DaVinci’s  Annuniciation and Michelangelo’s Holy Family with the Infant St. John the Baptist.  We ended our tour with the work of Caravaggio, who’s dark and realistic painting portrayed the quintessential example of Baroque art.  After our tour of the Uffizi, we visited Capelle Medici, or The Medici Chapel.  The Medici’s private chapel displayed grandiose scenery with Florentine mosaics.  The chapel also contained some of Michelangelo’s most famous sculptures Dusk and Dawn and Night and Day.

 

We had a short trip via bus to Assisi, one of the most beautiful cities surrounded by vast fields and distant mountains.  Assisi itself is a built on numerous hills which make the roads difficult to walk and adventurous to drive.  The Basilica of St. Francis was imbued with artistic and architectural elegance.  The basilica contains the sarcophagus of St. Francis himself where we were given a chance to pay our respects.  We then headed up 2,700 feet above sea level on Mt. Subasio and visited St. Francis’ sanctuary where he slept and meditated.  The narrow confines of the antique building made it especially fun to explore and admire the grotto where St. Francis stayed.  After our descent down the mountain we were blessed with a delicious dinner and which was followed by a scenic walk around the old city of Assisi blanketed by a golden sun sinking behind the distant mountain tops.  We could not have asked for a better view on the hill tops of Assisi.

 

By A. J. Rojas

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

 

Today we left Assisi on an early morning bus ride on route to Pompeii and Naples. On the bus ride, we admired the beautiful countryside of Southern Italy. Our tour guide, Esther, explained a lot of history about the places that we were going. We made a quick stop for lunch and we got right back on the road. Next, we ended up at Solfatara Volcano, a dormant volcano that still emits jets of steam form the sulfurous fumes. We went inside the crater of the volcano where it had pools from the cracks in the volcano. The pools were full of bubbling mud pools. The place smelled like rotten eggs from the burning sulfur, but the Solfatara was very cool. After the stop at the volcano we crossed the street and we saw the docks where St. Paul landed on his way to his trial before Caesar in Rome.

 

There, we visited the ancient Roman city that was buried in sediment from the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. The volcanic sediment covered the city, but it preserved the city exactly the way it was in ancient Roman times. The excavations were just magnificent to see. We went into the theater where over a thousand people could watch a play, and we sat in the main form of entertainment of Pompeii which was the great amphitheater where gladiators and slaves were sent to fight in a bloody battle to the death. The city was full of ancient houses that preserved some of the artwork and glory of ancient Rome.  At the end of our journey through Pompeii, we got to see the Forum of Pompeii, which was originally the place where the Roman people would go to shop, hang out, and was their political center in the city. Our day began to wind down as we took a bus ride into Naples to go to the hotel for a good night’s sleep to be ready for the next day of our adventure.

By Coleman Kintz

 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

This morning we started the day at 7 a.m. by having breakfast at the hotel where we stayed for the night. We then boarded our coach for Herculaneum, the ancient Roman town destroyed by a volcanic flow in 79 A.D.  On arrival our guide was already waiting for us, but unfortunately he couldn’t proceed to show us the sight as expected, due to a workers’ half-day strike that took place just at that site. Instead he verbally described how the volcanic eruption affected this site compared to when it hit Pompeii. He emphasized the importance of seeing both sites to compare the volcanic effects on both, but that was not possible. So we got back on the coach to Rome.

 When we finally reached Rome, Franchesca, our guide, welcomed us to the beautiful city of Rome. We immediately started our tour at the St. Paul’s Basilica. She explained to us that the windows were made out of thin alabaster marble. She also showed us where the Apostle Paul is buried. Afterward, we visited the underground catacombs which extended up to 12 miles connecting to each other. We finally visited the Roman aqueduct which was the water supply for ancient Rome before the invaders destroyed it. 

By Junior Luxama

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Today we had our wakeup call at 7:00am. After eating breakfast we boarded the bus and started our adventure of Rome. We arrived at St. John’s Cathedral where we saw The Holy Door that only opens every 25 years by the pope. St John’s Church is the only Cathedral of Rome (most churches are basilicas). Next, we went on to the Baptistery where Constantine was baptized. Constantine could not really be considered a Christian because he accepted Christianity for the wrong reasons. After leaving the Baptistery we then walked to the Scala Sancta (Holy Stairs) where Jesus climbed before meeting and being judged by Pontius Pilate. Martin Luther came in 1509 and prayed so he would go to heaven. It took him 8 years to read the Bible to realize the truth that changed his life spiritually.

