|The view from the Castle in Chianti.|
So far, I have participated in the (optional and covered) excursions to Chianti, Rome, Siena, and coming up soon we will be visiting Assisi.
The first trip was to Chianti for the program's welcome luncheon. We visited Castello di Verranzzano in Chianti. Our tour was with the wonderful Gino Rosi who could not tell us enough about the beauty of wine and its importance to Italian culture. He expressed his love for creating the best wine he ever could and told us that wine was a part of him. He quoted Christopher McCandless, who said "Happiness is real, only when shared." After the tour, we enjoyed some of the best pasta I have ever had. Half way through my stay here in Florence and it still is the best pasta I've eaten in Italy.
|Gino is one of the best speakers I have encountered. He took great pride in explaining wine.|
|We sampled the winery's red and white wines.|
|Every table looked like this in no time!|
The next trip CEA took us on was an overnight excursion to Rome. We were provided with transportation, a hotel room with two other students (our choice), and tours with awesome and very knowledgeable guides. Even though the weather was not the best, Rome was great. We were able to explore St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican the day we arrived. I was in awe gazing at the works of art these historical places carried. It was just surreal. It was even more surreal standing inside the Colosseum the following day! We visited the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain where I made my two coin tosses: the first - to return to Roma and the second - to fall in love. If you toss a third coin you wish for marriage.
|The Pantheon towering above me.|
|You toss your coin with your left hand, or else it does not come true!|
Siena was a very pretty area to visit. It is a city of steep hills and a history of important horse racing events that used to take place. There is some beautiful scenery for it being a smaller area and a day is more than enough time to spend if you plan on visiting. We walked all around and visited Palazzo Pubblico and the beautiful Siena Cathedral.
|This Siena pizza man gladly put on a show for us.|
|The beautiful Siena Cathedral.|
These were great trips and I was so excited that the CEA staff showed us around Italy. Next stop, Assisi!
Diana Pietrzyk is the Spring 2014 CEA MOJO in Florence, Italy. She is currently a junior at Columbia College Chicago.