On July 7, 2015, thirty-two students, teachers, and parents from the RIH community embarked on a 10 day educational tour of Italy. We traveled to all of the major cities and some smaller towns, as well. There wasn't one single day that we didn't enjoy Italy's delicious gelato, sometimes having it 2 or 3 times a day!
After a stopover in Verona, where we saw Juliet's house and balcony, our fast-paced tour took us through Italy's beautiful countryside to Venice and Murano, where we saw a glassblowing demonstration and had time to shop for authentic Murano glass.
Our next stop was Maranello, where we toured, at our leisure, the interactive Museo Ferrari, with authentic cars on display for all to see and take photos with. Outside of the museum was an independent company that allows you to rent Ferrari cars to drive for time increments. On our tour, THREE of the cars were rented!
From there, we took some great selfies with a selfie stick on the lawn outside of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
After Pisa, we took Florence by storm, doing a walking city tour, seeing a leather making demonstration, visiting Michelangelo's David in the Accademia, seeing a gold-making demonstration, and climbing to the top of both the Duomo and Giotto's bell Tower.
With no rest for the weary, we continued along to Rome, where we did everything there was to do. Before that, we experienced the small, quaint, religious town of Assisi, where we climbed the fortezza to a medieval fortress and castle and took some amazing photos: all before lunch! We then went to a restaurant that, in my opinion, served the best food on the trip. I ordered gnocchi stuffed with ricotta cheese and bruschetta and a caprese salad for the table.
We started the next morning with touring the Vatican museums, spending 30 minutes (!) inside the Sistine Chapel, marveling over St. Peter's Square, St. Peter's Basilica, and then making our way to the Colosseum (taking photos with the "authentic" gladiators outside it), Roman Forum, and Trajan's Column.
Then, on our way to Sorrento, we took a guided walking tour of Pompeii, the ancient city preserved with the volcanic ash from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.
In Sorrento, after a whirlwind touring schedule, we had time to relax for a couple hours at the beach before dinner at our hotel.
The next morning, we were on a ferry to the island of Capri, ready to explore the city with our local guide and tasting some very refreshing granita. We hopped into a smaller private boat which took us to a bunch of smaller row boats. With 4 to a boat, we entered into the Blue Grotto, an amazing natural beauty. Before we left, we were able to dip into the Mediterranean Sea and experience a rock beach on Capri.
After assuring the students that, no, we couldn't extend the trip "just one more day", we sadly, and with some tears shed, we returned to Rome after that to board our flight back to Newark.
Some highlights for me, personally, were: climbing to the top of the Duomo in Florence, enjoying the relaxing atmosphere of Sorrento, and driving a Convertible Ferrari California outside the Museo Ferrari in Maranello. After a lot of hard work, this truly was a trip of a lifetime and I am lucky to have shared this experience with all of the other 31 people that went along for the journey.
Please feel free to click on the link below to look through our photos!
Stay tuned for my next Italy trip, with an extra day and more interactive activities, in July of 2017: students of Italian and parents are welcome!
As always, please contact me for more information, questions, or comments. Dmccartan@rih.org