This summer Olivia DeFrancesco, a rising junior on the Hornet women’s basketball team, traveled to Italy. This is a blog of her experiences with a photo gallery.
This past June, I spent my time living in a small apartment in Rome, Italy. Just 10 minutes outside the heart of Rome, I took courses at the International Institute of Lorenzo de’ Medici. There, I got to opportunity to learn and explore every inch of the Eternal City, whether it was on class trips or on my own.
In the classroom I was able to learn so much in a short period of time. My classes were small with only 3-4 people in them, which put my learning experience on a much more personal level. My professors incorporated multiple on site classes and I was able to learn about parts of Rome I would never have thought to. One interesting place I went was the Keats-Shelley House. It was interesting to learn about the lives of famous English Romantic poets who travelled to Rome on their Italian Grand Tour. Other places I visited during classes were the Coliseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, various Enotecas, the Non-Catholic Cemetery, the Largo Argentina, and Capital Hill.
On the weekends we were allowed to travel to various different cities. During my free time, I visited Florence, Venice, and the Amalfi Coast. My favorite trip by far was to the Amalfi Coast. It was a weekend full of fun, beautiful sights, and amazing food. On the first day my roommates and I were there, we went to the island of Capri. We took a boat tour of the Blue Grotto, and thanks to the low tides, we were able to go inside and explore the cave in our mini boat. Positano was our next stop, where we relaxed on the beach all day and rented kayaks to explore the incredibly beautiful waters. Our weekend ended with tour of Pompeii and a hike up Mt. Vesuvius. For any of the women’s basketball and soccer players reading this, it was like running up a hill steeper than Thomas Road that seemed like it would never end. It was unbelievably exhausting, but the views made it worthwhile.
Living in Rome truly changed my life. I was able to fully experience many different things in and out of the classroom. Not only did I make unforgettable memories, but I also built friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime. I loved every second of my trip and would highly recommend for any student to go abroad.