Sunday, May 30, 2010

Florence! Anghiari! Arezzo!

Get ready, this is a LOONNNGGGG post.

So Thursday we traveled from Sansepolcro to Florence.  We took a bus and a train to get there and the same on the return trip.  As soon as we left the train station, Dr. Goode was telling us to take pictures of various buildings.  It was already clear to me how historical this town is and how much of an influence it has had in other areas.  We were able to stop at the Duomo, Baptistry, and the tower while we walked to the Bargello museum. 

The architecture and design of these buildings is a wonder.  They took so long to be built and are so carefully cared for.  I think that coming from America where very few buildings are cared for in such a way, really helpes me to appreciate the beauty behind the buildings in Florence. 

Our experience inside the Bargello museum was very interesting.  I mean we were ushered in the back door instead of having to wait in line to go in - all because of Meredith College.   I was really interested in seeing and learning about the works of Michelangelo; we got to see many of his incomplete works.  The guide(who was a 35 year old attractive Greek man who spoke English with the prettiest accent - I LOVED the way he said Leonard da Vinci) was very informative in telling us about the history of each sculpture.  In the chapel were beautiful frescoes including the oldest known image of Dante (like as in Dante's Inferno).  That was pretty cool - I have a picture, you can see it when I get home.

As part of our prep for going, I had to briefly research the Santa Croce.  In case you don't know - many famous Italians and honorary Italians, including Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli and Dante are either buried there (in Dante's case there is a memorial).  I really wanted to be able to go in and explore but when we were on the way it started to rain.  It is definitely on my list of places to go see again at some point in my life.  We even stopped and got this nice German man to take our picture. 

Okay so I have to share this picture of part of our lunch.  This was seriously the best bruschetta I have EVER had.  And it made a fun picture!

We also went to see the fake David statue before heading back to Sansepolcro.  The train ride back was fun too - Ari and I got to sit with some very interesting Italians. But that's a story for another time.

Saturday was another travel day.  We went a little closer to home, visiting Anghiari and Arezzo.  We went into various chruches and small local museums in both cities.  Google image Anghiari and you will see the village on the hill.  And yes - we climbed all around that place.  But the view was amazing.  Pictures will follow on a later post.  Arezzo was a bit more non-hilly. We did get to see Piero della Francesca's Legand of the True Cross.  Google that too if you don't know what it is.  Part of the different sections of fresoces is missing.  It really is an amazing thing to see.  No pictures of that though - it is under super climate control and light control - meaning no flash! Our professor did mention that there will come a day when this fresco will be so faded, it will be impossible to see.  Apparently, the restoration and cleaning of various frescoes is a HUGE debate in Italy.  And I can see why. 

Today was a day full of classes but we did get to go to the Flower Festival (first time it was held).  In the past couple of days, I have gotten the chance to talk with Hannah, Lizzy, Mom and Dad, and my Grandparents. It was such a treat to hear/see all of their voices/faces.

I have literally taken 420 pictures since I got here.  Most of which are of buildings and landscapes for my class but still pretty.  I'm really enjoying getting to experiment with my camera and try and get some artsy shots.  And since tomorrow we leave for our first travel break, I'm sure there will be more pictures to come!  I'm off to Verona for Monday night and Venice Tuesday-Thursday! I'll post again once we get back for sure!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Busy, Busy

The past few days have been super busy. 

Monday, we had our first Italian class before going to Casa Buitoni. They are famous for their food, some of which you can buy in the US.  (google the brand - I bet you recognize it)

Pretty fountain at Casa Buitoni. 

Here is Barb, me and Anna outside the back of Casa Buitoni.  We were able to eat our lunch out there and the view is ah-mazing.  We also met the head chef and some of the other chefs that come up with all the food they sell. 

After returning to the Palazzo, I had my art class.  After class, a couple of us went exploring around town and took pictures.  This town is seriously one of the most beautiful places I have ever been! I was also able to talk to my parents, which is always a nice treat! 

Yesterday, we were in class from 8-3.  It was pretty killer.  But we did get out an hour early before lunch to be able to go to the local Market.  It was pretty similar to the flea market at home, people selling various goods.  It felt like the majority of the town was out and about.  Sansepolcro seems to have this sense of community that even small towns in North Carolina are lacking at times. We also planned our travel break for next week - Verona for one night and Venice for two! I'm pretty excited! 

Today was a half day, meaning we only have class in the morning.  This afternoon, I attempted to do some school work.  I also got the opportunity to meet a member of my host family for our family dinners! She is 30 and speaks limited English and her parents speak even less.  Luckily, i'm paired with another girl, so I'm not going by myself.  Either way - it will be fun! 

