Saturday, October 19, 2013


The next weekend we went to the famous Perugina Chocolate Factory in Perugia. It is home of the Bacio chocolate. We were able to tour the entire factory, learn how chocolate is made, and even were able to sample the different chocolate that they made.

This is the largest piece of chocolate made and even made the Guinness World Record Book as being the largest. When it was made for the Eurochocolate festival, the last day, it was broken up into pieces and handed out to the people at the festival. According to our tour guide, this year in Perugia, Baci will have some other interesting event.

On October 13th, my friends and I decided to go to a Perugian soccer match. We mainly went because we met one of the players who said to come to watch a match. The match was against Pisa. It was very fun and interesting going to the match because the entire time, we did not sit down. Italians are very passionate about soccer, even though the team lost. They would yell every time something happened to their players. They had chants throughout the game and we even joined in on them, once we figure out what they were saying.


My group of friends decided that we needed to go and see Cinque Terre (5 cities). It is named Cinque Terre because people go there to hike from one city to another city. We first took a train to Florence for the first day. Me and two other girls decided to take the train all the way to Pisa.

 There was quite a few tourists there, but not as many as I thought there would be. The photo on the left is of the river Arno which runs through Pisa.

We then took the train back to Florence and I decided that I wanted to tour Florence at night. So my friends and I stayed out until 3 am, touring parts of Florence.

 This is the Baptistery in the center of the city. It is octagonal shaped and even has the gold doors representing the old testament stories. They are called the Gates of Paradise. The Duomo Di Firenze Santa Maria del Fiore is the main attraction. It was built in 1296 and has a dome in the back. It is very beautiful both at night and the day. I also found out that one of my friends that I went with to see the duomo, his grandfather had worked on maintaining the roof of the dome a few years back.
This is a photo of the Palazzo Vecchio, clock tower. The top of the clock tower was built as a town hall, but was used as a fortress and prison. The very top of the tower was built crooked because the weight of the top would have been too much and the entire tower would have collapsed if it wasn't built this way. 

 The David statue was standing outside of the Palazzo Vecchio. Although this is not the real David, it is still similar to the real one. To the right is the Ponte Vecchio. It is the oldest bridge known which may have been built during Roman times and is still now being used. It has shops built along the inside of it.
Then the next day, we headed to Cinque Terre!

 This is the start of our trek across 2 mountains. It took 2 hours to walk from Riomaggiore to Vernazza, but it was definitely worth it. The view was amazing.

Vernazza! Finally!


The past two weeks have been busy. The Umbra Institute set up a weekend in Napoli, Pompeii, Ischia, and Capri. These places were absolutely beautiful. We started from Perugia and drove to Pompeii in 4 hours. When we got to Pompeii, I immediately located Mount Vesuvius!

We saw all sorts of ruins. The most interesting of the ruins were, of course, the mummies. 
There were quite a few mummies and a few skeletons that were out. 

This is a photo of the old Pompeian basilica. It was the house where the citizens, senate, and foreigners would trade and have meetings. What was interesting about this site, was that the pillars still had some of the old paint and terracotta because the ash that was spread over the city had preserved it so well.

This was the Pompeian forum where they held assemblies and also dramas or singing. The acoustics in this area were really great. Our tour guide had one of the boys in our group go down to the bottom and start singing in front of everyone. Surprisingly, they did quite well.
We then took a boat to Ischia, a small island off the coast of Naples. This little island was so pretty and had so much to offer. Unfortunately we only spent the evenings here. We had the most delicious food though. It was all 5 course meals. The photo above shows one of the beginning courses. I did wake up every morning at 5 am to get a photo of the sunrise. Of course it was very beautiful, especially because in the distance, you could see Mount Vesuvius. This photo does not show it, but I decided to play with some of the photo techniques I learned in my photo class this semester. 

 The second day at Ischia, the morning before we had to leave to come back to Perugia, my friend Fran and I ran into a man who had been in the Italian military in Pisa. We were sitting on the side of a wall taking photos of the sunrise, when this man came up to us and started talking to us in Italian. He was very kind and gave Fran and I some fruit and vegetables that he had grown for his restaurant that he owned. He also took us up in his house to get a good photo of Ischia from above. It was so beautiful and thankful that I had learned enough Italian to converse with him.

On  the second day in the South, we took a ferry to Capri. Capri is also a small island off the coast of Naples, a bit south of Ischia. This is home to some of the famous people around the world. George Clooney's summer house was on the island, along with Georgio Armani. It was a definite tourist island, but we were able to get a private tour around the whole island for only 15 Euros. The water was extremely blue, but also extremely salty. We also ended up hiking up a mountain and found the largest natural arch in Italy. It was very huge and was absolutely the most beautiful site that you can imagine.

 After our trips to Capri and Ischia, we took a ferry back to Naples and had a tour through Naples. It was a very dirty city compared to the other ones that we visited, but it also had a lot of history. Naples is known for being the home of the Margarita pizza, so of course, we ate some. Some of the other sites that we saw were the main piazza and center. In the Galleria Umberto, they had marble pictures of the zodiac signs. Our tours guide told us that if you stand in the circle and then jump into your zodiac and then make a wish, it would come true.
 This is a photo of the port in Naples. It is very important for trade and commerce. And of course, you can see Mount Vesuvius on the left.

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