Our last day in Europe! We met up this morning and took a bus to the Ferrari museum in Maranello. There were so many cars to see, and we loved seeing how the engines worked and how the cars were designed. Some of us were even able to test drive the cars! When we got back to Bologna after we were finished at the museum, we broke into small groups for lunch. We had class in the afternoon and had a general wrap up lesson and went over the final exam and had some time to ask questions. We had a few hours free after class to wander around the city and do any last shopping or sightseeing we wanted to do. We met up again in the evening for our farewell dinner and walked to a nearby restaurant. We really enjoyed our meal!
We cannot believe our trip has come to an end. We were so lucky to be able to experience so many things on this wonderful trip. We are incredibly thankful to our professors, Dr. Shakiban and Dr. Hennessey, for putting together such a great course. We are looking forward to coming home and seeing family and friends, but we will miss Europe so much. Arrivederci, Italy!
Some of the guys outside the Ferrari museum
Dr. Shakiban and some of us girls in Florence
Touring the Galileo museum
Today we got up early and walked to the train station to board a train for Florence. After a quick train ride, we met our guide at the train station in Florence and began our walking tour of the city. We spent three hours seeing all the major sites in Florence and learning about the history of the city from our guide. When our tour was over, we all went together to a restaurant for lunch. After lunch, we had an hour to see some of the sites we missed on our tour. Some of us went to see Michelangelo’s David, some of us climbed the bell tower of the Duomo, and some of us crossed the famous bridge full of shops. We all met up again at the Galileo Museum and toured the museum for an hour. As a group of mathematics and mechanics students, it was so cool to see all of Galileo’s machines and how they were designed.
We had the entire rest of the afternoon free to explore the city of Florence. We went shopping and went to some museums and enjoyed one of our last few days in Italy. We took the train back to Bologna in the evening and went back to our hotel to do some homework and get some much needed sleep.
We are loving Northern Italy! Today we woke up early and boarded a bus for Pisa. We had a two hour ride and spent the time working on the lat few pages of our homework packets – we are getting so close to being done with them! When we got to Pisa, we walked a short distance from the drop off site to get to the main square. We spent some time taking the classic leaning tower pictures and then met our guide. She took us around the whole square and showed us the cathedral and the town. We went back to the tower and were able to climb up the almost 300 stairs. The view was phenomenal and we thought being on top of the tower was so cool. After we climbed down from the tower, we walked to a nearby restaurant for lunch and then boarded the bus to head back to Bologna. Our evening was not extremely eventful. We spent most of our time after we got back doing homework and finding places to eat nearby. We are looking forward to seeing Florence tomorrow!
A group of us taking a classic picture at the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Our group in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Today we made it to Bologna! We left the hotel in Rome in the morning and walked to the train station to board our train for Bologna. We spent the two hour train ride doing homework and napping. When we arrived in Bologna, we had an hour or so to get lunch on our own before meeting up for class. We had three presentations by our fellow students and then we took a quiz.
After class, we all met up to go on a walking tour of Bologna. We met our guide, Fabio, and he took us around the city for about two hours. We saw so much of the city in a short period of time, and our favorite part of the tour (for most of us at least) was seeing the leaning towers for which Bologna is famous. After our tour was over, we met up for dinner and walked to a nearby restaurant. The food was amazing and we had a great time. We are incredibly excited to go to Pisa tomorrow!
The leaning tower in Bologna
A street view in Bologna
Another angle of the leaning tower
Our last day in Rome! We got together this morning after breakfast and boarded the bus to go to the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit. We were able to see many of da Vinci’s inventions and sketches and we loved it. As a whole group of engineers, we were so excited that we got to play with all the machines and build toy bridges with da Vinci’s designs. After the exhibit, we walked around the neighborhood and across the Tiber river to get to lunch. We ate at a local restaurant and enjoyed some classic Italian food.
After lunch we had some free time to shop around and soak up our last few hours in Rome. We met at the Vatican and toured the Scavi. We were very lucky to be able to tour the Scavi as it is extremely difficult to get tickets. Thankfully our professors got reservations two years in advance! The Scavi was so interesting and we were able to see the tomb of St. Peter.
We all went back to the hotel after our tours. A few of us went out for gelato with Drs. Hennessey and Shakiban and we all broke into small groups to get dinner around our hotel. We are very sad to be leaving Rome but very excited to get to Bologna!
