2015-08-29 / The Bullhorn

‘My vacation to Italy was fantastic’

By Kayleigh Long

This summer, I embarked on an incredible journey to Italy. During my two-week vacation, I stayed in Venice, Florence and Rome. In those three cities, I visited many historical sites and learned a little about the Italian culture.

On June 25, my family and family friend, Matt George, left Roxboro to fly to Venice.

Once we arrived at the airport in Italy, we boarded a boat to go to our inn. On the way there, I marveled at the beautifully designed buildings.

Many had archways in their bases and trim around the windows. Some buildings even had stone lion heads and gargoyles sitting on their balconies.

After we settled into our rooms, Matt, my parents, and I walked the streets. While browsing the many merchant stands, we ran into the rest of Matt’s family — Sarah, Rohan, and Tara — who had arrived the day before. We all explored the streets until we retired for the night.

The next day, my family and Matt took a tour and visited Doge’s Palace.

Our guide led us through the small alleyways of Venice where our group learned a bit about the architecture of the city. Buildings couldn’t be built any taller because another level would create too much weight and would sink the islands they stand on.

To solve this problem, buildings had lower ceilings to create more room for levels in the existing structure.

When our group arrived at the palace, I was amazed by how intricate the designs on the outside walls were. Looking closely, I could tell that the walls had patterns in their bricks.

The interior of the palace was even more impressive. Gold paintings adorned the walls and ceilings. Many of the paintings had lions in them, which I learned represented Venice.

On my third day in the country, I took a train to Florence. I was surprised to see that it was a fairly busy city. Venice, being a calm and relaxed place, contrasted greatly from the huge crowds of Florence.

Everywhere I looked, there was a statue of some sort. Some of them were replicas while others were the real works.

We visited the Bell Tower of the Duomo. My dad and I climbed up close to 400 spiral stairs to get a close look at the paintings on the ceiling of the tower. The art depicted visions of heaven and hell, all in stunning detail.

Climbing back down the stairs was a hassle, but it was worth the effort to see such gorgeous art.

I also was able to see the David sculpture. The statue was also stunningly detailed; so much so that it looked like David was going to come alive at any moment.

On July 1, my family and Matt’s went by train to Rome. It was even busier than Florence.

Cars and motorcycles darted down the street while pedestrians weaved their way through the traffic. I saw many tourist sites in Rome, but by far my favorite was the Coliseum.

The building was larger than life and had an ancient atmosphere.

In the Coliseum, there was a deep pit where gladiators used to fight. In the circumference of the structure were rows of tiered seats.

Long ago, guests would sit on the rows and watch the battle.

Different classes of people would sit in certain rows, starting from the highest ranking members on the lowest row to the women and children on the topmost row.

After the tour, I took a walk on the streets of Rome. The streets have a multitude of excavation sites with old ruins dating back to the BC era.

While I was admiring one of the excavation sites, a small furry creature caught my eye. A cat was wandering among the ruins. As I inspected the ruins further, I found even more cats.

Cats were living in the ruins of Rome. I found this very interesting, as well as a bit amusing. It seemed a little bizarre and random.

My vacation to Italy was fantastic. I had a lot of fun exploring the historical sites, learning, and just living in a different environment. Having another family with me there also added to the enjoyment. They made me feel more comfortable in the foreign country.

If I could go to Italy again, I would jump at the chance.

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