This summer I used my gateway funding to travel to Italy with a friend from college in order to discover the artistic heritage of this beautiful country that we had never visited before. We started our trip in Rome and then travelled by train to Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre and Bologna. The galleries we visited and the architecture we saw were informative as well as inspiring; throughout the trip both our knowledge of art grew alongside our creative endeavours.
Our first destination, Rome, was rich in culture and beauty. To experience so many different layers of history in one place was incredible: The Roman forum and Coliseum from ancient times, the Renaissance-era architecture of the Vatican and the Baroque grandeur of the Trevi fountain. One particularly awe-inspiring activity was climbing all 551 steps up to the top of St Peter’s Basilica. Although the heat made the winding staircases very difficult, the view across Rome from the top was definitely worth it and was made more dramatic by the storm and lightning strikes that suddenly started while we were up there!
My favourite art gallery that we visited was the Ufizzi in Florence. Not only were the artworks by Michelangelo, Botticelli and da Vinci spectacular, the building was itself a work of art with amazing painted ceilings in every room. As well as this more traditional art display, Florence was full of street artists painting the city and selling their work too. The cathedral of Santa Maria was breathtakingly beautiful, with one of the most intricate and decorative facades I have ever seen. Pisa and Bologna both had interesting and different architecture, whilst Cinque Terre formed a stunning coastline of colourful villages.
Travelling independently came with a fair few challenges and learning curves. Having to deal with cancelled flights, getting fined on a bus and sleeping on airport floors had valuable lessons to teach us! However, we learnt to laugh when things went wrong and had a really exciting trip. We learnt so much about Italy and about each other, whilst meeting lots of interesting people. Although our knowledge of Italian is still minimal, we definitely enjoyed both the artistic and culinary culture whilst we were there!
Our trip was a fantastic adventure and it was amazing to be able to see five places in Italy over just ten days. Gateway was hugely important in planning this trip and it has enabled me to grow and experience a new culture, as well as inspiring my own artwork.
Modern and Medieval Languages