Imagine it’s 4:15 in the afternoon. You’re walking through the tunnel that leads you to a Lufthansa plane. You can only imagine the wonder that awaits you once you complete your connecting flight to Italy.

This is exactly how the Ottawa Hills students embarking to Italy for Agora felt on November 18th. Once they arrived in Italy, the group of 27 students and 3 chaperones had a packed schedule; they began the trip with a stop at the Colosseum and a guided tour of the Roman Forum. The following day, the students paid a visit to the beautiful Vatican and saw the famed Sistine Chapel. Later that day, the students were able to behold the Basilica di San Pietro followed by a walking tour of Ancient Rome. To cap off the busy day, the students ate dinner and participated in an opera.

On Wednesday, the group left Rome and departed for Florence, making a stop in the beautiful city of Assisi on the way. There, they had a wonderful 6-course lunch in a quiet farmhouse and visited the Sacro Convento Di San Francisco. Once they finished their journey to Florence, the crew ate the favorite meal of the trip in an organic restaurant.

The following morning in Florence was a little bit different; after seeing the Galleria Degli Uffizi, the group had ample amounts of free time to visit places like the Loggia Del Mercato Nuovo and Ponte Vecchio, both known for their great shopping. The travelers then finished up the day with a trip up hundreds of stairs to experience the wonderful view at night from the top of Il Duomo.

Early the next morning, the travelers took a train to Venice and, for many of them, it was their first time on a train. Once in Venice, everyone was amazed by the city’s structure, as it had water canals instead of roads! In Venice, they traveled either by water taxi or foot to visit the beautiful architectural sites of the Basilica Di San Marco and the Palazzo Ducale.

On their final day, the group visited an island off the coast of Venice known for their glass blowing called Murano. After spending a few hours on the island, everyone departed for Venice to go to Ca’Macana, one of the oldest and most famous mask making studios in Venice. The day concluded with a sunset Gondola ride and a traditional farewell Italian dinner.

The following morning, groups of six took water taxis to the airport and prepared for their flight back home. While the travelers were sad to leave, they knew the memories would last forever.