Look at these people
They’re moving through their lives
They live like they do
They might forget you
But, honestly, what was memorable
To begin with?
Day 8: Thursday, March 27
Today was super busy. We had to get our suitcases downstairs for the boat to take by 7 am and then we had 15 minutes to eat breakfast before we left. On he way to Milan we took a walking tour of Verona and it was awesome! I wish we had had time it stay longer than a few hours. We saw the Romeo balcony and both the real and fake Juliet balcony. We also saw the locks that were attached to a gate in the little plaza where Juliet’s balconies were and the corridor where names and things were written on the walls.
We continue our track to Milan and stopped at the Lansi pasta factory. Lansi is a part of ConAgra now. We had to wear hair nets and coats. We watched the pasta move from the die cutting part all the way to the end where it was packaged. We also learned that waste gets turned into animal feed.
Day 7: Wednesday, March 26-my camera wouldn’t work today, so I missed out in pictures :(
Geox and their R&D lab were on the agenda for Wednesday. We had to take a boat back to the mainland and then take a bus out to their factory. Geox makes shoes that have a special membrane in he soles that allow sweat to escape but keeps water out. The head of corporate communications talked to us first about how the founder thought up the idea and how they plan to increase market share in Asia and the US. Then we got to see how a shoe was made from start to finish. We also got to look at their testing procedures. It was really fascinating.
We came back and had dinner as a group. It was waaaaay better than the first night! We had lasagna, chicken, and potatoes. We also had tiramisu, but I didn’t really like it…it was a shock to everyone. After dinner we wandered back to the hotel for our early morning departure.
Day 6: Tuesday, March 25
A tour of the Doges’ palace was first on our list. I was able to take pictures outside the building but not inside. The inside was beautiful! It was so nicely ordained and there were works of art everywhere! It was crazy to think that they were able to create something like that way back then and that it has lasted this long.
After lunch we took a boat to Murano which is best known for its glass. We were able to watch a master glass worker create a vase and a horse statue from molten glass. It was so amazing to see the horse just appear out of the uber hot glass. It was a little disheartening to hear that there aren’t many young glass makers in the industry anymore. They had such awesome works in the gallery and I hope the art doesn’t die out. In the “bargain basement” I was able to buy a vase, a bracelet, and two little square plates for 50€.
After Murano we went to Burano which is known for its lace. I did not buy any lace but I did buy some scarves. And we tasted some cookies that were amazing! :) I bought two scarves. When we got back to Venice we had dinner at Hard Rock Cafe because most of us were craving some burgers and fries. Their free Wifi was nice, too.
After dinner we all came back to the hotel and played spoons…it was pretty violent….
Day 5: Monday, March 24
We toured the Ducati factory and museum today. It was really cool! Especially since we got to see the production of the street bikes rather than just touring the museum. Our tour guide explained that they used the same process as Toyota does using bins and papers that workers sign. Workers are also responsible for putting the whole engine together rather than just parts of it. They also use the just-in-time process when making their engines. After touring the production plant we were lead through the museum and got to see the old bikes. Ducati actually started as a radio manufacturer, then had an engine that attaches to regular bicycles so you wouldn’t have to pedal, and then ended up with a race bike. The last set of bikes we saw was cool because some were red-red while the others were red-orange and it was because of HD televisions. The red-orange looked bright red on TVs while the red-red was too dark.
We ate at a rest area type place on the way to Venice.
When we got close to Venice, we had to get off the bus on a dock and take a boat to Venice. The ride wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was sitting and waiting it get off that was the worst part. My roommate and I got majorly updated to a suite because not everyone fit into the main hotel and it was super nice! The downside to Venice was that we had no Wifi in the hotel except for when breakfast was being served. We left the hotel to roam and ended up on the entire other side of the island and not being completely sure how to get back
Day 4: Sunday, March 23
Morning started with a tour of a castle on our way to the Poggio Amorelli wine tasting. There was a festival going on and people were dressed up in medieval costumes and there was a mass going on, too. The chorus sounded pretty nice. We got to climb the walls for 2€ and there were some awesome sights of the Italian countryside.
