<em>Andiamo Italia!</em> Loyola Women's Soccer Nears End Of Italian Adventure

March 6, 2009

Loyola's women's soccer team toured Italy during the College's 2009 Spring Break. Senior Amanda Piccirilli wrote a blog that detailed the team's travels.

ROME, Italy - Friday was a sad day since our last few days in Italy are catching up on us quickly. Since you've heard from me last, I was writing my entry to you all while I was on the bus to Florence. In Florence, I was able to find an internet café and really quickly sent the last post.

On Wednesday we arrived in Florence after a three hour bus ride from Venice. In Florence, we met up with our tour guide and had a two hour tour of Florence (in torrential down pour might, I add.) As we walked through the cobblestone streets in Florence, rain jackets on and umbrella in hand, we were able to see the beautiful sites like the Pontevecchio, the "Duomo", Santa Maria Novella, local markets and many shops.

In Venice our tour guide informed us that Venice is known for their glass, but in Florence, we learned that it is known for its leather goods. After our tour, the team either walked around the city, revisited locations or went to museums. Luckily by the end of the day the rain did lighten up and we were able to have a few dry hours, which created some nice photo opportunities.

After 5 hours in the beautiful city of Florence, it was time to go. We drove an hour to our hotel which was located in Montecatini Terme, a famous Spa Town in Tuscany. We ate dinner at the hotel resturante, which was the typical pasta for a starter, pork and french fries next, and finished off with gelato. Some of the girls still can't get over the meat and potatoe section of the meal which is always pork and french fries.

That next morning (Thursday), we left bright and early so we could get back on the road to our final destination, Rome.

After a three and a half hour bus ride, we finally arrived in the ancient city of Rome. We dropped our bags off in our room and quickly hit the streets to start sightseeing. With the team only having three days in Rome, we wanted to make the most of our time here and see everything possible.

After check in, our tour guide Maurizio (he's been with us this entire trip) walked us to a local Roma soccer store where we were able to buy tickets for the Roma soccer game that is on Saturday. Many of us will be attending the game Saturday and I'm sure it's going to be an experience we'll never forget. After purchasing tickets, we were free on our own for a few hours before dinner. We all seperated into groups; some groups hit the streets for shopping sprees and others started their own personal sightseeing.

With a great map given to us by the hotel, we were all able to easily navigate the city of Rome by ourselves, hitting all of the top locations for tourist which we will not be seeing with a tourguide. We saw places like the Trevi Fountain, Tritone Fountain, Santa Maria Maggiore Church, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, and Plazza Navona. Luckily we all have lots of pictures so you will be sure to see them when we all get back.

Friday was personally my favorite day so far while here in Italy. Not only was the weather absolutley beautiful, but we finally saw parts of Rome we've read about in history books while growing up. We started the day early in the morning, taking a two and a half hour walking tour of the Coloseo and the Ancient Ruins that surround it. On our tour we saw the outside of the Colosseo, the outside of the Roman Forum, Constantin Arch, the capitol building, and Venice Square. To actually see this architecture and how much of it is still remaining from over 18 centuries ago is unfathable to the mind. The pictures are worth a million words!

After the tour we were free yet again for the afternoon. In groups we were able to visit monuments and historical buildings we didn't catch the day before. After sightseeing all day, we had a game at 9p.m. tonight against Lazio CF, which was located about an hour outside of Rome. We ended the game with a 1-1 tie. After three soccer games here in Italy, many of us got to experience international play for the first time. While we can all agree that officating was completly unfair during this trip, it overall was a great experience to play against international players.

This overall trip to Italy has been an experience of a lifetime and I am blessed to have been here with 23 of my best friends. I will give you all an update once we are back in the States to let you know how our final day in Rome was.

Ciao bellas!