The last group trip for the Spring 2013 class was to Northern Italy, with stops in Venice and Florence. In each city students signed up for small, individualized tours allowing them to pursue their interests and to experience the city on a personal level. In Venice the students were awe struck by the beauty of such an extraordinary city. They rode vaporetti (water taxis) along the Grand Canal, explored the maze of narrow streets, and ventured to the island of Murano to see how Venetian glass is made. Academic tours included an introduction to the city's major political, cultural, and artistic institutions - from the Basilica of San Marco, to the Palazzo Ducale, to La Fenice opera house. A brave group of students ventured out at sunrise one morning to visit a local fish market and watch as fisherman brought in their electric catch from the night before.
In Florence the students were immersed in the Italian Renaissance. Professors and staff provided tours ranging from the Medici Chapel and Brancacci Chapel, to the Palazzo Vecchio and Santa Maria Novella, along with the museums for the Opera del Duomo and Galileo. Students admired works by Donatello, Brunelleschi, Botticelli, da Vinci, and Michelangelo. In their free time they explored the famous leather markets and window-shopped along the Ponte Vecchio.