This morning, we woke up and left the city of Florence to go to Verona. Driving towards Verona, the countryside looked very similar to the countryside near Milan. It is very flat and filled with farmland. However, after we left the hotel and started walking further into the city, you could see a clear difference between Milan and Verona. Overall, Milan is a larger and more modern city. There is a metro system, skyscrapers, and busy roads with lots of cars. Verona, on the other hand, is smaller, quieter, and has lots of tourists during the daytime. There is also lots of very old architecture, including ruins from Roman times. Nearly everywhere you walk in Verona, you could imagine you were years in the past, but in Milan, the old is right next to the brand new. Within one square you can see architecture in styles ranging from Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, Gothic, and Venetian. Very little traces of Roman buildings remain in Milan because it was conquered so many times by so many different people and the buildings got destroyed and their materials were reused. In Verona there is even an amphitheater remaining that is even used for concerts now. There is only a small section of the marble façade left standing, but most of the concrete and stone section that makes up the main part of the arena is still standing. The Romans were so efficient in the use of the 72 entrances that correspond to sections of seats that the 30,000 people who could attend the events were able to completely leave the amphitheater in only fifteen minutes.
The city of Milan is set up kind of in circles going out from the center of the city, but Verona is surrounded on three sides by the Adige River, so as it expanded it had to expand further out into the fourth side where there is no river. Over the course of Verona’s history, there have been three walls surrounding the city, each new one covered a larger section of the city than the one before it. The first one was Roman, with the amphitheater just outside of it, the next one was Medieval and included some of the area around the amphitheater, and the one after that was Venetian and included much more of the city. In the central part of the city the roads are very narrow, mostly cobblestone, and form a grid, like the roads of most Roman cities. Milan’s roads are more like the roads you would see in towns and cities in the United States.
Before this trip, I have never had the chance to travel outside of the United States. I have traveled to Sacramento and Miami on my own before, so I do have some independent travel experience, but both times I was staying with family that lived in those places so I didn’t have to take care of myself on my own. The only time I have traveled with a group of other students was when I was a sophomore in high school. A group of about 20 students from my AP Biology class went to a marine science consortium Wallops Island, Virginia. We took a bus down and stayed in dorm rooms. Most activities were planned, so I didn’t have to work with others to figure things out, but we still did have to get along for the time we were there. I chose to go on this trip because I have always dreamed of traveling to Europe as I love art and old styles of architecture. On this trip so far I have been able to see buildings and paintings by artists more famous than I ever thought I would see, so I know I made the right choice. Also, the focus of this trip is supply chain management and the fashion industry. I hope to work in marketing for an international fashion company, using my minor in Spanish, so that was another reason for choosing this study abroad. Even though they don’t speak Spanish here, I still thought it would be very helpful to learn about a culture different from my own. I hope to study abroad more during my college career, and I think this trip will be the perfect way to prepare myself for programs that will be much more independent.