The view from the bridge as we crossed the Tiber river
Quick correction to yesterday’s post: we did not go to the Leonardo da Vinci museum today, we will be going tomorrow. Today we went to the Vatican!
We met up in the morning for class and listened to a presentation by some of our classmates on the life and works of Leonardo da Vinci. Dr. Shakiban then taught for the rest of our class time. After some lunch on our own, we met up outside of the Vatican museums. We got our tickets and had a short orientation by our guide on what we would be seeing in the museums. We were in the Vatican for over four hours seeing everything from the popemobile museum (all the different types of carriages and cars that have carried the pope over the years) to the Vatican gardens, the Sistine Chapel (which was absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking) to the coffin museum of all the marble coffins found in the Vatican. We stopped in St. Peter’s Basilica after our tour and saw Michelangelo’s Pieta and our guide explained the significance of the art and sculptures throughout the Basilica.
The rest of our night was not very eventful and consisted mainly of doing homework and finding some dinner. We are starting to realize how soon we will be heading home and we can’t believe how fast the time has gone! We are loving every moment of our trip!
Listening to our guide during our tour of the Vatican museums
Our group in the Vatican gardens with the dome of St. Peter’s in the background
Yet another great day in Rome! We did not have any plans this morning, so we were thankful for some extra time to sleep. A group of us met up and took the metro to the Vatican to climb to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica. We had to wait in an extremely long line to get in and climb over 500 stairs to get to the top, but it was totally worth it. The view from the top was incredible and we were able to see the entire city of Rome from above. After we climbed back down the Vatican, we took the metro to the Spanish Steps. Unfortunately they were closed and we weren’t allowed on them, but we didn’t mind. We got lunch at a local restaurant and then headed back to the hotel for class. We listened to a presentation and then had our midterm interviews.
The rest of the afternoon we had free and did some shopping, laundry, walking around, and homework. We met up for dinner in the evening and walked to a local restaurant. We had some amazing pasta and tiramisu and enjoyed the atmosphere of the Italian restaurant. We are looking forward to seeing the Leonardo da Vinci museum tomorrow!
A group of us at the top of St. Peter’s
The view from the top of St. Peter’s
Our group on our way down from St. Peter’s
What a packed day! We woke up this morning and a large group of us took the metro to the Vatican for Mass. We walked into St. Peter’s Basilica and were absolutely in awe. The size of the building alone is enough to make anyone thoroughly impressed, but there is also so much art and decoration everywhere. Mass was a great experience for all of us, and there were many other people from around the world celebrating with us. When Mass was over, we went out to St. Peter’s square to hear the pope’s address. It was so cool to see him in person and hear him speak! (If you’d like to read what he said, here is the link: https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/it/angelus/2016/documents/papa-francesco_angelus_20160117.html)
When the pope was finished, we took the metro back to the hotel and got some quick lunch before walking to the Colosseum. We met our guide there and heard all about the history of the Roman amphitheatres. When we were finished with our tour, we walked to Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. We covered a lot of ground in a very short period of time, but we were very happy to be able to see so much of the city of Rome in just one day. We headed back to the hotel after we were done touring for the day and had the rest of the evening free. We went to dinner in small groups and did some homework together, and the guys were very excited because they were able to find the football game on TV. It is much colder here than it was in Greece, so we are missing our sunny Athens but glad we are not in the subzero weather of Minnesota!
Just outside of St. Peter’s Basilica after Mass
The floor of the Colosseum
A group of us at the Colosseum
Our group on top of Palatine Hill
We are so excited to finally be in Italy! We were less excited about our early wake up call to make our flight … 5:30am is not such a fun time. Despite some grogginess, we made it to the airport in plenty of time and had an uneventful flight to Rome. We met our guide at the airport (his name is Giuseppe) and boarded the bus. We drove around and learned about some of the famous sites in Rome. We stopped at Piazza Navona and grabbed some pizza. We walked around the area for a little while and were able to see the Pantheon.
We bussed to our hotel and settled in before meeting up to listen to a presentation by some of our classmates on Rome. We then had the rest of the afternoon and evening free and took full advantage of it! A group of us went to see the Trevi Fountain, some of us walked around the neighborhood of our hotel, and plenty of Gelato was eaten. We are looking forward to the rest of our stay here in Rome!
The Trevi Fountain