Leila Eliot, ’16
Twenty minutes before the BHSEC Italy trip planned to board their flight to Milan it appeared that only two of the four chaperones were coming on the airplane with us. We were then informed that the Department of Education had cancelled our trip for our lack of chaperones. Thankfully our flight was delayed giving Mrs. Gamper, Dr. Lerner, Dr. Clark, and Ms. Sawick time to get our trip back on schedule. Everything went uphill from there.
We landed in Milan and then took a tour bus straight to Verona, Italy where we walked down beautiful streets to see an enormous amphitheater and the balcony where Romeo allegedly spoke to Juliet in Shakespeare’s tragedy. After some free time, we drove to our first hotel right outside of Venice.
Our second day was spent sailing in gondolas down the beautiful side streets of Venice. The Ferry on the ride into the city kept us dry while rain poured out of the gray sky. We then got a chance to wander down these amazing alleys and streets lined with charming little shops and restaurants whose beauty not even the sporadic rain could mask. That night we rode our bus into Florence.
Another rainy day welcomed us as the group of Italy Trip BHSEC students and faculty bundled up in the warmest and most water resistant clothing they could find. Puddles awaited us at every street corner yet the Duomo and the Basilica of Santa Croce were just as magnificent as ever. We then gathered in a small leather and jewelry shop to get a lesson in how to determine real from fake leather and to learn what is new in Italian jewelry. The rain had then pretty much ceased and we got hours to walk around to get lunch, shop, and take in the sights. We then went back to our hotel in Florence where we stayed another night.
We began our next day with an early drive to Assisi. After touring a gelato factory, we rode our bus to the Basilica of St. Francis and then immediately began our exploration. The Basilica was one of the most gorgeous structures I had ever seen, and I felt blown away the minute I stepped inside. Gorgeous art lined the walls, covering all surfaces. The colors were vibrant and expertly chosen, making the Basilica feel as if it contained a higher power than anyone could ever imagine. We were then given some time to roam around the quaint streets of Assisi. The shops were enchanting and the restaurant were just as inviting. We then rode to our hotel in Assisi after meeting back at our tour bus.
On our way to Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast, we stopped at one of the most fascinating destinations yet: Pompeii. The ruins painted a picture for all to see of the every day lives of pre-79 A.D. Romans. We saw the remains of bodies outlined in cement, and went into brothels along what would have been busy streets. It was amazing to understand that what we were exploring was just a fraction of the true ruins of Pompeii. After hours of exploration we rode the bus the rest of the way to Sorrento and after checking into our hotel we went and got dinner.
Then we headed for our final destination, Rome. We began at the Colosseum and also toured the House of Augustus, the Roman Forum, and the Roman Ghetto. The next day, we visited the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican. We spent hours learning the history of gorgeous architecture and art. The aesthetic beauty was stunning: what appeared to be paintings on the walls of St. Peter’s Basilica turned out to be mosaics made of hundreds of thousands of tiles. Even with our trip’s rocky start and end it was overall an amazing experience. Thanks to David Clark, Tina Moreno, Denice Gamper, and Katerina our wonderful tour guide for making it so memorable.