Venice Week 5: February 22, 2018


Here I am!

“Ssssssttttttttttt! We’re in the middle of the Midterm right now! I’m sure you guys will have a good result!”

Sorry if I let you alone in the last days of Carnevale but I had planned a 4 days trip to London with my younger daughter Valentina (actually, as native Venetian, to flee from the Carnevale mess….). I know you missed me….

As last week we talked in class about the difference between Venetian and English Theater in the 1600’s, I took advantage of my trip in London to visit the Globe Shakespare Theater. It was amazing!!! Valentina (not me: I’m a real disaster in taking photos!) took some photos of the theater and I would like to share them with you. Please have a look and tell me what do you think.

This Saturday we are planning to go to Vicenza to visit Teatro Olimpico. You’ll love this masterpiece planned by Andrea Palladio and completed by Scamozzi.
I can’t believe that time is really flying….
Baci a Tutti!
Anna Santini


This week was exciting because we finally have started to have Venice back from all the tourists. Also in other exciting news we have found a shorter route to the water bus stop which means I get to sleep in just slightly later. This week has been frantic with studying for our Italian final, I swear I started conjugating verbs in my sleep. I finally feel as if I have started to get a grasp on the language….maybe. Although as much fun as I had studying it was not my favorite thing of the week. I enjoyed the mask conference that we attended with our Italian teacher Anna. We were taught about all the different types of masks, as well as a demo to how the masks are made. It was very informational and neat to watch. The other enjoyable thing we did this week was attend the opera. The theater was absolutely gorgeous and it made me feel like a super fancy person.

Once the stress of studying for our exam had passed the fun began. A group of us caught a bus going to Rome at 11 PM. The bus arrived in Rome at about 6:20 in the morning. I had my first experience staying in hostel where I got to be bunk mates with Preston…super exciting. Rome was amazing! I got to see such spectacular things. My favorite things were the Sistine Chapel, which left me breathless, the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, and Spanish steps. Rome was worth the sleep deprivation.


I am being truly sincere when I say each week gets better! Mine started out with a Russian ballet, “Romeo è Giulietta”, in the Teatro Goldoni. It was especially handy having read the play in high school so that I could follow along with the ballet. All of the dancers were beyond impressive, both their acting and dance skills were on point. My favorite part was that, rather than setting the ballet in Verona, it was placed on front of the Doges Palace. Another example of the pride that Venice holds for itself I suppose. Some other extra-curricular activities of this week included a cooking class of traditional Carnevale pastries at the Isitituto, and a weekend getaway to ROME!! I know, Rome. It was amazing. I only had 33 hours there and in the first 8 alone Abby, Dani, Libby, and I visited the top sights on our bucket lists. My favorite part by far was the Sistine Chapel with works of art I’ve been dreaming to see forever, but unfortunately you can’t take photos inside (I snuck a couple thank goodness). We also saw the Pantheon, Piazza Venezia , Piazza Navona, Fontana di Trevi, Vatican City, and finished our evening watching the sunset of the Spanish Steps. On Sunday we explored the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and the Villa Borghese. When in Rome, am I right?

Though I’m learning a ton on my own with my group, I owe a lot to the history I’ve learned in my classes. Just this week I got to see the infamous opera “Barbiere di Sviglia” which holds pieces I grew up listening to! It was amazing hearing the character Figaro in person. Since I’ve been singing opera for a number of years now I really enjoy discussing and analyzing new ones and some I have already studied before to get a better grasp. Our music teacher, Stefania, has quite a passion for it and that makes our class even more fun. In theatre were blessed to have break this week for extra adventuring time. Mid-terms, however, take place next Monday so all of us have been reviewing the plays and getting them in our head while in Rome. They’re very quirky and fun reads before bed so this is studying I actually love doing. All I’m hoping for is that I did alright on the Italian 1 final last week! I guess I’ll let you know next time… Ciao!


This week flew by! We officially completed level one of Italian Friday and I was studying most of the week for our final. In music class, we were privileged to see an opera called Il Barbiere di Siviglia. I have never experienced an opera, or anything close, so it was neat for me! My favorite component was the orchestra- they played so beautifully. Also, the Teatro Fenice was elegant and glamorous with chandeliers and intricate wall and ceiling designs. We learned about composers of the operas and it is cool to see operas from the old times still performed and alive in Venice today.

This week, our school hosted a get together where we learned how to make the classic Italian desserts castagnole, galani, and bomboloni. It was so much fun and I learned a lot! The castagnole and galani are the same batter, a baking powder leavened dough, except the castagnole are fried and galani baked. Both are coated in powdered sugar. It is very interesting to me that here the baking powder is vanilla flavored as well as the powdered sugar. The bomboloni are a yeast dough, fried and usually filled with pastry cream. Both were very good! Also, there was meat, cheese, bread, and nuts served and I got to talk with a lot of students from all over the world. The Italians sure know how to throw a party! On Valentine’s Day, a few of us went out for antipasti. I got to try razor clams for the first time which were pretty good. Also, the scallops we had were made au gratin (toasted with breadcrumbs) and they were delicious. Additionally, we had homemade spinach ricotta ravioli with a creamy tomato sauce! At home, I made a Tuscan chicken pasta dish one night which turned out really good. We had bought sundried tomatoes from the Rialto market and they were scrumptious! For the weekend, most of us travelled to Rome. After only one day we have already seen so much! It is fun witnessing works of art and monuments that I’ve learned about in school. Stay tuned next week for pictures!


