During Floral Park Memorial High School’s winter recess, 40 students traveled to Italy under the supervision of faculty members John Christianson, Gina D’Ammassa, Dimitrios Drivas, Dourayeb Ben Moussa, Tracie Libonati and Oronzo Rutigliano.
The group started its tour in the city of Venice, where they experienced sights such as the Grand Canal, the Doge’s Palace and much more. While there, they also had the opportunity to see a glassblowing demonstration on the island of Murano and experience the city at the busiest and most exciting time of the year, during Carnival.
After their stay in Venice, they headed to Florence, on the way visiting The Pontifical Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua, which held beautiful paintings and the tongue of St. Anthony. In this picturesque city, they also walked across the Ponte Vecchio, took a walking tour around the city, where they stopped into the Accademia Gallery Museum, and saw Michelangelo’s David. They also saw Ghiberti’s famous Baptistery Doors and much more. The group did a bit of shopping at a well-known gold and leather shop, two popular aspects of the city. Here, they learned how to identify real leather and were shown samples of gold jewelry and leather jackets. During their stay in Florence, they also took a short trip to Pisa and saw the famous leaning tower and the Cathedral of Pisa.
On the way to Rome, they stopped for lunch in the breathtaking town of Assisi, where they saw the Basilica of St Francis. One of the highlights of the trip was learning how to make and eat gelato at one of the most famous factories in Italy. The group concluded the trip in the Eternal City, where they visited some of the most prominent sights such as the Colosseum, the Sistine Chapel, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon and St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
On the last day in Italy, the group conducted a food challenge, where they sampled some of Rome’s most popular ingredients and then explored the Roman catacombs. The students will never forget the numerous gelatos they had in between and the shopping sprees they went on near the Spanish Steps. They all had a great time and enjoyed every minute living “la dolce vita.”
—By Dylan Mattingly