It sure has been busy and fun these past few days! In a matter of one week we have traveled to Siena, Florence, experienced our first drawing critique midterm and art history midterm, traveled to Cinque Terra for our free days, and just went to Rome again today. Oh my, have we conquered Italy or what!

As a class we first traveled to Siena to visit the famous Gothic-style Cathedral, the Campo, and the Town Hall. Within the Town Hall we were able to see famous frescoes including Duccio’s Maestà and Lorenzetti’s Allegory of Good Government. Personally, I enjoyed our time in this city because of the rich history and fabulous shopping as well!

Next we went to Florence and visited the Uffizi museum, the Duomo, the Accademia, and a few other sites.  I enjoyed seeing Michelangelo’s Statue of David in person. It was absolutely gorgeous to admire this, along with some of Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures. Visiting this museum enabled us to admire the time and dedication that Michelangelo put into each and every one of his pieces. As we concluded the night in Florence with dinner, we watched the sunset and listened to a concert on the Ponte Vecchio Bridge overlooking the Arno River. What a highlight!

As for our second week of free days, I decided to travel to Cinque Terra with a few friends this past week. Following the words of advice from the one and only Rick Steves, we stayed in Monterosso at the CUTEST hotel right by the beach! It was so enjoyable to lay out and go to the beach for the day. My favorite activity from this trip was kayaking along the shore between the different cities of Cinque Terra. We were able to see caves, a waterfall, and just enjoy cruising along the coast with one another. Our meals were superb as many of us enjoyed fresh fish for every meal.

After a wonderful stay, we left Monterosso but were excited to get back to our home in Orvieto. As much fun as traveling is, there are always problems or funny stories along with each experience. Concluding our successful no-problem-whatsoever trip, we encountered our first story yet. As we were departing our train in Orvieto, Alex realized he left his volleyball on the train and rushed back to try to save it. Within an instant, the doors shut as Alex was standing right at the door inside the train. We tried everything we could to open the doors, but it was too late. The train left and we saw Alex go off into the horizon (all for this five dollar volleyball) …. No worries though – he just got off the train at the next stop and came right back to Orvieto. But oh my, was it a way to end the trip or what!

Along with all of our experiences and trips, yes, don’t worry, we still do somehow make time to study for our midterms and keep up with our class drawings and notes!  Many of our drawing assignments in Orvieto have focused on the beautiful landscapes of the city, as well as our new project in the Duomo (a perspective drawing within the cathedral). As for art history, we just completed our midterm in which we were tested upon the specific artists, paintings, sculptures, cathedrals, architecture, and information from our field day trips. It is amazing how much we have learned and are able to incorporate into our previous knowledge of these sites.

In the town of Orvieto, we have truly found our niche within the city. We have our favorite restaurants including: Pizza Charlie’s (best Tartufona pizza EVER), la Palomba (famous for grinding truffles at the table), the Chinese restaurant (great and cheap Chinese food) and a gelato store right next to the Duomo. We are so happy to be in such a fabulous city experiencing the true Italian culture! Who knows? The list is to be continued!