Pisa, Le Cinque Terre, Lucca e il Mare
Ciao! A lot has happened since the last update. Not more than two weeks have past but we already went on our 4-day excursion and took a trip to the Tuscan coast this past weekend.
This semester our trip took all students and much of the staff to northern Tuscany and Liguria. We started out in Pisa, home to Marianna who is one of our Italian language professors. She led us around the city and explained that there’s a lot more to Pisa than just the leaning tower. Pisa’s history dates back the Roman Empire, and there are ruins from that period scattered throughout town.
After a full day in Pisa, we headed to Viareggio, just up the coast, where our hotel and base camp would be for the next three days. During the summer, Viareggio draws huge numbers of Italians and tourists to its famous beaches. This time of year things were rather quiet, but that’s just what we needed after long days of adventure and site-seeing.
Day two was a free day. Unfortunately the weather was not very cooperative. Despite the rain, students went hiking, shopping and a few even went swimming in the sea.
The famed Cinque Terre were the destination for the third day. We took a train together from La Spezia to Riomaggiore, the first five towns perched on cliffs above the Mediterranean Sea. From there, we walked to the next town, Manarola on the “Via Dell’Amore” (the street of love). I spent the day watching the waves crash into the rocks below the towns and eating fresh, locally produced pesto.
On our final morning, we headed to the town of Lucca. We visited the Emigration Museum in the morning where we were lucky to have a very resourceful and well-informed tour guide who made the visit very worthwhile for all and especially for those who are descendents of Italian immigrants. After our tour, everyone was free to explore. Almost everyone found their way to the city’s wall that have been transformed from a defense system into a park that is more than 2 km all the way around.
Thursday and Friday it was back to the grind for us all here in Siena although “the grind” isn’t really all that bad considering the enthusiasm and friendliness of our staff. 😉
Friday and Saturday we split the 32 students into two groups and headed to the beach near Castiglione Della Pescaia. The weather is still good this time of year, so we needed to get that trip in before it starts to get cooler. Both groups had a great time and a lot of people even went swimming.