Well, it has been a great five weeks here in Venice so far! It’s absolutely crazy how fast time is flying over here. It still feels like we just arrived here about a week or two ago. Lately, the weather has slowly been getting warmer, the Carnevale crowds are becoming less insane, and our classes are beginning to really pick up the pace. As you can see, Italy has yet to bore us. Despite the homework load, there’s constantly something to do or somewhere to go. It’s really the best!

This past week has been filled with endless hours of studying for our midterm and final exam. Recently, we just took our final exam for Italian 1, and thankfully it wasn’t as daunting as I had originally anticipated! Sadly, we had to say goodbye to our professor, Deborah, because she was scheduled to teach us only Italian 1. However, we’re all quite excited to take on Italian 2 with our new professor, and further our skills in this very neat language. Our Theater and Music class is also picking up the pace as we come closer to our midterm exam. We are currently studying Venetian comedies in Theater during the Renaissance, and what their purpose was during that era. We’re also studying composers who influenced music, choirs, and opera in a such a way that changed how music was used during that time. Also, for our Music class, we went to see an opera at the Fenice Theater called “The Barber of Seville”, and it sure was something else. The talent was just wonderful, the story was perfectly silly, and the theater was so dreamy. I could get used to having classes at the opera. It was a very lovely evening!

Despite the chaos of exams and homework, we still manage to find a way to have fun. This last weekend, several of us from the group went to visit Rome to sightsee. Even though I’ve been to Rome before, I was very excited to go again with my friends to explore and experience new and familiar sites. On our first day, we saw eleven historical sites that could just take your breath away. First, we went to the Vatican, and toured the museum, the Sistine Chapel, and the Basilica. Next, we got a little lost, but found ourselves at Castel S. Angelo. Then at Chiesa Nuova. Then at Piazza Navona. Then at the Parthenon. Next, at Piazza Venezia. Then at Piazza Colonna. Then at Piazza del Quirnale (which was an accident). Soon, we had reached the infamous, but famous, Fontana Di Trevi. I’ve always wanted to see that fountain since I was a little girl after watching the Lizzie McGuire movie where Lizzie goes to Rome for school. After we tossed coins in that amazing fountain, we wandered towards another sight where we walked through Piazza Barberini. Finally, we ended up at Piazza Di Spagna, which was such a sight to take in! The views were beautiful, so we decided to watch the sunset from the steps. The next day, we made sure to make the most of our final hours in Rome, so we visited the amazing Colosseum, along with a few other neat, historical sites as well. We visited so many beautiful areas, both days just felt so surreal. All in all, I’d personally say that it was one very successful weekend!

Until the next blog, ciao!


This weekend I traveled to Perugia, in the region of Umbria; to visit an Italian friend of mine that I had met last year in high school. Spending this time in Perugia was so nice. My friend, Maria’s, family was so welcoming and caring. They made several Italian dishes for me: spaghetti a ragú alla bolognese, carbonara, tiramisu, and pizza “fatte in casa” (made in house).

Her family loves to cook and explained that they felt it was an art. And on Sunday we gathered with her whole family: grandparents and cousins for a family lunch.

In addition to eating lots of good food we traveled to neighboring cities such as Castiglione Del Lago, Città della Pieve, and the region of Tuscany. Città della Pieve was an ancient city built on a hillside with brick fortress walls. The view was amazing.

In Perugia we took a mini metro, which is like a series of mini trains (like a gondola) with big glass windows for observing and toured the city before enjoying some shopping and admiring the beautiful brick architecture of the city. We even saw the Fontana Maggiore, one of the oldest fountains in Europe which was built in 1275.

I saw two interesting animals this weekend, one ferret being walked down the road and a wild pig on our drive back from Tuscany at night. It was so bazaar to be seeing these animals just walking freely.

I enjoyed the authenticity of Italy in their cute house in the country side. Her family spoke solely Italian so it was a perfect opportunity for me to test my Italian language skills. They welcomed me so warmly and I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. P.s. Maria’s mother’s homemade tiramisu was to die for!


