Random Walk Italy began with 12 first years boarding a plane to Florence in matching “Random Walk Italia” tees. We would arrive in Florence 16 hours later, short two pieces of luggage, but ready to start our cultural journey in Italy.
After dropping off our luggage, we immediately began our tour of Florence led by an excited guide who showed us some of the world’s greatest works of art and architecture, including Michelangelo’s David, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Florence’s Duomo. We learned the three keys to finding a good gelateria (gelato must be the only item served, never more than five euros, and available in small quantities only!), eating our fair share as well, of course. We spent our evenings eating pizza, drinking Italian wine and Aperol spritzes, and walking along the Arno river.
Next, we boarded a bus to the Chianti region of Tuscany where we enjoyed stunning views of the Tuscan hills while eating mounds of home cooked pasta and drinking carafes of wine from the region. We visited nearby Pisa and it’s Leaning Tower, took in the Tuscan sun at a local beach, and enjoyed a tour and tasting at a winery known for its Chianti. The evenings included swimming in our Tuscan villa’s hilltop pool and drinking wine together on the terraces overlooking the hills and a nearby farm.
After Tuscany, we began our journey to Pompeii just outside Naples. Our guide in Pompeii took us through the ruins and pointed out the parallels to the way American cities and towns are built today. After a long day of exploring Pompeii we ate famous Naples pizza and ended the evening with gelato and a few rounds of Cheers to the Governor at a nearby tiki bar.
The next phase of the trip was one many of us were looking forward to – the Amalfi Coast. After some strong persuasion we convinced our guide and driver to give us a longer afternoon in the town of Amalfi. We drove down winding roads to see colorful houses and buildings stacked on the coastal mountains before reaching the beach and town. We swam in the ocean and roamed the narrow alleys of Amalfi, ending the afternoon eating pressed sandwiches on the dock and tasting famous Amalfi limoncello.
Our trip ended in Rome where we spent our days visiting the Colosseum, Palantine Hill, and the Vatican. We saw gladiator training centers, and the intricate designs in St Peter’s Basilica, typically with gelato in hand. Our last nights were filled with classic Italian dinners and dancing as well as time reflecting on the memories and friendships we had formed.
We boarded our flight back to Chicago having made a considerable dent in Italy’s pasta and gelato supply but excited about new friends and what our time at Booth would hold!