Also on our way to the tasting we passed a cemetery called the Florence American cemetery and memorial. I was hoping we plus be able to stop and check it out but we didn’t have time. It looked a lot like the Arlington cemetery with the white crosses as markers. It is for those soldiers who died fighting in World War II.
At the wine tasting we had SO MUCH FOOD. We had bread, salami, and prosciutto before the meal was served then some simple pasta as our appetizer. Then we had more pasta, cake, salad, and two different types of cheese wedges. Also, four glasses of wine: 1 white, 3 red. The white was my favorite because I don’t like dry wines very much. There was so much food, I didn’t leave for dinner and ended up watching Frozen with a friend when we got back to the hotel. The drive back was the quietest bus ride we’ve had.
Day 2: Friday, March 21
Today started early with a walking tour of Florence. We were guided around town and treated to the sights. We started with the library near our hotel and eventually ended up at the Accademia Gallery where Michelangelo’s David is. Along the way we also saw Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio, Mercato Nuovo, and the famous Duomo of Florence. The Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence, but it is huge. It over looks two other areas where there are many sculptures including a replica of the David. Ponte Vecchio is a stone bridge over the Arno river; the same river our hotel was on. The bridge now has shops for jewelry and souvenirs, but our tour guide said there used to be butchers on the bridge who would throw scraps and stuff into the river and make the town stink. The Duomo is officially called the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. It took 140 years to completely finish and the famous dome was completed by someone different than the rest of the cathedral after winning a bid to finish it. It is also constantly being cleaned because once cleaners reach the end they have to start all over again.
In the afternoon we toured Visconti pens. Dante Del Vecchio, the founder of Visconti, greeted us and took us on a tour of the small but very impressive Visconti factory. We learned history and got to see concept designs of previous pens. It was really interesting to see a luxury brand have such little operations. Not all pens are hand made, but you could tell Dante is very passionate about what he does.
When we got back to the hotel after Visconti we changed and then hiked back up to the Piazzale Michelangelo to try and watch the sunset with some wine. On the way up we got gelato for the walk and it was delicious! When we got to the top, though, it was a little too cloudy and we didn’t really get a proper sunset. We ate dinner Ina cute little restaurant and I shared a pizza that was way better than the grab and go pizza we had for lunch. That night we found a really cool/hipster bar called Mug and the karaoke bar called a The Red Garter.
Day 3: Saturday, March 22
We left for the Ferrari museum this morning. It was kinda sad that we weren’t able to physically watch them make an actual Ferrari, but the museum was still cool. We didn’t have a tour guide, so we pretty much just went around taking pictures of the cars that showed the evolution of the cars. There was also a section upstairs where you could see the different steps in the deign process from drawing, clay model, and so on.
After Ferrari we had a few free hours in Bologna to find lunch. We walked around and found some really cool shops, restaurants, and buildings. We ended up in the Piazza Maggiore and also ended up finding the Neptune fountain in the Piazza Nettuno
Back in Florence, it was raining off and on. We ventured out for some dinner and found this little place called Ristorante il boccale. I had gnocchi and it was awesome! After dinner we tried to find a bar everyone liked (again) but some of us ended up walking around with our beer. Because we could do that. It was kinda cool.
Florence, Italy, Day 1
We finally have arrived in Italy!! The first few days of our trip and so far I love it!! While a bit sleep deprived and hungry for most of the day, after checking in at the hotel a group of us when on a hike to the top of Piazzale Michelangelo. We took a scenic route and we’re able to get a few pictures of the city, including the duomo, on our way up. At the Piazzale, there is a copy of Michelangelo’s David statue. There were a bunch of teenaged boys sitting on it, so I didn’t get the best picture, but it was still cool.
We then stumbled upon the San Miniato al Monte and the cemetery and mausoleums on its grounds.