Saturday, June 28, 2014

Last Days in Italy

Sarah, Erin, and I at the leather market
Violin at the Academia
As our last full week here is closing out, we were able to go to awesome places this past week. On Tuesday, we all took a trip to Florence to the Academia. Before we went to the Academia, we went to the Mercato Centrale which is an indoor meat market which recently had its upstairs section renovated. We ate lunch/breakfast at their food stands. We then headed to the Academia where we were able to see some old instruments. These included violas, violins, the serpent, a guitar, and clarinets. We also viewed paintings and sculptures. They had some sculptures there that artists can use as an example for proportions of the human body. While there, we saw the main attraction which is Michelangelo's David sculpture. It was much bigger than I expected it to be. We learned that this piece was actually non-proportional to his body. David's hands and head were too big for his body. There also was a huge crack in his back. After the Academia, we had free time to shop around the leather market. One thing to always remember in the leather market is that you can usually get a lower price for something you would like if you can bargain with the vendor.

Saint Francis Basilica
Assisi Cafe
On Thursday, we all got on a bus and went to the small town of Assisi. It had a lovely view as it was near the top of a hill. We first visited the Saint Francis Basilica. It was a Gothic structure that had undergone some renovations but still had most of the original structure still intact. We then headed to the town's main square and the Santa Chiara Basilica. Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed in the Assisi churches. After the churches, we had lunch and shopped around for a while.

Hercules fountain at Villa di Castello
Friday morning, we took a train to Florence to visit more of the Medici Villas. We took a bus from the train station to Villa di Castello. It is an Italian Renaissance garden which means it has symmetry and levels to it. We visited the enclosed garden which houses the real Jasmine plant. In the center of the open garden is a fountain the has a statue of Hercules squeezing Antaeus so hard that water is coming out of his mouth. We then walked about fifteen minutes to the Villa la Petraia. That garden is also an Italian Renaissance garden. we took a tour of the villa which had a beautiful opening ballroom when you walk in. It contained many frescoes and elaborate furnishings. After the villas, we took a bus back into the main area of town to enjoy our last few hours in Florence.

This coming weekend, we are going to Verona to watch the opera Aida. Afterwards, some of us are going to Venice to celebrate our last weekend of the trip. This journey has gone by so fast, but I have enjoyed seeing all the new places and getting to know all of the people on this trip. I hope we are able to continue our friendships and keep our memories forever. Thank you to everyone who has helped make this excursion unforgettable! Signing off for the last time.

Bethany Kennedy

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