Angela Goddard (’21) reflects on visiting Florence with the Christendom Rome Program.
On a rainy Thursday afternoon in November the Christendom students studying in Rome boarded an Italian tour bus and set out for Florence, the Italian city renowned world-wide for its art and cultural riches. Winding through the rolling hills of northern Italy we arrived to Florence before noon and checked into the peaceful little convent we would call home for the next few days. After grabbing some lunch at a nearby café, we all met up to take a tour of the city under the excellent guidance of Frea and Sara, local tour guides and friends to Miss Ott, our Rome director. Frea and Sara led us around the most famous places in Florence explaining the history and philosophy that went into the construction of the city. We saw the power and decadence of the Medici family in the Vasari Corridor, experienced the blossoming of the Renaissance in Santo Spirito, and marveled at the beautiful work of Michelangelo, Ghiberti, and Brunelleschi in the Duomo and Baptistry of Santa Maria del Fiore.
After perusing the leather markets on our own, we all met up for dinner at a local Greek restaurant. The owner welcomed us with open arms. After a delicious dinner, we were all treated to American tunes by the chef himself and we learned a little traditional Greek dancing from a local dancer. Friday morning dawned rainy once again. But despite the weather we visited the world-renowned Uffizi Museum and the Boboli Gardens built by the Medici family. The rest of the day we all enjoyed shopping around Florence and seeing the beautiful churches throughout the city. Miss Ott, Paul Flagg, and Elizabeth Rensch, our Rome directors, pointed us to the best shops for leather and scarves. A few of us were even brave enough to try the Florentine tripe sandwich!
In the evening we were encouraged to attend Holy Mass at Santa Croce. A few of us also found the local American Diner and enjoyed a taste of home away from home. Our last day in Florence we finally got some sunshine! We toured the Convento di San Marco where Fra Angelico painted his beautiful frescoes in the cells of the Monastery. The remainder of the day we explored the rest of the city. Personally, I found a little chocolate shop with the most delicious creamy hot chocolate I have ever tasted! As we headed back to Rome on the bus Saturday night, I thanked God for the gift of touring this beautiful city.