What a lovely weekend we’ve had in Venice, the destination of our summer-2 overnight trip! We arrived in the late morning via train and grabbed a quick lunch before Professor Nero took us on a small walking tour of St. Mark’s square and St. Mark’s Basilica, the Bridge of Sighs and the St. Zaccaria church. St. Mark’s Basilica was breathtaking – one of the most beautiful churches that I have ever seen, right up there with St. Peter’s in Rome – and the upper floor with the four famous bronze horses and the panoramic view of the square is not to be missed. Inside the basilica is the Pala d’Oro, a Byzantian altar screen of gold that features over two thousand precious jewels that were acquired during the fourth Crusade. Incredible! Unfortunately, no photos are allowed so we must keep this dazzling image fixed only in memory. After the tour we had time on our own to explore the city and take pictures. Our group dinner that evening was, of course, delicious, and afterwards many students were eager to take an evening gondola ride through the Grand Canal.
The second morning of our trip, we saw three of Venice’s one-hundred-and-fourteen islands, Murano, where we witnessed a demonstration of the famous Murano glass being made. Many students bought handmade souvenirs for friends and family members, and what better place to buy them than in the Glass Factory gift shop itself. You can’t get any more authentic than that! We also visited Burano, with its brightly colored houses, and Torcello, which boasts both the Santa Maria Assunta cathedral and the church of St. Fosca. It was a great day to be on the shuttle boat and we were able to see lots of the surrounding areas of Venice. In the afternoon we visited the Peggy Guggenheim Museum of Modern and Contemporary art, which was a very interesting break from the bombardment of Florentine Renaissance art. We saw many examples of Cubism, Surrealism, and Futurism, to name a few of the popular modernist and contemporary styles. Many students were reluctant to leave Venice and its beautiful collection of islands when it came time to hop on our train home, but happy to return to our beloved Florence… just in time for midterms!
-article written by Samantha Gillen, Program Assistant for Summer-Fall 2015