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If I only had the time and money to travel to one place during my time in Europe, it would have been Italy. For me, Italy has always been the land of classical art and architecture, which I have always preferred over more modern and abstract pieces. I wanted to visit even more after a wonderful art history course in high school. And who can forget the great food and (possibly creepy but often very attractive) Italian men?

I planned my Italy trip literally as soon as I figured out my class schedule in France. Our 6-day journey in October sent us to Rome, the Vatican, Florence, and Milan, allowing us to indulge in the art, architecture, culture, and gelato of that bellissimo county.

What we found out is that pasta in Italy did indeed taste different. It was something about the way the sauce is cooked and incorporated. I also found out that in some ways I preferred the run-of-the-mill pizza shops in the States to the Italian originals (I know, blasphemous!). Perhaps I just like fuller crusts better. We ate more gelato each day than what was healthy for our bodies, and despite living in France, we drank our share of Italian wine as well. We visited as many of the greatest masterpieces as we could, including Michangelo’s David and da Vinci’s The Last Supper, and found a few lesser-known treasures as well. We also found out that, yes, Italians do indeed talk with as much emotion and as many hand gestures as we always saw in the movies. And finally, I found out that I’m absolutely in love with Florence.

Fortunately I was able to schedule my classes accordingly and budget well enough to travel to many other places, including various places in the South of France, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and a couple of other countries as well. And for that, I am thankful.

I will never forget the incredible beauty of Italy, and sincerely hope that one day, I’ll make it back to that land of art, architecture, and gelato.

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