September 30, 2016
On the first day in port of Italy, I went to a field class my Comparative Economic Systems class. We headed to downtown Rome where the Ministry of Finance was located. We met with the Chief of Staff who talked to us about the role of the Ministry of Finance. As we’ve learned in our Econ class, Italy’s economy is not the best right now. The GDP deficit in Italy is at 2.3%, compared to the US in 2015, which was at 2.5%. In addition, 40-50% of a working Italian’s income is taxed and 20% is put into their pension. However, the Chief of Staff said that compared to the United States, Italy receives health care and pension.
Day 2: For the second day, I went to a local vineyard in Tuscany called La Parrina. It has its own variety of local cheeses, vegetables, fruits, and wine. We were able to see the vast variety of cheeses and the barrels of wine that they were aging. For lunch they made us a beautiful local meal with vegetables, cheese, lasagna, and wine. During dinnertime, my friend Maddie and I ate dinner in our port, Civitavecchia, where we ate pizza and carbonara pasta.
Day 3: Wednesday was an exciting day. A group of friends and I went to see the Pope talk at the Vatican. I found two of my friends from USD who were studying abroad in Rome and knew the best spots in the Vatican. Before the Pope spoke, he went around in his Pope Mobile. I got a great photo of him, as we were so close to the railings. I held back the tears of happiness I had. As he was in his pope mobile, he would stop and kiss the babies near the railings. During his talk, which lasted about an hour, a bishop translated his message (which he originally said in Italian) in German, Spanish, French, and English. Afterwards, my friends and I took a train to the Trevi fountain and had lunch there.
Day 4&5: On the last two days, the ship switched ports to Livorno where I was able to explore Florence and Pisa. Florence is very well known for its love for the arts. This was well demonstrated in the center of Florence, as there were many statues of David, Dante, and other Florentine figures. I learned that in every city, there is a “Duomo” which is translated as “Cathedral.” The entire city is revolved around the Duomo. The Duomo in Florence is the Cathedral with the third largest dome in Europe. Within Florence, there are many shops. The most common goods sold are leather and silver & gold. Florence also has very delicious wood-fired pizza, different pastas, and gelato. The secret to buying the best gelato is contrary to common belief. Don’t buy the fluffy/colorful gelato because it is more artificial than the gelato that is not commonly displayed in the front and is more flat.
After exploring Florence, we went to Pisa for 45 minutes to take a quick picture with the Leaning Tower of Pisa.