A Sophomore’s experience in Italy


Italy’s Colosseum. Photo by Mia Turco ’19.

Mia Turco '19, Staff Writer

La dolche vita. A string of cities throughout Italy has shown to exemplify a rich culture, preserve history and lively people and settings. The contrast between the ancient buildings next to  modern day offices is regular to Italians, though an oddity to Americans and other nationalities.

One can argue that the United States has the Statue of Liberty and ancient documents, such as the constitution, though nothing we own can compare to the perfectly preserved, tremendous structures of the Colosseum, Vatican and Duomo. The sight leaves even the locals in awe of not only its beautify, but the ability of advanced architecture possessed during the time it was built.

The trip began in Rome. Its wide cobblestone streets complimented the vibrant buildings well and completed the scene. Coffee shops and gelaterias populated the shops and served as an alternative to the “tourist-y” places. Though, those popular sights are famous for a reason. The colosseum, Pantheon and arcs remain in tremendous shape and exemplify perfectly what it would be like to be a citizen at the time and using it for said purpose. The tours were educational as well as interactive, and the sights themselves were photographic goldmines. Photographers, travelers, locals and students flooded the scene in one big melting pot of languages and purpose, but we were all there for the same sights that were built for the sole reason of bringing people together, therefore serving its purpose even in modern day.

The Vatican was my favorite of all of Rome’s sights (even though Vatican City is considered its own country, it’s directly next to Rome). Seeing sights in person that I’d scene in pictures for years, like Michelangelo’s ceiling and St. Peter’s bones, were a breathtaking experience to be present for. It is important to remain respectful in the Vatican, since it is an active church, so I have no pictures from this place, though nothing through my lense could capture what it’s really like to be there.

The next city was Florence, a city I’ve always admired. Though my expectations were high, Florence lived up to what I pictured it to be. Though Rome was grand and vibrant, Florence was cute and passionate, art was everywhere and near impossible to admire it all at once. My favorite work of art from this city was The David. Similar to the colosseum and vatican, it was a sight I’d always seen in textbooks and movies, so to be directly under it was an eyeopening experience. The statue itself stands an overwhelming 17’, the detail exhibiting just how talented artists of their time were to be able to create such art without modern tools.

Soon after Florence was Venice. I arrived via a bullet train, which is similar to the inside of a plane, but the fast moving switch of passengers like a bus. Venice is an interesting city because it is entirely connected through small boats and bridges. Because of this, Venice is slowly sinking as an entire city, so I encourage you to see it while you still have the chance (though it will be hundreds of years until immersion).

Venice combined the rich culture of Rome with the innocence of Florence and perfectly topped off the trip. Gondoliers sang in their boats and (creepy) masquerade mask shops flooded the sides of the rivers. Clowns and dolls are also quite popular in this particular part of Italy. In addition, Venice is especially famous for their glass blowing sculptures. I had the privilege of watching professionals create a crystal horse out of hot glass in a matter in minutes. This of course, is common art for Venice and a popular activity to watch the glassblowers work.

To sum Italy into one word, I would choose “passionate”. This country has exhibited the most types of art as well as possessing the best of all the categories. The people are lively and hard working, if they’re rowing a gondola, giving a tour, or spinning a pizza, they radiate constant effort. The sculptures, paintings, and architecture will take your breath away while ancient buildings are churches still flood with people using them for the original purpose. Everything the Italians do, I’ve learned, is done full heartedly. A single piece of art will take years to make, which would only be done with the dedication and passion of a true worker. Not only are they dedicated to their works, but they take time to stop and smell the roses, quite literally. The country is not only bustling and thriving, but they leave open pastures and architecture for the civilians and tourists to admire. I’ve learned a lot from a single country, and I recommend for all to visit if given the opportunity, to learn something and gain a new mindset of passion.