Written by Jane McAleese ’19 and Celia Page ’19.
For the past four years, every freshman class has had the amazing opportunity to go to Italy. Our grade, Class of 2019, had the chance to take this fascinating trip in November 2015. We traveled to three cities including Rome, Siena and Florence. There, we saw many famous paintings, sculptures and historical buildings. We also experienced the culture in many unique ways such as eating medieval recipes and completing a scavenger hunt in Florence based on the book A Room with a View. We started our trip in Pompeii, where we went on a walking tour of the city and were able to see how different it was compared to every other city we observed. After the first day when everyone wasn’t so jetlagged, we started our three days in Rome. We saw famous monuments such as the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Pantheon. On our third and last day in Rome we visited the home of the Catholic Church leader, Pope Francis. We took a tour through the The Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. The next day we headed off to Siena, where we went on a walking tour and had some free time to shop in the local stores. After a night in Siena we loaded our luggage onto the bus and headed for Florence. On our way to Florence, we stopped in the hilltop town of San Gimignano, and walked around town with our friends. San Gimignano has breathtaking views that can’t be found anywhere else. After our time in San Gimignano, we had an amazing lunch on a scenic farm. What was unique about our lunch was that everything that we ate was either grown or produced on the farm, literally farm to table. It was one of our grades favorite meals while we were in Italy. Our last stop was Florence. When we were there, we went to the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Museum, and saw famous sculptures such as the statue of David.
Our trip to Italy was a great experience for our class as it provided us with knowledge on the country from different perspectives. The tour guides, who were natives of the different cities, showed us not only the educational significance of the different buildings, statues etc., but also the importance of the object to the town. For example, the statue of Romulus and Remus (located in Rome) shows the story of how the brothers founded the famous city. However, the statue means much more to the people of Rome. Not only does it depict how their city was founded, but it also symbolizes the independence and power of the Romans, two concepts that were very important in ancient times. Italy also allowed our class to connect the information we heard to concepts we have learned in English, world history and art. As previously mentioned, we had a scavenger hunt in Florence where we had to step in the shoes of Miss Lucy Honeychurch, the protagonist in A Room with a View, a book that we read in the beginning of the year. This is a story of a young woman’s adventures in Italy and how they affect her life. In Rome, we were able to connect the famous buildings, such as the Colosseum, to the content we have studied in history thus far. In class we learned about gladiatorial combat, animal fights and the criminal executions that would take place in the Colosseum and it was quite interesting to see where these forms of entertainment took place. The art portion of our curriculum was showcased all over Italy, from the beautiful Michelangelo paintings in the Sistine Chapel to the statues shown in the Uffizi Art Gallery. Art was shown in many different forms in Italy.
Overall, our Italy trip was incredible and definitely unforgettable. One of our favorite parts of the trip was the opportunity to bond with our classmates, new and old, and form new friendships. Another highlight from the trip that cannot go unmentioned was the delicious food. From the different types of pasta to the countless flavors of gelato, the food was all so amazing there. We’re so fortunate to have had this experience, and on behalf of the Class of 2019 we would like to thank everyone who made it possible. We hope this will be a Baldwin tradition that carries on for a long time!