Back in Corciano

Monday, October 13

Today was our first full day back at the Villa and we stayed very busy. We had both Italian and Painting classes and then after dinner we had the Italian bowl. Tests make me nervous, and even though this wasn't a "test" by name, that's essentially what it was. Once the Italian bowl started, it was  quite a bit of fun, and if it wasn't for that last question where you could bid your points to either double them or lose them, we would have won. I thought I knew the answer to the last question (and I was really close), but a few letters really make a difference so we lost everything. After the Italian bowl, we all hung out for a little while and then went to bed.

Tuesday, October 14

Today was class day, and we spent the day in Italian and Watercolor. We started our projects which are due on Thursday, and I chose a bird wing study to replicate. After class and dinner we got together to watch Gladiator. I have a hard time watching movies so I showed up late and left early. From what I saw it seemed like a good movie, and if I ever feel like it I might try to watch the whole movie.

Wednesday, October 15

We took a trip to Sienna with the parents today and it was awesome! There's a little square there where they do two horse races a year, and there were also two churches that we went into. The first one had the finger of Saint Catherine (I think it was Saint Catherine), and the second church's floor was covered in extremely detailed mosaics. I was surprised about how large some of the pieces were, but on the other hand, there were also very small pieces put in to make black outlines. I could have spent forever in there looking at all the different mosaics and trying to figure out their meanings, and how the artist made them. After about an hour I went outside and spent the next 3 hours doing an extremely detailed watercolor of the clock just across the street from the church. After dinner tonight I was able to find a guitar and even though it was missing a string I was still able to play it. It was nice to finally be able to play the guitar again, and better yet I think Angelo is going to get strings so tomorrow I'll be able to play anything I want!

Thursday, October 16

 Our watercolors were due today, and I turned in the wing and the one I did yesterday in Sienna. Other than turning our assignments in, it was mostly a rest day and we got to kick back and relax. I spent a lot of time sleeping, it was nice to be able to take a break after 2 weeks of traveling and learning. Dinner was late tonight and it was in the large room in the building where the classroom is. Dinner was buffet style and was delicious. After dinner I pulled the guitar out and changed all the strings. I played it for a little while, but everyone had different plans so we ended up doing karaoke. I don't like singing in front of people so I didn't sing, but I had fun listening to everyone else.

Friday, October 17

This was our first full day off and it was beautiful! First we went to Perugia to the chocolate festival and ate delicious chocolate, and then we came back and did nothing. It was wonderful and amazing! After dinner we set up Karaoke again, and even though I was tired and left early it sounded like everyone else had a good time.

Saturday, October 18

Today was very literally, a nothing day. I spent most of the day sleeping, reading, and relaxing, and then after dinner several of us went to the Orange bar to hang out. While I enjoy traveling and staying busy, I'm very tired and am enjoying the break.



Tuesday, October 7th

 Today was a really busy day and we traveled all over Rome. First we stopped by the Largo Argentina (aka, the cat sanctuary - rightfully named because of the number of cats), and I gave my presentation on the site. After looking around there we walked up to the Palatine hill and learned about the stuff there. There was a lot of stuff on the Palatine and we started with the arch of Titus. After the arch of Titus we made our way through the ruins to see several temples, the arch of Septimius Severus (which I thought was the arch of Constantine for most of the day), the temple of Vesta, and several temples. We also walked up to the the top of the hill and looked at the palace of Septimius Severus and walked through a nice little museum before lunch. After that we split up for lunch and I got a sandwich and a fanta. I was trying to stay with people because I heard two different meeting places (the Colosseum and the arch of Constantine), but I wasn't really paying attention so I ended up by myself anyways. After gelato and some relaxation, I headed to the arch of Septimius Severus (which I was convinced was the arch of Constantine) to wait. I was there early, but by about 2:55 I started wondering if we were actually supposed to meet at the Colosseum. I waited and waited, and then at three I decided that this must not be the right place. At 3:00 I left for the Colosseum to see if I could find everyone before they got worried. The walk from the arch of Septimius was long, but about 10 minutes later I finally made it to the Colosseum. There were a lot of people there and I was starting to get worried that I wouldn't be able to find them anytime soon. Thankfully, Mike spotted me and waved me down. Once we were all together again, we went into the Colosseum and it amazing! There was a museum in there, and even though I wasn't able to get to the top I was able to get to the second level to look down on the floor of the arena.  Right before we were finished I had to present on the temple of Venus and Roma, and then we went back to the hotel for a little while, ate dinner, and then went to the sound and light show. The sound and light show was very informative and I learned a lot. The translator was very amusing (for example: the Romans lifted the heavy stones up to the top of the wall in a wheel; similar to hamsters in a hamster wheel), and the lights were amazing!
Wednesday, October 8th

 Today was the day that we went to the Capitoline Museum. The museum was very large and we got to see a lot of ancient Roman (and Greek) art. My favorite was probably the statue of Marcus Aurelius, but I also like the statues of Commodus, and many of the others. After the museum, we went back to the hotel and rested for a bit, and then I went to the Irish pub with a couple other people to eat.

