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  • The Griffin

From Buffalo to Italy

By Julia Barth, Editor-in-Chief

Over spring break, I had the absolute pleasure of traveling to Italy with a wonderful group of Canisius students and professors. Many readers may know about this program, but photography professor Tom Wolf has been teaching a Travel Photography class for years, and part of that class includes a spring break trip to Italy. This year, they partnered with the art history department and Professor Yvonne Widenor to include students from Renaissance Art and Greek and Roman Art.

As a senior who spent most of her college experience navigating the treacherous and uncertain waters of COVID-19, I didn’t get a chance to study abroad, let alone take any school trips out of the country. So to commemorate my time at Canisius and wrap up four of the best years of my life, my three roommates and I packed our bags and set out for Italy!

The trip was everything we could have asked for and more. If you are thinking about taking the classes that offer the trip to Italy, I would 100% recommend you do it. Not only were we able to explore Italy (!), but the knowledge and experience that Professor Wolf and his longtime friend/tour guide/Italy expert/Italian speaker Audrey brought to the trip was invaluable.

When most people go to Italy, they hit the places that everyone else visits — you know, the tourist-y things like the big cities, famous museums and notable landmarks. We did some of that, but we also got a close look at small towns and got to know so many locals as well. This trip is not your average Italy trip, and that’s what made it so special. My whole family is Italian, so I went into this trip with a goal of eating incredible food every night, and though that goal was a success, I also got so much more out of it than I ever would’ve thought possible.

As I look back on this trip, I can’t help but feel so lucky that I was able to go on this trip. We got to meet a family who owns a vineyard in a small medieval town, and they let us drink wine straight from the cantina before laying out a five-course lunch for us. We went to another tiny medieval town and explored before hitting a pizzeria that’s known as one of the best in the world and even has its own documentary on Netflix. We hiked to a coastal home owned by a wonderful man named Pepe, and he let us use his oven to make our own pizzas — he also provided us with a lot of wine (maybe too much).

We explored Herculaneum and Pomepii and Rome (my body still hurts); and I can’t forget the beautiful town of Castellammare di Stabia that we stayed in where the locals welcomed us with open arms, letting us dance in their bars and connect to their speakers and pop bottles of prosecco.

It was such an interesting feeling, being able to experience these things. I did things in Italy that I know I will truly never be able to do again. I can go back to Italy, I can go back to the cities I visited, I can try to relive the moments in medieval streets and gelatorias and cobblestone roads, but it will never be the same.

But what was so special to me about this trip — and the reason I encourage you to go if you can — was getting to know the people of Italy as well as my fellow Canisius students. There wasn’t a single moment where I wasn’t laughing with these people by my side. And though I think some people from the trip think my roommates and I are a bit crazy, I can confidently say I’ve made friends and memories that are unforgettable and will truly last a lifetime.

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