A Great Start to Studying Abroad

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Wow! So far this week I’ve been able to explore a lot that Florence has to offer. For one my friends and I went to the Duomo and Giotto’s Tower for an amazing panoramic view of the entire city. Being inside one of the four largest cathedrals in the world really shined some light on how incredible of an artistic and architectural feat these structures truly are.

Later in the week we also went to Fort Belvedere and the Palazzo Pitti across the river. The history behind the lasting fort and the hundreds of works of art in the Palazzo was simply breathtaking. We got to see works from art greats like Raphael and Peter Paul Rubens throughout the Palazzo’s Palatine Gallery, some of which dated back to the 15th century.  One of Rubens’ portraits,The Four Philosophers, illustrates his intellectual role and significance during that period. Sitting with Rubens were three humanists, his brother Philip, Johannes Woverius and Justus Lipsius, their teacher. Rubens viewed himself as just as influential as some of the great minds of the early 17th century.

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Sunday we took a day trip to Siena and got to see yet another Duomo, one which the tour guide very proudly mentioned was finished before Florence’s Duomo was even originally commissioned. The intricate design and detail on both the interior and exterior shows just how much care and admiration these people put into their religion. From detailed frescoes to life-like marble statues, not one part of the Siena Cathedral lacked elegance.

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We’ve already seen so many amazing sights and it’s only been the a week. With day trips planned for Pompeii, Pisa, and two weekend trips to Rome and Venice, I can’t wait to see what Italy still has in store!

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