My high school choir travels to one country a year for two weeks. While in that country we sing in various cathedrals and sight see. This year I was fortunate enough to go to Italy, and being a third Italian myself intensified my excitement.
I remember that in the airport it did not look too much different from America. There were advertisements for cell phones on the walls, coffee shops, and a lot of people. Once outside the airport however, the Italian architecture was breathtaking. It is very old and traditional, but it does not lack in beauty. The buildings are very close together but it makes one feel as if the citizens are one large family. Most buildings are made out of stone or cement. My favorite part about most of the buildings was the windows. They all had flowers hanging around them and shutters that were open.
The choir visited four main cities in Italy: Florence, Venice, Naples, and Rome. Each city offers something very unique. Florence has the Duomo Cathedral that is absolutely amazing! If you can climb up about 347 stairs to the top of the tower in the Duomo it is worth the exercise because the view from the top is unforgettable. Venice was one of my favorite cities because there are no cars. To travel around the city one must either walk or take a boat. A gondola ride down the Grand Canal is quite expensive but worth the price. If you are on a budget for your trip but still want to go on a gondola, look for one off the main canal. It is much cheaper! The gondola riders will really sing to you too! I thought that was only for couples or in movies. We also talked to our gondola rider about his life and got a first hand account of Italian culture. We learned that family relationships are very strong. Most men do not move out of their mother’s homes until they are married. Naples is a very “trashy” city. Literally. It does offer ocean views, but there is trash all over the streets lying in piles because the city has nowhere to put it. It also has a high crime rate. I would not suggest going to Naples. Rome is the best place to go to for tourists. There is so much to see and learn about! There are amazing architectural buildings like the coliseum and also amazing shopping. The Vatican City is also beautiful. At night when the Cathedral is lit up, it’s hard to take your eyes off of it. Attending a mass in the Vatican is a once in a lifetime experience. If you are Catholic it is a MUST! I am Catholic and receiving communion there was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. I was almost brought to tears. One thing that all the cities have in common however is gelato! Gelato is like ice cream, only better. I must admit I had gelato at least once a day. It is very affordable and worth every euro!!! The price is about one euro per scoop.
Overall my trip to Italy was a journey I will never forget. The culture and architecture are incredible. A lot of countries have been “Americanized” but I did not feel that Italy has suffered from this movement yet. There was not one moment when I was bored or did not have something marvelous to stare at. If anyone wants to plan a trip somewhere in the world I would highly recommend Italy!
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