Thursday, October 9th

Today we started our tour by going to the Pantheon (where I gave another presentation), and it was a lot bigger than I thought it would be. It's surprising that the Romans were able to figure out how to build such a large dome without any technology to reinforce it. After the Pantheon we went to the  Forum Borium, Theater of Marcellus, and the Circus Maximus. After the Circus Maximus me and a couple of friends went to go eat gelato, follow the Tiber river for a while and then head back the the hotel for a nap. I meant to get a lot of studying done, but when I laid down I slept for a long time and didn't get any done until after dinner. For dinner we went to the Irish pub again to listen to the Irish band, but since they weren't ready yet we left early.

Friday, October 10th

Today we went the the Ara Pacis Augustae (aka, the Altar of Augustan Peace) which Augustus Caesar set up as a memorial to himself for causing the Roman world to be at peace during the later part of his reign. After we finished at the altar, we went to the Villa Guilia and walked through the museum. I was really excited about this museum because it had the reclining Etruscan couple in it, and even though I missed most of the first bottom section I still enjoyed the rest of the museum. Once we were finished in there we split up and I went to the museum of Modern art. The museum of modern art is one of my favorite museums that I've been in so far and my favorite piece was the one of Cleopatra II. After that I took (another) nap and those of us who didn't have any family coming went out to dinner together and hung out for a while afterwards.

Saturday, October 11th

Today we went to the Vatican and while it's very popular I don't think it was anything special. I liked some of the stuff they had there, but there were too many people, and nothing really stood out. When I finally made it into the Sistine Chapel, I didn't realize I was in there because the guards were making everyone move forward and be quiet. I was so anxious to get out of there that I didn't realize until I passed it that I had actually passed through it without looking around. Because I realized this too late, I made my way back (probably against the rules, but oh well) so I could look around. Afterwards, I left through the wrong exit right after the Sistine Chapel and went through Saint Peters. Saint Peters church was huge, and it was really impressive, but again, there were too many people in there to really enjoy. After that I ate lunch and went back to the hotel to study for a while before dinner. After dinner I went out to take night pictures of Rome before we have to leave.

Sunday, October 12th

Today was our last day in Rome, and I was really sad to leave. I love Rome, and I feel like I could live several months there and still have things to see. This morning I slept in, and once we walked around for a little bit, ate lunch, and then waited for the bus. The bus was about an hour late, so when we finally got to the villa I was hungry and tired. It's been a long 3 weeks and I can't wait for some time to sleep in and relax.


Sicilian Travels

Thursday, October 2nd

Today we went to Zingaro National Park and walked along the beaches and went into the museum of Natural history. The museum was small, but there was a small display of animals, and some topographical maps. After the museum I hiked the trail with Megan, Elyssa, and Ilene, and we stopped at a small rocky beach. Part of me wanted to swim but the rocks hurt my feet so I decided to stay on shore and work on some watercolors and take pictures. When they got back we ate lunch, and we found both jellyfish and an eel-like thing. When we saw them, we all got excited and decided to catch them in a plastic bag and look at them. Of course, once we were finished we put them back in the water.

Friday, October 3rd

Today was the day that we traveled from Palermo to Catania. It was a long drive, but when we were about half way we stopped at the Piazza Armerina to look at the mosiacs. The Piazza Armerina was one of my favorites so far, and I could have spent days in there looking at and studying all the mosaics. It's amazing how much time and effort must have gone into them! I tried to read most of the signs, but a big part of me still wants to learn more about how they were made, and all the stories behind them. After we finished at the piazza, we began our travels to Catania. It was a couple more hours, but once we got here it was worth it! Catania is a lot nicer than Palermo, and it seems cleaner and not quite so run down. The motel is also really nice, and while the internet doesn't work well, the rooms are really big (and they have balconies!). For dinner we went to this one restaurant, and I had tortellini's with cream and prosciutto. It was amazing there, and I'll definitely be coming back!

Saturday, October 4th

Today we went to the Greek theater, the ear of Dionysus, and the archeology museum. First we went to the Greek theater, and we got to walk up to the top to look around, and to look through the necropolis. Next, we spent a couple of hours at the museum of archeology, and I really enjoyed looking at the different pieces that were sorted by date and period that they were made. At first I spent quite a bit of time looking around the museum, reading signs, and taking pictures, but after I toured the entire museum, I decided to follow everyone else around and try to learn as much as I could about the different containers, and how to estimate what time periods different pieces were made in. 

Sunday, October 5th

Today we traveled to Taormina, and I think this is my favorite place so far! First we went to the Greek and Roman theater, and it was beautiful. It was on top of a very high hill and it overlooked the ocean most of the way around. At the top of the steps, you could see out over the top of the ruins of the theater (which is still in use today) and see the ocean. There were also a few quiet spots behind the theater that you can look out and view the ocean too. After we learned about the theater, I picked a nice spot at the top and worked on a watercolor. I probably spent about two hours on it, and once I started I didn't want to finish until it looked somewhat decent. When I was done, I traveled around Taormina and looked in different shops. I found this really upscale art store, and it inspired me (and made me wish I had a lot of money to buy some of those paintings!). I also found a really nice garden (which was out of the way, but it was absolutely amazing), and I enjoyed the peace and quiet while I walked around. It was a large garden, and I'm sure that I didn't see the whole thing, but there were towers there, and several small ponds, and lots of flowers.

