University of Mary Washington – TEAM AIST Field Hockey Italy
May 17, 2012
by: Mallory Peebles and Sarah Rankin
Day 1 – Rome
We arrived in Rome at 2:30 and met with Chad, our AIST tour manager, and Giancarlo, our Italian guide, they will be travelling with us on our trip throughout Italy. We immediately freshened up, exchanged currency, and headed to the city of Rome. The first place we went was the Piazza Navona, where we met our Rome tour guide, Fabio. He then walked us past the House of Senate and we headed toward the Pantheon. The Pantheon is a dome building built by Emperor Adrian. The center of the ceiling has a huge hole, which lets sunlight and rain into the Pantheon, the rainwater is drained through vats in the floor. After the Pantheon we headed to the Trevi Fountain. Everyone throws a coin into the fountain while making a wish, but obviously our wishes have already come true since we’re in Italy. Our last stop is the Coliseum, the arena was absolutely huge and we took many group pictures here. Finally, we head back to dinner at the hotel, with a delicious desert of gelato. We all crashed as soon as we laid down in bed, relieved to sleep but excited to see the Vatican in the morning.
Day 2 – Rome
Today we woke up and had breakfast at the hotel, and then dressed for the Vatican. The Vatican requests that everyone dress in clothes which cover knees and shoulders. As we drove into the city everyone enjoyed seeing the sights, because we slept on the bus yesterday. We meet with Fabio again in front of Vatican City, which is the smallest country in the world. Fabio had already gotten our tickets so we didn’t have to wait in any of the very long lines. The Sistine Chapel, the Vatican museum, and St. Peter’s Basilica are all located inside of Vatican City. We began our tour in the museum which is overwhelming with so many paintings and sculptures, Fabio explained the history and importance of all the art as we walked through. From the museum we made our way to the Sistine Chapel, fortunately Fabio had explained the history of the Sistine Chapel before we entered, because the guards are very particular about too much noise and camera flashes. Every few minutes the guards enter the chapel and shushed the crowds when they become too loud. The chapel was absolutely beautiful, and it amazed us that everything was built and painted completely by hand. Our last stop In the Vatican was St. Peters Basilica. In the Basilica we had 20 minutes to walk about and see all of the dome ceilings, statues, and artwork. Afterwards, we had a couple hours of free time around Rome before we would meet up at the bus. We walked all around Rome and saw the Spanish Steps, the Capitol, ate Italian pizza and went shopping. Now we are heading to Tuscany, a welcome 3 hour ride that allows us to rest our feet after so much walking and touring.
Day 3 – Pisa
We arrived in Pisa and found our way to the inner walls of the field of miracles. Our tour guide, Allesandra, showed us around the small square, including the baptistery and church, along with the most obviously famous leaning tower. A little known fact, the tower is actually not the only thing leaning in Pisa, since the church and baptistery both lean a few feet each as well. After taking all the necessary tourist pictures, our group divided, some going out of the field to shop in the small street market, while Mallory, Lizzie, and I got a ticket to visit inside of the cathedral. Inside, like many of the other churches we have seen, was gorgeous. The ornate detail of things such as the pulpit, the Passions, and even the ceilings were breathtaking. Inside was also the chandelier in which Galileo inspired him. After more shopping we all met up to transfer and play our first game against a club team from Pisa. Although the score may not have been what we wanted, it was a great opportunity to learn a style of play that was different from ours. We returned later that night to our hotel in Montecatini, some of the group heading to an Irish Pub, while the rest found a small and quiet wine bar to enjoy dinner.
Day 4 – Florence
After eating breakfast we made our way to Florence. When we got there we started off with a guided tour through the city. We saw the meridici palace and many statues including the replica of the famous statue of David. One of my favorite parts of the tour was being able to see the different architecture of the buildings throughout the city, it’s much more intricate then anything we have in the states. After the tour we had a couple hours of free time to explore the city, walk through the giant outdoor market, and eat lunch. Once we were done in Florence we got on the bus and headed toward San Marino, which is one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever been. After dinner at the hotel we went out to a salsa bar. It was a really cool place and we got to meet some of the locals.
Day 5 – San Marino
Today was our first full day in San Marino. We started off the day with a guided tour through the city center. We had to walk up a lot of hills and when we got to the top the view was spectacular and you could see for miles. After the tour we were able to explore on our own until we left to go to the coast. At the coast we were able to go on the beach which was really nice. Then, after we left the beach went to a local mall which was just like any mall you would see in America besides having different stores.