Happy Thursday, everyone! As hard as it is to believe, the first half of the program is coming to an end today. The students are taking their exams right now, and then we will all go to the infamous "Casa del Prosciutto" for lunch before finalizing our things and heading to the Pisa airport! But to pick up from where I left off on Tuesday...
We finally made it to Firenze on Wednesday! Led by the students who chose all of the locations for us to go, we visited Chiesa di Santa Maria del Fiore (or the Duomo), Chiesa di San Lorenzo, Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, and Ponte Vecchio. These are some of the most popular sights in all of Firenze! Although we could not get into Palazzo Vecchio that day, we still were able to explore the other sights and learn about all of them thanks to the young scholars that researched each one. Here is a picture of us on Ponte Vecchio after we finished our mini-presentations for the day! Shout out to Christina for letting us use her selfie stick :)
Thursday and Friday were standard class days. Both days we discussed "La Mandragola," and we also practiced our grammar by reviewing the Imperative. In addition, Thursday we were able to go to the market again (where I bought a pair of shoes that I had my eye on the week before), and Friday we ended slightly early so that we could prepare for the weekend.
What an exciting weekend it was! Most of the students planned a trip to Venezia for AnnMarie's birthday, leaving Friday and coming back on Sunday afternoon after seeing Piazza San Marco, riding in gondolas, and of course, making new friends. Alessandra tackled Cinque Terre in one day (che brava!), and I went to Milano with Professoressa Lerner Friday night, returning to Vicchio on Saturday. Milano was absolutely amazing! Professoressa Lerner and I took a nice walk around the city Friday evening and finished off the night with delicious pizza, and the next day, I explored the city a little on my own. I even climbed to the top of the Duomo!
On Monday, everyone seemed a little tired from the weekend (which just means everyone had fun!). Regardless, we took our last group trip to Firenze. After we returned to Palazzo Vecchio to finish up the presentations from the prior visit, we crossed the Arno River via Ponte Vecchio. We visited Palazzo Pitti (sadly the gardens were closed so we weren't able to see them... this time) and Cappella Brancacci before returning back to Vicchio for some food and rest. Here's a picture of the group listening to Kris give his presentation on "Salone di Cinquecento" inside of Palazzo Vecchio:
The rest of the week has gone smoothly and quickly. Tuesday we began our first exam review during class after discussing a novella the students read. After dinner, we went to the Professors' house to watch a film based on the novella. It was a bit of a strange film but was well-made and thought-provoking, plus it was fun to have a movie night all together with the professors! Yesterday we finished discussing both the film and the exam, and then we planned our trip to Puglia which will begin promptly after the students are finished.
We have had a wonderful first half of the program. Learning about Firenze and experiencing its history first-hand have been amazing. Everyone has been nervous for the exam, but speaking from experience, they have no reason to be. They're all wonderful students and have been working diligently up until now, so I know they'll do well. I've seen so much improvement already! But for now, Puglia awaits, I can't wait to write about our experience there. Gotta go pack!!