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Eleven Salesians Spend Their Spring Break Traveling Italy

Timothy Flynn '17, Contributing Writer

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Going on a trip to Italy is an experience you will never forget, but getting to go with your Salesian brothers makes the trip that much better. That is exactly what I was able to take part in over Spring Break when eleven students took a trip to Italy coordinated by Salesianum. It started out at the Philadelphia Airport and was closely followed by an 8-hour flight to Germany.  After the layover, we took a quick one-hour flight to Italy.  We landed in Milan where we were introduced to Luigi, our tour guide. From there, we traveled to Venice. Venice is probably one of the most interesting cities I’ve ever been to. Before we got to the main island of Venice, we stopped at an island outside of Venice called Murano. This island is where master artisans blow glass and create unreal works of art out of glass.

There are no cars in the city of Venice, leaving the city’s only means of transportation to gondolas or by foot. Walking can be hard at times, due to the amount of people who flock to the city to see its famous landmarks and locations. While in Venice, we had some free time, so we got to explore the city and experience true Italian culture by enjoying some pizza and gelato. After that, it was time for our ride in a gondola. This was absolutely breathtaking. We passed by countless landmarks and got to listen to Italian songs while we took in the views. When our day in Venice was finished, we stayed the night and left for Florence in the morning.

Florence is more of a modern city when compared to Venice; there were cars in the city, which caused it to be a little more hectic. We stayed in Florence for two days and got to eat at great restaurants during that time.  In our short excursion there, we visited a few churches and got to see amazing works of art and statues throughout the city. We then took a walk to a park overlooking the entire city, and this was worth the fact that we had to hike up a mountain in the rain for it.  After our time in Florence was finished, we traveled to Assisi, a very religious town perched on the side of a mountain.

This town was several hundred years old and had some impressive architecture. We took a tour inside the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi. This was an amazing building that was covered with beautiful paintings on the inside. From Assisi, we traveled to Pompeii. This was a stunning town that was once completely covered with ash from Mount Vesuvius. Many of the buildings and artifacts that were removed are shockingly still intact after hundreds of years.  Another surprising fact for me was learning that there are still a great number of people living in the surrounding area around the volcano, which is still active!  History could be repeated here in the future, but the residents hope it won’t (as did we while we were there…).

We stayed in a nearby hotel overnight, where we once again got to see breathtaking views of the town and its local attraction: the volcano. The next morning, we took a short drive to Sorrento and boarded a water taxi for the island of Capri; this is one of the most beautiful islands in all of Europe. The water is crystal-clear. The island is made of limestone, a type of rock very weak to erosion, so there are tons of grottos (caves) all around the island. All of the houses and businesses of the island are painted in colorful shades. We got to spend the day on the island and shop and grab a bite to eat. After we sadly departing Capri, we traveled to Rome.

When in Rome, you can truly feel in your body the history of this magnificent city. You can experience firsthand the culture of Italy and visit landmarks that are older than the United States is. We spent all day in Rome visiting sites such as the Colosseum and the Trevi fountain. It is amazing to actually see places in-person that you might otherwise only see on postcards. This was the last stop on our tour.  After leaving Rome, we headed to the airport for the long flight home. Spending time in a foreign country with my Salesian brothers was really an unforgettable experience, and a great opportunity to expose myself to a new culture with amazing landscapes.

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Eleven Salesians Spend Their Spring Break Traveling Italy