As the old saying goes, “patience is a virtue.” Tell that to a group of 25 Monmouth Academy students and adults anxiously anticipating the 16th of April when they are set to take the trip of a lifetime. Last winter Mrs. Christine Arsenault, English teacher and World Traveler Extraordinaire, in a joint decision with students, chose Italy as their vacation destination. Well, actually it’s not a vacation, but an educational trip organized by EF Tours, a company that specializes in world travel. All students interested were invited; so long as they agreed to crack open their piggy banks. With an itinerary packed with unique and exciting experiences, no convincing was necessary for most students. EF calls the trip “The Grand Tour of Italy” which is certainly no exaggeration.

The first stop after touching down will be Venice. The EF tour guide will take students sightseeing through the city. A few notable landmarks include the Grand Canal, the Campanile, a 324-foot bell tower, and Doges’ Palace, once home to Venetian dukes. After a few days the tour will move to Florence, the origin of The Renaissance, the Italian language, and opera. Here students will see Giotto’s Bell Tower, a large marble cathedral named Piazza del Duomo, and the Chiesa di Santa Croce, the resting place of Michelangelo, Machiavelli, and Galileo.

During their stay in Florence, the group will make an excursion to Pisa to see the legendary 12th Century Leaning Tower where Galileo experimented with gravity. The trip wouldn’t be complete without seeing this wonder. From Florence, the tour will move to Assisi, home of the basilica of St. Francis; Pompeii, the city buried in volcanic ash in 79 A.D. by Mt. Vesuvius; Sorrento, overlooking the Bay of Naples; Capri, an isle home of the Faraglioni (three giant colossi); and finally to Rome. In Rome students will see the massive Colosseum, once home to gladiator battles, the Forum Romanium, center of the ancient Roman Empire, and even the Piazza Venezia, where the Vittoriano monument sits. The group will also make an excursion to Vatican City while in this area.

Patience may be a virtue, but, with such an exciting line up, it’s certainly difficult to find among students.

“It’s a great way to end my high school career,” said senior Jerod Bechard, “and it can’t come soon enough.”

Until mid-April, all students can do is wait and prepare. A few necessities include passports, calling cards, spending money, and plenty of film.

“I’m so excited, I’ve already got my bag packed,” said junior Emily Masi. “This is going to be the trip of a lifetime.”

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