Treasures and Timing | My Family Travels
Europe-HOBY 440
Europe-HOBY 440

I sat in my Honors World Art Studio Class freshman year expecting to have the opportunity to make pottery and create beautiful art. Within the first few minutes I was handed…a textbook. A textbook in an art class? To my surprise, this was an art history class (which was not designated in the curriculum).

Entering class I was the average stubborn teenager who refused to keep an open mind. However, that reluctant attitude did not last long. My eccentric art history teacher, Ms. Dunn, sparked a new interest in me. I fell in love with art and found a new passion.

â–º  QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP

Ms. Dunn did not simply show us famous pieces in history, but the hidden art treasures that were not well known to the average person.  Two years later I was offered the chance to travel to Italy and France with Ms. Dunn and 14 classmates with Education First Tours. This exciting adventure would be my first trip abroad.

Throughout the eleven days, there were two moments that will forever last in my memories. Walking back to our hotel on the cobblestones of Florence, we noticed a group of people setting up for an orchestra. We decided to stay for a few minutes to see why there was so much commotion. An announcer spoke and informed the crowd this was a rally to gain support for an opera house in Florence. Minutes later the conductor was called to the stage. My teacher could not believe her eyes as Zubin Mehta walked on stage. As the orchestra and opera singers began I watched my teacher as she bit her lip and tears ran from her eyes. She could not believe she was standing in front of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore watching the world renowned conductor perform. This scene could not have been more picturesque. “It was on my bucket list to see Zubin Mehta perform. I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around this right now! I can’t believe the timing,” sobbed Ms. Dunn. It was such a coincidence we decided to take this route back to the hotel. Needless to say, we stayed longer than a few minutes.

Our last day in Rome was the most memorable day on our trip. Prior to this, we witnessed the Mona Lisa surrounded by a large crowd. We had seen the Cathedral of Notre Dame with a line of tourists out the door. However, our last day was different. Having the day to ourselves, Ms. Dunn took us to see “real art treasures.” We visited Bernini’s Ecstasy of St. Theresa, the piece I had been looking forward to seeing since the first time I saw it in my textbook. Outside, the Santa Maria della Vittoria looked modest and austere, but the inside was extravagant. Standing before the statue was a dream come true as I inspected every piece of the work from the flowing cloak of marble to scandalous facial expression of St. Theresa from the Baroque Era. To my surprise, there were only two other people in the basilica. How could so many people awe over the 77cm by 53cm Mona Lisa, but not come to see this masterpiece? We traveled on to search other churches in the city and found every Caravaggio painting Ms. Dunn could fit in. Once again, one or two stragglers visited the churches to observe the works of a genius. It was truly surreal to see the works ‘in situ.’ We had found the treasures of Florence by taking a path different from the average tourist. We were now treasure hunters…with excellent timing.

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