Last updated on
July 6, 2023
The Brown women's soccer recently returned home from their trip to Italy that spanned nine full days in the European country. During their time across the Atlantic, the Bears enjoyed numerous beautiful sightseeing adventures, guided tours of some of Italy's most famous cities, and played two games against professional competition.
“Our international trip to Italy was a trip of a lifetime, and will be a lasting memory for all of us for years to come," head coach Kia McNeill said. “We were able to truly immerse ourselves in Italian culture by touring a wide range of cities including Milan, Venice, Florence, and Rome, and getting a first-hand experience of the history, beauty, and culinary excellence Italy has to offer. In addition to that, we were also able to play two professional teams, one of which plays in Serie A, the top professional league in Italy, as well as go watch a professional match, Atalanta vs. AC Monza. Soccer is in the blood for many European countries, and it was great for our team to see and experience the passion and expertise with the game. We are so fortunate to be able to have the opportunity to travel like this as a team, and I know this was a bonding experience that none of us will forget or take for granted. As a coach, that is the most rewarding part for me.”
Following an overnight flight out of Boston, the team touched down in Italy for their first full day in the country on June 2. The first stop of the tour was the city of Como where the team had free time to explore the shops and restaurants, while many of the players enjoyed their first taste of Italian gelato.
Following lunch, everyone hopped on a private boat cruise to Bellagio where the team was given the chance to explore, shop, and relax. Right at the end of the evening it started to rain, but luckily everyone was able to stay dry during the trip back to Como.
The first day in Italy came to an end with a delicious three-course dinner at the hotel and a much awaited chance to rest up for the rest of the trip.
The team began day two with their first practice session of the trip at Stadio Citta di Meda. The staff and players battled through some warm weather and any remaining jet lag to put together a productive session in preparation for the next day's game.
Following practice, the team headed to Milan for a few hours of free time for lunch and exploration. The day wrapped up with a guided tour of the city which included the Duomo di Milano as well as other impressive sights. The day ended with another three-course dinner, which everyone soon realized was the norm, at the hotel.
Day three of the trip was action packed and began with a game against the Como Women of Serie A. It was a hard-fought contest with Brown generating the first few quality looks on goal. Sheyenne Allen, Kira Maguire, and Jessica Hinton of note created some especially dangerous chances for the Bears. Unfortunately, Brown was unable to find the back of the net as Como prevailed 2-0.
Following the game, the team got to explore the city of Bergamo and enjoyed the views following the train ride up to the city. A pizza dinner preceded the team attending a men's Serie A game between Atalanta and AC Monza. Atalanta prevailed in their home stadium 5-2. The atmosphere was electric as the team truly embraced the energy of European futbol.
Day four consisted of a lot of travel from the Milan area to Venice, but of course the bus made some stops along the way. The first stop was at Cantina Al Rocol in Franciacorta for wine and food tasting. Franciacorta is known for its sparkling wine, similar to champagne, but known as franciacorta due to the region in which it is produced.
The next stop on the bus ride was Sirmione where the team got to enjoy the soothing waters of Lake Garda before finishing the journey on to the second hotel. Once there, the team took a train to experience Venice at night and enjoy dinner by the water.
On day five, the team enjoyed another private boat ride, this time to the city of Venice. A guided tour kicked things off before the team was able to enjoy gondola rides through the city. Free time followed as the team got to choose where they would eat lunch and explore. Following a day of exploration, the team transferred to their third hotel, this time in Montecatini.
Day six saw the team travel to Florence, the home of the group's tour guide Mirko. Mirko was excited to show off his home to the group and following a guided tour, brought the team to a few of his favorite spots including a gorgeous location for pictures, a store with “the best focaccia in Italy," and to his favorite genuine leather shop. Free time followed as the group ate lunch and continued to explore.
The second practice session of the trip followed. The team was able to play some really good soccer in preparation for their second game of the trip in just a couple days time. Dinner at the hotel finished off the day.
Day seven began at La Spezia station where the team took a train up to the five villages of Cinque Terre. There, everyone got to choose their own adventure. Some of the group chose to enjoy of the beach of Monterroso, others took part in cliff jumping and swimming in Manarola, while others got lunch in Vernazza, famously known for its pesto pasta.
From there, the team traveled to Fattoria il Poggio for a pasta making lesson before being served dinner. At the end of the evening, the team had the chance to purchase some of il Poggio's homemade oils and sauces.
Day eight began with another bus ride, this time from Montecatini to Rome. Once arrived, the team enjoyed a guided tour of the Vatican before transferring to the location of their second game of the trip.
This time, taking on Ternana of Serie B, Brown jumped out to an early lead thanks to some fancy footwork and finishing by Sheyenne Allen. Ternana responded with a pair of impressive goals, one on a header off a cross into the box and a second from a free kick from 20 yards out. In the second half, Brittany Raphino tied the game for the Bears, but Ternana had the last say, converting on a PK in the waning seconds to claim the victory.
Dinner at the sports center followed the game before returning to hotel to rest up for the trip's final day.
The team's final full day in Italy began with a guided tour of the Colosseum and the city of Rome. Following the tour, free time gave everyone their final chance to explore, shop, and eat. A final team dinner at the hotel concluded the trip's planned activities. Some members chose to gather together to watch the Champions League final on TV between Manchester City and Inter Milan.
The next morning, the team woke up bright and early for their nine-and-a-half-hour flight from Rome back to Boston, concluding the once-in-a-lifetime adventure.