A Semester in Italy – In With Both the Old and the New – by Sara Desrocher. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports
This past week has been full of adventures, my family was able to join me in traveling around Italy during my week long break. We visited Cinque Terre, which is a chain of 5 cities built into the hills bordering the sea. The cities are close enough to hike between, otherwise there is a convenient train that runs straight through the hills and takes about 5 minutes to each stop. We ended up spending two days traveling through and visiting each town to explore a bit. Each town had a different feel but they were all pretty similar. I was traveling with my parents, older brother, aunt and uncle. We really enjoyed seeing the towns down on the water and navigating through the small alleyways and steps… so many steps! It was amazing the see how the buildings were built right into the side of the hills above the water. I was interested by the farming up on the hills, the only reason that the towns exist is because the people of the area made the decision to farm these hills. The farmers are very resourceful with the growing patches and use of machinery to bring the crops down to the town from the top of the hills.
Our next stop during the trip was Rome. I enjoyed Rome more than I thought that I would, based on how touristy the area is. One thing that I noticed around the city was that the buildings looked different from the other big cities that I have visited in Italy. The shops and buildings were white and looked like marble, just what you would expect Rome to be like. I was fully aware of the ruins that I would see in the city but I was not expecting the mix of old and new within the city. At one point we were just wandering through the streets, turned a corner and found the Pantheon, a former Roman temple that is now a church. I enjoyed seeing this mix, it is amazing how the city is built right around these ancient structures.
We spent an entire day going around the big draws of the city. First we visited the Roman Forum, which is essentially the remains of the ancient city center. We listened to a podcast tour that lead us around the Forum, explaining what each structure was. It was interesting to walk through the town and imagine what it was like in the past. Strolling past the palaces and into the piazza, seeing the Temple of Caesar marking the area where Julius Caesar was burned and buried. After the Forum, we went to the Colosseum and followed another podcast tour talking about the different uses for the Colosseum. After that, we went to the Vatican City. This is a city-state within Rome that houses the Pope, along with the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. It was amazing to see the painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel because it is the original painting by Michelangelo, one of his most famous pieces and widely recognized paintings.
About our special correspondent Sara Desrocher: I am a junior at St. Scholastica majoring in Computer Science with a concentration of Software Engineering. I am staying in a small town about 25 minutes outside of Florence, Italy with a HECUA program. My current studies are focused on Agriculture and Sustainability, which is very interesting to learn about in Europe. I chose this program because Italy has always been a place that I wanted to visit, mainly due to the fact that my great-grandfather came here from southern Italy. This is my first time in Europe and it has been quite the experience so far. I am excited for even more experiences as I gain a better understanding of the community!
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The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm
Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.
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