Just as I had hoped, this last week I was able to do some art! During our break between classes I sat in the campo near our school and settled in to draw the building in front of me. It’s interesting how some buildings look as if they were two separate building and someone came later and built a third one in the middle but in such a way that all three blend together into one brightly painted building. I sat focused on getting the proportions right the windows lined up just right when I felt something brush my shoulder and I look over and a little has climbed up onto the bench with me. He was staring intently at what I was drawing and when I looked up I saw several more people who I assumed were his family also looking at me and taking photos. After a moment one of his family members made him come back to where the rest of the groups were sitting amused I continued drawing and noticed that one by one the entire group walked by me from behind so that they could see what I was drawing. The little boy did it about four different times and even climbed back up on the bench with me only for another family member to call him back over again. It was very cute and it’s very funny to me that when that family head home and shows everyone their photos from Venice that they will show them pictures of an American girl with rainbow hair drawing buildings.

Thursday night we finally got to go see an opera. We sat at the very top balcony which was quite a bit away from the stage but oh so close to the ceiling which has some amazing detail. We watched The Barber of Sevilla. It was interesting because I recognized a lot of the music I’m not even sure from where. It was a fun story, a comedy. About two lovers wanting to get married while the lady in questions guardian was against them and the barber made everything work out. The structure of the story was similar to the style of the commedia dell’arte that we have been learning about. I really liked the barber for his part in getting everything to work out and using his wits to turn events that were not to his liking to a direction that would help his achieve his goals. I also liked the actor, or perhaps singer, that played him. He used some great body language and brought a lot of characterization in his role as he sang. Overall it was a very cool experience and I glad I got the chance to see an opera.


Ciao Tutti.
Hope the snow is fresh in Montana and the powder plenty to match our sunshine and blue-grey skies in Venice. This was our final week for Italian I, our first opera, and a weekend trip to Rome. Though we had the first two days free from a second class it still felt rushed for time studying and wrapping our heads around theater class, but as always, we were able to squish it all in along with some exploring. The Teatro La Fenice Venezia was truly a sight to see with its cream-colored walls and gold trim illuminated by chandeliers and topped off with a mural under the central chandelier on the ceiling. The top floor allowed for a 180-degree view of the theater and a close to birds-eye view of the stage. We watched Il Barbiere di Siviglia which kind of took away from the grand theater as the singers were not very good. The next day we did our final in Italian, a midterm review in theatre, and then got ready for our eleven o’clock bus ride to Rome for the weekend.

Though it was a free weekend it was like we were attending a history class walking through the streets of Rome. It is known that the Colosseum lies within Rome and that gladiators, emperors, peasants, and heroes stood within its walls but once one steps through the immense doorways and sees the massive stones towering above and disappearing below the significance of it will not hit until much later. My favorite part, however, was walking the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. There is nothing like walking through the ruins of an archaic empire and seeing singular columns still standing upright with no support for around 1,900 years while our current houses collapse in twenty years. Plus, it is always good seeing blooming flowers while a snow storm sweeps through home. Enjoy the pow days! More fun on the way next week.


Buongiorno everyone! This past week has been extremely crazy, I’m writing this blog late so I’m going to include the weekend because it was a such a blast. But first earlier in the week I have to share about Thursday night when we went to the opera, because Iwas not expecting such a grand place. The theater walls were covered in a gold color which gave it this grand feeling. I knew it was going to be a fancy experience so I broke out my dress pants and shirt with a bow tie. Which is not my style but I’m glad I did because with anything less I would have been completely under dressed. I thought it was a great night and I really enjoyed it.

Friday night though, seven of us jumped on a bus at 11:45pm. And eight hours later we were walking the streets of Rome as the sun rose. I was shocked by the different feel Rome had compared to Venice. The city had an old feeling but it seems more modern and with the times, than compared to Venice which seems more old. We saw many cool iconic sites like the Vatican City and Colosseum. Which were a blast and now I can say I’ve been to Rome. Although personally my favorite part was when I stumbled upon a parked Ferrari Italia. I don’t get to see many cars in Venice and I love cars so I was excited. I’m glad I don’t drive here in Italy because personally I think they are crazy the way they drive, it’s very exciting but frightening. Those were just the highlights of my week, and I hope to write and more cool stuff next week. So until then, Ciao.


Hello Kalispell! This week in Venice we experienced the beautiful architecture of Teatro La Fenice as we watched The Barber of Seville, a two-act French opera comedy about two young lovers who have to decide whether to elope or succumb to society’s expectations, fortuitously their love conquered. The refined details carved into the opera house set an atmosphere full of emotion and passion for these brilliant opera singers. By the end of the play we gave a standing ovation.

On Friday we decided to take a bus down to Rome and explore the historical monuments that hid around every corner of the city. We walked around the Colosseum, which happens to be one of the largest amphitheater built. The structure is partially ruined from all the historical battles, stone robbers, and earthquakes that have touched this building, but the history behind each brick still remains. I imagined the laborers who worked together to create this masterpiece without the perks of all the tools and resources we have today, the sixty-five thousand Romans who watched the public spectacles such as the gladiator fights and the animal hunts. Though the trip to Rome was an eight-hour bus ride, it was well worth the wait.