Monday, October 6th

Today was our last day in Catania, and while I'm kind of sad to leave this place I'm excited to head to Rome. I slept in a little while, and then when I finally woke up I traveled to the fish market. I enjoyed it,and I thought that it was cool how all sorts of people can set up shop and sell their fish, meat, and produce. A couple of places even had full lambs (I think they were lambs, but I'm not quite sure what they were) hanging up so people could buy them. At one point, one of the vendors pulled Michaela aside to take a picture with her. When we were done at the fish market we headed to the bus stop, but as it turns out we ended up at the wrong place. We saw the bus starting to drive by, and we flagged it down. Thankfully they let us on, but Mark and Micheal stayed back to try and figure out where we were before our flight left. I felt so bad! Once we got to the airport we were finally able to get a hold of them, and we all made it there in time for the flight. It was a crazy day, and once we finally got to Rome we were tired (but we still had enough energy to eat at this cute little restaurant next to the hotel).


Weekend Plus Trip to Sicily!

Friday, September 26th

Today was a very busy day today, and we spent most of it learning art history. After we finished with that, we at dinner and then went up to the orange bar to hang out. Since I've never had alcohol before coming to Italy, I decided to order a margarita (because I've always thought they look good), and I really liked it. After the orange bar, I walked back to the villa and went to bed.

Saturday, September 27th
We went to Perugia early this morning and I really enjoyed it. Our first stop was a church (unfortunately I forgot the name) and Rosella gave us a tour of the church and showed us the different rooms and explained the different paintings and artists to us. While we were touring the church she brought us downstairs to a room that was excavated. Inside was an old tunnel that was an ancient hideaway and place of worship for the members of the early church while they were still being persecuted. I thought this part was the most interesting because they had a set of tunnels they could use to get away in (but confuse anyone who tried to follow).

After we toured the church we stopped by a pizza place to eat lunch, and while I already had a pack lunch, Rosella bought everyone some pizza. The pizza here is really good, and it's surprisingly cheap. Once we finished eating, we walked to the top of Perugia and browsed around in the open market and explored the area. On the way up we got to travel through an underground city that was built in the middle ages as an act of rebellion against the government. While it was interesting, I don't understand how (or why) people could live underground (it's just my opinion, but I don't like caves). The open air market was interesting, and I had some gelato and almost bought a purse, but changed my mind when the lady told me it was 70 euros.

Sunday, September 28th

Today was just a relaxing day, and I studied, did homework, and hung out. After dinner I started packing to go to Sicily and Rome, showered and went to bed.

Monday, September 29th

 Today was spent traveling to Sicily on plane, and then on the bus. It seemed like a long trip, and even though it seems like Sicily should be more of a tourist town, it also seems like a lot of people live in poverty. I've seen so many homeless people already, as well as stray cats and dogs everywhere. There was also a lot of graffiti covering the walls. After we got to our motel, we all went to this really nice restaurant and I tried lobster for the first time. It was really good, and I plan on eating it again when I can.

Tuesday, September 30

Today we all took a bus to Selinunte, and we got to look at the ancient ruins of several temples, the acropolis, and go to the beach. At the archeological site, we started by looking at the temple of Hera (which was my favorite), and then went on to look at the other 2 temples. All but the temple of Hera had collapsed in an earthquake, but it was fun climbing in the ruins and looking at the different types of construction. I also got some cool pictures there. What I thought was interesting, is how the Greeks built these temples and they are still there for us to look at. What's even more interesting, is the one's that are still standing. It surprises me how big they were, and how much time it must have taken them to be built. After looking at the temples, we took the long walk to the acropolis, and once we got there we got to look at a couple more temples and wander around in the ruins there. There was this one house that had most of its foundation still intact, so I wandered around inside and tried to imagine what the floor plan was like in comparison to today's houses. Once we were finished at the acropolis, some people chose to climb down the steep hill and take a short cut to the beach, but since I didn't think I would be able to climb down without sliding halfway, I took the long way back. Once I finally made it to the beach, I got to swim in the sea. This was my first time doing it, and I had so much fun! At one point, we buried Leo in the sand and turned him into a mermaid. We spent a while at the beach, and while I had a lot of fun, I got the worst sunburn I've had in a really long time (but it was worth it!)

Wednesday, October 1st

Today was the day that we went to Agrigento, and I made sure that this time I had a hat and sunscreen! We spent most of the day outside, and looked at some more of the Greek temples. One of the temples (I think it was the temple of Concord), was really cool, and was still mostly intact. While it was blocked off, and we couldn't wander around inside, it was interesting being able to see it from the outside. I also learned that the arches inside were a Roman addition after the temple had been converted into a church. After we finished walking in the ruins, we went to eat lunch in this garden. I wish I had had more time to wander around, but from what I saw it was really beautiful and refreshing. After we got done in Agrigento we went to this one beach (and because I didn't want to make my sunburn worse), I stayed in the sand and did a watercolor.