As the days counted down, twenty-four excited students and advisors at Monmouth Academy prepared themselves for an educational, memorable trip: a trip to Italy. As we stepped onto the bus at Monmouth Academy on April 16th, it finally sank in for the twenty-four of us; we’re going to Italy!

We arrived in Boston and quickly boarded our first plane and made it to Switzerland by morning (their time). Our final flight into Milan was an exciting one. As we made our way out of the airport in Milan we met who would be our tour guide for the next ten days. Romeo. The traditional man’s name you think of when you think of Italy. Romeo was an enjoyable man, and made every part of the trip fun.

We traveled to many different cities, first starting in Verona, where the famous Juliet statue was standing. We roamed around the small city, licking our first taste of “Gelato”. Later that night we arrived at our first hotel, despite our surprised reactions by the showers and “second toilets” or the “bidets,” we slept well.

The next day we departed for the island of Venice, enjoying the sunny weather. While in Venice, we saw a beautiful church, watched an interesting glass blowing demonstration, and had some free time to roam around and look around at the shops. Later, we all went on a gondola ride, a memory I’m sure we’ll never forget.

On the morning of April 19th, we headed off to Florence. We spent the day in Florence touring different museums and churches. During our free time this day, the new Pope was elected, Benedict the XVI. We heard the bells ringing, and then came chaos! Our Advisor, Mrs. Arsenault, was interviewed by an Italian TV show about her thoughts on who the new pope might be.

We woke up the next morning in our new hotel and headed to Pisa for part of the day; then once we were finished there, we went back to Florence for the rest of the day; starting in the Academia Museum where the famous Statue of David and many other amazing pieces of artwork are displayed.

On the 21st of April, we left the wonderful city of Florence and went to the cute medieval town of Assisi. We visited the church where Saint Francis’s tomb is located. The next day, we woke up earlier than usual and went to Pompeii to see the ancient ruins from the result of the volcano Vesuvius. We toured around the area for a little while, then made our way to Sorrento, a striking city on the Mediterranean coast of Italy. We traveled by ferry to the island of Capri the next morning. It was a beautiful day! We took a boat tour around the western side of the island and explored some caves. Afterwards, we took the funicular up to the top of the island.

The last day of our trip was all but boring. We toured the Coliseum in the morning, and then to our surprise we were taken through four different security stations to the Vatican City to see the new Pope’s Inaugural Mass. It was incredible! We came out into the square in front of about 600,000 people. The twenty-four of us never thought we would be able to enter the Vatican City, let alone see the new pope, especially during his first mass! Italy was truly an amazing experience for all of us; I know I will be back! Ciao!

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