Prep students say “Ciao Italia!”


After their long, exhausting day of travel, 17 students accompanied by Beth Watts and Richard Younce arrived in Rome, Italy on March 7. From Rome they took a bus to the historical site of Cumae, an ancient Greek colony, after having their first Italian meal at an Italian-American Study Center near the site.

For the first 3 nights of the trip the students stayed in Sorrento, a city on the Amalfi Coast. After a night of much needed sleep, the students explored the ancient city of Pompeii. On the way to the train that would get them to Pompeii the students encountered an obstacle. The trains and busses happened to be on strike, so Ms. Watts had to find taxis that would take them to the city. The students returned from their long day at Pompeii and finally got to experience their first cup of authentic Italian gelato and take in the beautiful city of Sorrento.

The next day the students and teachers faced the challenge of climbing Mount Vesuvius. Despite the difficult hike, everyone made it to the top where they got to take in the beautiful views of Italy. They also got to explore the ancient city of Herculaneum. Many students liked getting to see this city even more than Pompeii because it is so much better preserved.

The journey in Italy continued in Florence where the students traveled to by train. The train ride was accompanied by cappuccinos and croissants and the beautiful views of the Italian countryside. After arriving in Florence, the students were amazed by the stunning Church of Santa Croce as well as the incredible city itself. Some students went to mass at the beautiful Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore which was a very cool, unique experience. The next day was full of excitement beginning with the climb of the Duomo, the dome on top of the Cathedral. The views of Florence and the bell tower of the Cathedral from the top were absolutely incredible. The students had the afternoon free to shop in the market as well as the designer stores that line the streets of Florence. To end the night the students and chaperones got to learn how to make pizza and gelato at a cooking class taught by real Italian chefs.

The next morning was their last in Florence where the students visited the Academia where they got to see Michelangelo’s David. After another short train ride, the students arrived in Rome for their final few days in Italy. In Rome, they got to see the Pantheon, the Colosseum, and the Roman Forum. Somehow, the owner of a restaurant they ate at had the keys to the Pantheon and let the students and chaperones in at night. It was a crazy, once in a lifetime experience that none of them will ever forget. For the last day in Italy, the students went to Vatican City where they got to see beautiful architecture and art. They saw the stunning Sistine Chapel. The students climbed the dome at Saint Peter’s Basilica and saw the inside which was absolutely stunning and gigantic. At sunset, they went to the Trevi Fountain which was very exciting for many of the students.

The students woke up bright and early the next morning to make it to the airport for their flight home. This trip was an incredible experience for everyone who went. The students go to grow close after spending so long together and visiting new and exciting places. 11th grader Gayle Grantham said, “I’ve always wanted to go to Italy, and this trip gave me the perfect opportunity to see so many new places and enjoy so many new things. In Florence, I enjoyed climbing to the top of the Duomo and shopping in the market.”