Abington’s Global Education: Italy 2017

An almost indescribable trip

Nivetha Aravindan, Copy Editor

Abington’s Global Education program gave students an incredible opportunity to visit some of the most breath taking sights in Italy this past February. I was lucky enough to be part of this amazing experience. Our tour guide, Aline Casagrande, who we called “Big House,” was so funny and helped us learn so much about Italy. During our trip, we visited the beautiful cities of Venice, Florence, Rome, San Gimignano, Assisi and the Vatican City. 

Filled with crystal blue canals and beautiful historical sights, Venice was one of the most unique and fascinating places we visited during the trip, and my personal favorite. We took a water taxi into the city, which brought us to the Piazza San Marco (Saint Mark’s Square). Piazza San Marco is home to several astonishing sights, such as Doge’s Palace, Saint Mark’s Basilica, and a Renaissance clock tower where many of us went to the top to capture a stunning view of the entire city. We were lucky to be in Venice during the Carnival, so we were able to see many parades and styles of masks. Mask are the symbol of the festival.

Our group attended an art class, where we had an opportunity to paint our own Venetian masks. We also participated in a scavenger hunt where we tried to find different places and answer various questions about the city. This required communicating with the locals, who were very kind and helpful. Ms Casey’s group won the scavenger hunt and received beautiful small glass sculptures as prizes, and gelato as a reward from Ms Casey. The highlight of Venice for most students was definitely the gondola ride, an opportunity to take a relaxing ride along the beautiful Venetian waters, and capture amazing views of the city. 

Our next stop was Florence, a city that is home to fascinating Renaissance paintings and sculptures. One of the best attractions in Florence is the Galleria dell’Accademia, where we had the opportunity to see the amazing statue of David, sculpted by Michelangelo. We also took a tour around the Duomo, which is a huge cathedral constructed in Renaissance style. The unique architecture and intricate artwork on the building was fascinating. My favorite part of Florence was strolling along the Ponte Vecchio Bridge while viewing the beautiful river below, and the amazing buildings that lined the other side of the river. 

Our group took a day during our trip to visit the beautiful town of San Gimignano, (a town not on our itinerary, but recommended by our tour guide) which is located at the top of a hill, and filled with medieval towers and fountains. We were able to capture spectacular views of the hillside landscape of Tuscany and take many pictures. The peaceful, uncrowded environment of San Gimignano made it an ideal shopping spot, and a great place to sit down and enjoy an outdoor meal in a café. 

On our way to Rome, we stopped at another beautiful hill town called Assisi. It was filled with amazing natural views and important religious monuments. During our visit, we made sure to visit the Basilica of Saint Francis, who was one of Italy’s most important saints. 

The city of Rome is filled with astonishing ancient architecture and has so much history to offer. We toured the Colosseum, which was even more fascinating than many of us had imagined from seeing pictures. I enjoyed visiting the Pantheon, which is an ancient Roman temple filled with beautiful artwork, and seeing the Trevi Fountain. We all made sure to throw a coin into the fountain and make a wish to come back to Rome in the near future. In the spirit of visiting the Colosseum, we were all taken to a gladiator school, where we dressed up like gladiators and learned various skills gladiators had to learn back in the day. From learning sword fighting techniques and shooting bow and arrows, to crossing obstacles that involved avoiding swinging bags of rocks, the gladiator experience was one of the most exciting and memorable activities of the trip, and we all had such a great time. 

Our last stop during the trip was Vatican City, where we visited the Vatican museum and some of the most beautiful churches in the world. During our tour of the museum, I couldn’t take my eyes off of the amazing Renaissance artwork covering the ceilings of the building and the unique sculptures that filled the museum. We also visited St. Peter’s Basilica, which is the largest Christian basilica in the world, and the artwork within the building was mind-blowing. My favorite part about the trip to Vatican City was being able to see the Sistine Chapel with my own eyes. The chapel is filled with awe-inspiring biblical paintings from the famous Renaissance artist, Michelangelo. We have learned about Michelangelo and his contributions to the Renaissance time period in history class, but to see all of this artwork first hand was magnificent.

Traveling to Italy was an incredible and unforgettable experience. The chaperones worked so hard to make every moment of the trip remarkable, and all the students had a great time. We were able to take away important life skills, such as communicating with people from other countries and experienced the Italian lifestyle personally. I really enjoyed shopping in Italy and tasting authentic Italian food, such as pizza, pasta and gelato. Traveling abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity that all students should definitely take advantage of. The experience is so enjoyable and very memorable, and I’m sure that Abington students will visit many more exciting countries in the years to come.

Previous international trips have included Spain, London, Switzerland, Germany and France, and many students are set to travel to Iceland this April. For any student interested in travelling abroad, the process involves writing an essay explaining how the trip will be beneficial to you and obtaining two teacher recommendations.

Chaperones: Ms Louko, Mrs Casey, Mrs Posk, Ms McHugh, Mr Shannon, Ms Cynthia Louko 

Students:  Seniors – Kayce DeAngelis, Melanie Beaver, Selena Chavarria Lemus, Meghan Doherty, Makenzie Gardner, Brenna Hayes, Jenna Gorman, Brittany Maniscalco, Cassandra Marando, Caitlin Murphy, Paige Reynolds and Morgan Sweeney

Juniors: Nivetha Aravindan, Margaret Becker, Carolyn Bunszell, Alana Burgess, Aimee Cabral, Katerina Callanan, Bobby Carey, Ethan Curtain, Caitlin Diver, Alyssa Gendreau, Marissa Golden, Reece Klein, Drew Landers, Morgan MacNeil-Berry, Jenna McDonough, Jack Maguire, Courtney McCabe, Molly McCarthy, Amanda Martini, Jake Tosone, Nicholas Vanasse and Caitlin Walton.