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Student Blog: Impressions of Italy

28 October 2019

Last year in Sustainability Club, the students were given the opportunity to plan and formally propose through presentations to the school's Senior Leadership Team, trip ideas for the October Holidays that did not involve flying (in order to help reduce our school's carbon footprint). Liza and Nastya's (both G12, Russia), Tour of Italy was the successful proposal; and, on 13 October, an excited group of Surval students and staff embarked by coach on a journey that was to take them on a tour of a lifetime...

Below, Soledad (G9, Mexico), shares her impressions from the highlights of a trip that encompassed many of Italy's most famous sights and locations. Thanks also to Vivi (FY, Mexico) for sharing some of her wonderful photographs!

Juliet’s balcony…

This was my favorite sight in Verona. The gothic architecture of the house itself was so intriguing and eye-catching. All the love notes at the entrance provided a romantic and cheerful ambience to the courtyard. The sun gracefully hit the statue of Juliet, a magnet for tourists all around the world. Parts of the statue have been turned into a different hue, a chemical reaction from the combination of tourist hands and the bronze in the statue. The balcony brought the images in my head to real life and I absolutely loved it.

Gardaland Themepark

This was so much fun! My favourite moment was seeing the photo of me and my friends screaming our heads off on the big roller-coaster. It was the first upside down roller-coaster I have ever been on. Thankfully, my friends helped me get over my fear in the (what felt like!) eternal queue. Here, we tried the most delicious waffle cone with ice cream and chocolate. The warm gooey chocolate felt amazing against our cold lips.

Venice & The Gondola Ride

Shimmering turquoise water. The sound of waves lapping against faded colourful buildings. A gondolier’s singing mingling with the noise of seagulls. The girls quiet as they gazed around them. The sun resting against cotton candy clouds. Sweet bell sounds chiming through. Cold gelato refreshing us.

Florence & the Duomo and the Uffizi Gallery

Florence was an incredible journey. Our hotel had an amazing view over the city. The Uffizi gallery had iconic renaissance art pieces and smooth sculptures all around. The gallery really showed you what life was like back then and helped us learn more about religion. Our amazing tour guide taught us that the Duomo was completed in sixteen years. It is made of marble and brick and has been remodelled since it was first built.  The Duomo both stood out and yet somehow still matched the rest of Florence. The elevation difference added emphasis to the beautiful dome itself. The tip gracefully met the horizon and matched the sunset.

Rome - Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Colosseum, Pantheon

When in Rome…

Rome is the capital of Italy. It has two hundred and eighty fountains and nine hundred churches. We only had a few days here so, unfortunately, we couldn't visit all of these! We started the day with a scavenger hunt all around Rome. This gave us the opportunity to explore and visit the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Colosseum and Pantheon. The fountain and Colosseum are made from the same material. The Colosseum provided an arena for ancient civilisation. They would have shows and performances to provide entertainment. The Pantheon was larger than I had expected. Looking up at it brought so much wonder to our minds. We had so many things to do, but so little time. But, as they say, when in Rome do as the Romans do; so, following our explorations, we ate some delicious and authentic Carbonara pasta.


These ancient ruins have been preserved to let humans learn about an earlier civilisation. We got to see old buildings and, from this, gain some insight into how people would lived their lives back then. There were houses with dining rooms, bedrooms and different market shops. It is very clear to see how the Romans inspired our current time. The people frozen in time shocked me. You can see how the people were positioned and what they were doing just as the volcano struck. It is a devastating seeing this destruction, but I believe they made an incredible memorial out of such a tragedy.

Vatican City

Shining building. Clear blue skies. White and pastel buildings. Colourful and meaningful paintings. Gleaming accents in the buildings. Beautiful crosses. Matching architecture throughout the city. White clouds aligning with white roofs.

Pizza-Making (and eating!)

The pizza was delicious. We arrived at the restaurant after a compelling tour of the Vatican. First, we separated all the ingredients. We then mixed and moulded the dough. Second, we glided the tomato sauce across the dough. Third, we added our toppings of choice all across the pizza. Finally, we ate – who knew that amateur chefs could make delicious pizza!

Siena in Tuscany

On our way to Pisa we had a few hours in Siena. Here, we explored the shops and Piazza de Siena. The clock tower was as tall as it was beautiful. We ate some Italian food and mango gelato. Siena was so picturesque and alluring that I wish we had had time to do more than just scratch the surface of such a lovely town.

Pisa & The Leaning Tower

White buildings. Cream walls. Tall, eye-catching cathedrals. The tower’s angle. A shadow cast across a small park. Cool, refreshing gelato. Gleaming surfaces of buildings. Matching architecture. Clouds shaped perfectly all around.

La Spezia

La Spezia is a port city in in the North of Italy. If you picture Italy, it looks like a boot. Now, just imagine that La Spezia is in the “knee” of Italy. La Spezia itself was charming. The contrast between this and the other cities was striking. Here, it was less historic but still beautiful. Sadly, the first day had depressing weather. We stayed in the hotel, but still made a fun day out of it. It was a nice rest from all the travelling

Cinque Terre

Our day in Cinque Terre was a perfect ending to the trip. We travelled through the islands by train. Cinque Terre means five lands: it consists of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. These villages were so small and so beautiful. It overlooked the sea and the different mountain regions. Our photographs could not do justice to all the colourful buildings. My favorite city was probably Vernazza. The rainbow structures and crystal clear water were even better than how I imagined it would be. 

And finally…

La Spezia was our last city of the tour. It was bittersweet. Italy had treated us well. We have learned so much and made amazing memories with each other. We tried new foods and discovered a whole new culture. Now, it feels great to be back home at Surval and into a routine again; I will definitely miss our time in Italy but I am glad to be back and see all our Surval Sisters.