Exploring Italy outside of our Florentine borders

By Vanns Codrington, Arizona State University

Studying abroad has exponentially increased among US college students, as the thought of traveling and experiencing new countries is filled with excitement. Many undergraduates may agree that choosing Italy, specifically Florence, is the ideal situation for studying abroad. Filled with Roman history, serving as the “Cradle of Renaissance”, this city offers beautiful architecture, amazing culture and breathtaking sights.

But Florence is also a central location that makes it easy to travel to European destinations and within Italy itself.

With all the possibility given to travel to many places, it is important not to forget about the beauty, history and culture that are all over Italy. This thought led my friends and myself to decide that for our Spring Break we would travel from south to north Italy.

Our break started as we prepared to land in Catania, Sicily: looking down, through the aircraft’s windows, at the beautiful Mediterranean coastline, the sunshine beaming in our eyes. We decided to stay four nights and visited three other cities including Syracuse, Taormina and Giardini-Naxos. From experiencing some of the freshest markets for fruit and seafood, to seeing the orchards, the Ancient Naxos and lying down beachside absorbing the sun, the trip to Sicily as you can imagine was nothing short of unbelievable. The experience of the culture was tremendous because how Sicilians live is truly relaxing especially if you thought Florence was peaceful, wait until you experience the South. Sicily was unarguably a sweet Italian paradise. As our first destination came to an end we took an overnight train to our next destination, Naples. Although we cut the Naples visit short and ended up spending only one night there it was definitely different. Amazing in its own way it reminded us of exactly what we were told; tons of history but definitely industrialized. We explored the city, tried amazing food (pizza there was delicious) and visited many historical churches and establishments. The next day we decided to visit the city of Pompeii, which we knew contained an immense amount of history due to being completely abandoned and buried entirely in 79 AD as the consequence of a violent volcanic eruption. The history behind the rediscovery of this site and how much was rediscovered and preserved was incredible. You are able to see the remains of many villas, gardens and even the Amphitheatre that existed centuries and centuries ago. As we spent the entire day exploring the site, it was still almost impossible to comprehend everything that occurred and the history behind it all. As we finally departed Pompeii, our final destination was Rome and the famous Vatican City, where we planned to spend two nights and conclude our break. To preserve the excitement, Rome is simply a must visit. In Rome, there is so much culture and history that it could take you weeks to comprehend the history and see everything. Rome is a place where you can walk and see preserved areas everywhere. As they say “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” so going with the flow and experience everything, is exactly what we tried to accomplish.

Italy is absolutely beautiful and exploring it was truly the best experience so far: I suggest you take a tour of Italy outside of our Florence borders!


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