Weekend Travel

Killian Gilvary
February 26, 2014

About two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to travel to Florence and Pisa with some of my friends from the program. Being able to see other parts of Italy, as well as other countries for such an inexpensive price, is definitely a pro of studying abroad. While we did have to buy ourselves food, which of course was a little pricey, the overall trip barely cost me over 70 euro. As an art history major, Florence was at the top of my list for weekend trips in Italy. With places like the Uffizi, the Galleria dell’Accademia, and of course the Duomo,  there is an abundance of artwork waiting to be seen.

We arrived in Florence around 9:30 in the morning, and of course went straight to the nearest coffee bar. I chose a ‘caffe’ which is the equivalent to an espresso, while most of my friends went with an Italian cappuccino. Italian coffee is the best coffee I have ever tasted. At most coffee bars, the etiquette is to stand and drink your coffee at the ‘bar.’ Initially, this was so strange to me, because in America we usually take our coffee to go, or at least sit down and drink it. There are a few coffee bars that offer an ‘American’ take-away cup, but I have grown to love the relaxed atmosphere of staying at the bar and drinking my coffee.

Our morning pick me up.

After our coffee, we checked in to our hostel and walked as fast as possible to the Galleria dell’Accademia, which is home to Michelangelo’s David. To our surprise and luck, there was no line. We walked right into the gallery on a Saturday morning which from stories I’ve heard is not common. The gallery itself is full of magnificent artwork from classic painters and sculptors like Giotto and Bartolini. But when I turned the corner to the hallway of the David, I cried. I have never seen a piece of artwork so beautiful in my entire life. The way Michelangelo was able to capture the expression in David’s face, the veins in his hands, and the curls of his hair is magnificent. If I could go back and see it again, I would do it in a heartbeat. While we were unable to visit the Uffizi during our visit, we of course made it a priority to see and climb the Duomo. The inside of the church was stunning, but the views from the top of the Duomo were breathtaking. Florence is a beautiful city, and I definitely fell in love with it that weekend.

Michelangelo’s David. I have never seen something so perfect in my entire life.

The Duomo.

The view from the Duomo was spectacular.

The ceiling of the Baptistery of St. John.

One thing I loved the most about Florence was that there were artists everywhere drawing the city.

Here I am with the “Bridge of Gold” in the background!

We also traveled to Pisa during the same weekend. While seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa was amazing, there isn’t much else in Pisa. Its a cute little town, with hardly any traffic and completely empty buses, but other than the Tower there wasn’t much to see.

The leaning tower is definitely leaning.

Living in Rome for four months is such a blessing in itself, but having the chance to travel throughout Italy and all of Europe is the chance of a lifetime. I cannot wait to travel to so many other places throughout the course of the semester, like Venice, Verona, Spain, France, Pompeii, and the Almalfi Coast. I would love to be able to say that I saw the world, and this is giving me the perfect headstart.

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Killian Gilvary

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I am currently a junior at the Pennsylvania State University, majoring in Art History and Criminology. I am an active member in the service sorority, Gamma Sigma Sigma, and I enjoy giving back to my community and school. In my free time, I enjoy photography, cooking, reading, and spending time with my friends. Traveling to Italy has always been one of my goals, and I have been lucky enough to receive the opportunity to study abroad in Rome. I look forward to seeing all of my favorite works of art in person, as well as being able to immerse myself in the Italian culture. I hope my blog will not only allow you to view my experience in Rome, but that it will also allow you to immerse yourself in the Italian culture through my photos.</span></p>

2014 Spring
Home University:
Penn State University
Art History
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