On May 12 I graduated from Seton Hill University and four days later I boarded a plane for Venice, Italy. I joined 23 other students and three professors from Seton Hill, all of us embarking on a 12-day journey from northern to southern Italy as part of a May Term City Study Experience. We stayed in major cities including Venice, Florence, Rome and Sorrento and made pit stops along the way in Pisa, Assisi, Pompeii and Capri.
“I’m grateful that we were able to visit multiple cities during our time in Italy, because each city has its own distinct history and culture,” said Paige Parise, a senior communication and English major. “I wouldn’t have had the same experience if we had only visited one city.”
“Each city has its own distinct history and culture….I wouldn’t have had the same experience if we had only visited one city.”
Our travels started in Venice where we visited the Doge Palace and explored the Grande Canal in gondola rides. After two days in Venice and a four-hour bus ride we made it to Florence, where we would spend three days exploring, learning how leather is made, and making a trip to Montepulciano to tour a winery.
Before heading to Rome, we made a quick stop in Assisi where we roamed the quiet, cobblestone streets and visited the Basilica of Saint Francis. During our two days in Rome, we toured the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Vatican City, sat on the Spanish Steps, threw coins in the Trevi Fountain and learned how to make pasta the Italian way.
On May 25, some students headed back the states while the rest of us stayed for the extended part of the trip. This included touring the ruins of Pompeii, staying a night in Sorrento and traveling to Capri for the day where we toured the island by boat and took a dip in the Mediterranean Sea.
“It’s difficult to choose one experience as my favorite because all of the cities were very different,” Parise said. “I really enjoyed the two days we spent in southern Italy. Visiting Pompeii was a very educational experience and it was surreal to see the city’s ruins in person, and I really enjoyed the time we spent on the island of Capri, which was beautiful.”
It’s nearly impossible to sum up this trip in just a few words. From a cooking class and wine tasting, to leather and glass blowing demonstrations, and from walking tours to gondola rides, we experienced so many things that it seems unbelievable we were only there for 12 days.
“If people have the opportunity to study abroad, I would highly recommend it,” Parise said. “I think it provides you with the opportunity to gain a much deeper understanding of a country’s culture.”
Photo above: Seton Hill students and faculty in front of a Pittsburgh-themed restaurant they discovered in Rome.