 We then moved onto St. Peter’s Church in Chains. In this church there claims to be the actual chains that were worn by Peter before being crucified. Moving on with our day, we then went to the Coliseum which we have seen in many movies and always wished we could visit, so today our wish came true. The Coliseum was amazing. It was nothing like we expected. After a long morning we finally were able to take a break and eat lunch. Sitting down for lunch couldn’t have felt any better. Then after lunch we continued our tour of Rome. We went to The Palatine Hills where Rome was founded. These hills were home to Caesar Augustus. Almost dying of the heat we then stopped to take a water break and walked over to the Mamertine Prison where Peter and Paul were held before being killed.

 Our day was finally coming to an end, but we still had one more stop to go. We got on our bus and drove to the Circus Maximus, where we saw Mr. Welton and the youngest student on the trip, Philip Everett, race around the field. Mr. Welton lost to him just by a hair. Mr. Welton then mentioned to us that if we wanted to we could walk to see the key hole where you can see 3 countries at once. Only some of us went because the others were too tired to go. Looking through the key hole the 3 countries we were able to see were the Knights of Malta, Italy, and the Vatican City. Now our day finally came to an end. We then went back to our hotel where we ate dinner, had our nightly devotions, and were ready for a good night of sleep so that we were prepared for our next crazy day of adventures.

By: Becca Duane and Britt Smith

 

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Today we woke up at 7am, ate breakfast, and then headed down to the bus to start our tour of the city of Rome. Our first stop was at the Vatican Museum where we saw the most inspiring masterpieces. We got to view the four rooms by Raphael which were the Segnatura, Helidorus, Fire in the Borgo, and the Constantine Room. We thought that the Segnatura Room was the best because “The School of Athens” blew us away. Next, we visited the Sistine Chapel where we were able to view scenes of history from the Bible. Some of these scenes include the Separation of Light from Darkness, God creating Adam and Eve, the Great Flood, and the Drunkenness of Noah. “The Last Judgment” is also located in the Sistine Chapel.  It is a fresco that Michelangelo did when he was sixty years old. He was commission by Pope Clement VII.  The next stop was Dome, the Dome was actually part of St. Peter’s Basilica. The Dome was so beautiful and so worth the climb! After we came down from the Dome was the flawless St. Peter’s Basilica; this church is the largest church in Rome. In fact if you put St. Patrick’s Basilica from New York in side of St. Peter’s, it would only fill half of the church.  All the pictures in the Basilica were amazing mosaics. Inside this building was the most extraordinary sculpture called the Pieta, sculpted by Michelangelo which shows Jesus in his mother’s arms after being crucified.  After that we went to Tiber River where Romulus killed his brother Remus and started the city of Rome according to myth. We then hopped back on the bus and went to St. Mary of the Victory. This church was beautiful and had so many inspiring paintings including a sculpture of the Ecstasy of St. Theresa. The sculpture was truly breathtaking! Here we also watched the recessional of a wedding.  After this long and adventurous day we went back to the hotel and look forward to tomorrow for another truly amazing day!

By Madison Montanus and Maggie Saitta

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Today we got to start out our last full day in Italy by sleeping in until 9! We began by getting on the bus and going into the Christian church that stands in the place where Nero’s tomb used to lie. In the square in front of the church we saw one of the many obelisks stolen from the Egyptians by the Italians. From there we went to the Milvio Bridge, from which Constantine saw a cross in the sky, causing him to convert to Christianity. The Pantheon, one of the best preserved Roman structures, was a temple to all the gods, but then was dedicated to all the Christian martyrs. We then went to another church featuring Caravaggio’s masterpieces portraying Matthew’s writing of his gospel. We ended the day by walking across the Bridge of Angels and seeing the beautiful castle on the other side. Experiencing Italian culture through the enjoyment of gelato (Italian ice cream), shopping for Italian-made products, and listening to beautiful music played on the streets was the perfect way to end our amazing tour of Italy. Now we have a few hours to rest before waking up at a wonderful time of 3 AM to make a 6 o’clock flight. We all had a memorable time here in Italy, but we are very ready to come home to our families, our American food, and the wonderful language of English.

 

By Will Domeyer, Stephen Harwood, Mitchell Shropshire, and Emily Wade