Tonight, we also went to a soccer game, or futbol. Let me tell you, Italian soccer is so much more aggressive than what I know soccer to be like.  Some of us only stayed for the first half and just in that short amount of time 5 players were hurt, including the goalie.  Annnnndddd they jump so much higher than I think I have ever seen an American soccer player jump.  It was pretty neat to watch.  

Tomorrow we are off to Florence for the day.  So I'm off to bed for an early morning! 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

being somewhat adventurous

I am not very adventurous, in the "let's-go-climb-a-mountain" kind of way. Never really have been. I have quickly learned in the past 2 days that being in Italy, you have to be somewhat adventurous. 

Yesterday, we took a short tour of the beautiful Sansepolcro (essentially we found out where the grocery store is located).  And after dinner at the pizzeria located downstairs, some of us took a walk around the town at night.  Let me tell you, this place is hopping on a Saturday night (especially after a soccer game). 

Today, we began classes. The first thing we did was attend Mass at the local Catholic Church.  We left before the service was over so that we could climb the bell tower (this is where the adventurous part in us came out).  The stairs were pretty steep and a little scary.  The ceiling was low down at some places and we had to seriously duck.  And climbing back down was pretty scary, especially since the handrail to the stairs was pretty much just a rope.  And did I mention I did all this in a dress? But the view was worth it. 

We also got to watch the bells be rung.  There were three older men and one young teenager (about 14/15 maybe).  The teenager was able to speak very broken English and once he learned we were from North Carolina, he told us that Michael Jordan is his hero.  Watching bells be rung in an old Italian Cathedral was truly amazing. (And as I type this they are being rung again). 

I'm pretty much in love.  The only thing that would make this better would be if I understood the language. 

Friday, May 21, 2010


We are here! And it's beautiful!

I would not have made it to the airport and through the night before leaving without my wonderful sister. Thanks Lizzy!

Also, the view from my room is extremely pretty.  This picture does not do it justice but here it is anyway:

So far, I love it!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


i literally just zipped up my bag and weighed it to make sure it was under 50 pounds. (it was only 30 btw). and i think i have everything i need/want to take. i'm kinda proud of myself.

i have spent most of the past few days running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. but with the help of some of my most wonderful friends and family, i think i'm ready to go.  i'm grateful for all the help and support the people in my life have shown me.  i mean my sister is driving to raleigh late tomorrow from charlotte to be able to take me to the airport early on thursday. (thanks lizzy.)

and as i type this, the song leavin' on a jet plane is running through my head. probably because i am on thursday.(but i do know when i'm coming back).

i have wanted to go to italy since i could locate it on a map. and now it is here. and i'm nervous and excited and just ready to get on the plane and go.  and i will. in less than 48 hours. 

it feels very surreal to know that in just a couple of days i will be in italy. and i'm so excited! 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

life is a journey

I took my last exam as a junior in college. 
I am 13 days away from getting on a plane and spending 6 weeks in Italy. 
I spent quality time with four of my dearest friends (and not all at the same time). 
And I finally realized that it is okay for my life to be about more than just tests and papers. 

Needless to say, it was a busy day.  But a beautiful one.  

I love Meredith College. I really do.  But sometimes classes get in the way of me really appreciating it.  As thankful as I am for this semester to be over, I am somewhat apprehensive about how quickly three years have gone by.  I feel like I just moved in to Poteat dorm yesterday.  I have come to think of Meredith as my second home, full of friends, family, and tradition.   And tomorrow is no exception in the tradition department (and I'm pretty sure my favorite): it's Class Day.  A day the sophomore class celebrates the graduating seniors.  A day that begins early for the younger class and typically ends in tears and hugs.  Last year's Class Day (see picture of very tired and proud Ellen and Allyson) was a beautiful experience and one I'm glad to have been a part of. 

But Class Day means that the school year is coming to a close and I'm not sure I'm ready to admit that I'm a senior.  

I am, however, ready to get on a plane that is Italy bound! This is an adventure that I have been ready for since I could locate Italy on a map.  There is still so much I have to do in the next 13 days but I'm looking forward to getting ready.  I am also really looking forward to going home for a few days to spend time with my parents before I leave.  This will be my last visit to our house in Elizabeth City (since they will be living in Cary when I come home) and I'm looking forward to making the most of it.  I'm sure I'll be packing my room, visiting my mom's classroom, and staying busy.  But I wouldn't change a thing.   

I've had this song stuck in my head for a few weeks now.  It's one that I have played over and over and over.  The song is A Beautiful Day sung by India Arie.  you should look up the lyrics.  or you can look at this video: 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  Now it's time for some much needed sleep before another beautiful day tomorrow - rain or shine. Though I'm hoping for more shine than rain for Class Day.