Wrappin’ It Up In Rome with Backpack Italy!

It’s been a toga-tastic trip!


When in Rome, do as the Romans do! On our first day in the capital, we got into gladiator mode and bolted straight for the Colosseum. Walking through the underground tunnels of this architectural masterpiece left us  feeling  cooler than Julius Caesar himself. Ben and Jesse channelled their inner warriors and simulated a sword fight in front of the whole gang.  It was hilarious!


Off to Vatican City we went! High ceilings, golden archways and eye-popping paintings definitely got us into the holy spirit! With the help of our energetic guide Paula, we learned about the many legends and leaders that have shaped this historical site. Josh, Tyler and David were marvelled by the paintings that drape the walls of the Sistine Chapel, while Zoe and Sophie had a meaningful moment beneath Mary’s Alter in St. Peter’s Basilica.


That evening we made our way over to the famous  Spanish Steps for a photo shoot, which was followed by what felt like our hundredth delicious dinner. Then it was time for some hanging at the lovely  Paladium Palace Hotel  before we hit the sack to prep for our second day of Roman adventures!


Our final day of the trip was as perfect as a home-made Italian pizza. It all started with a visit to the Pantheon, where we had the chance to view an actual live mass ceremony taking place. What a beautiful experience.


Next up we navigated our way through the cobblestone streets to see the terrific Trevi Fountain, MAMA MIA was it awesome! Brandon, Zach, Owen and Brad decided to join in on the fountain fun by posing like statues directly in front of this touristic treasure. They put on quite the show for the rest of the crowd! Way to go guys!


Who says that white sheets don’t make the perfect dinner attire? Our last meal found  us sporting some serious Roman Togas at Ristorante ‘Papa Rex’.   Together we shared a ton of  laughs and good times at our final feast. Kelli, Samantha and Amanda  were definitely feeling the Roman fashion throughout the toga-tastic night!


Eight stops, three beaches, countless  gelato and scenic train rides later, we can’t  believe our summer travels have finally come to a close. Holy spaghetti and meatballs are we ever going to miss each other!!!! Here’s to an amazing trip and some truly amazing friends. Thanks for an outstanding summer WCC/360 trip!!! Backpack Italy

That’s all familias! Arrivedercci and see you all back on home soil!


The Westcoast Blogger

Final Farewell with Pre College Enrichment Florence!



Our time in Italy has ended, and so it is time for the final blog post of the 2013 PCE Florence program, with updates from our final days in Rome and our goodbyes at the airport today. It’s hard to believe the month is already over!


We arrived in Rome on Tuesday evening and hit the ground running, visiting some great sites our first night there. Our first stop was the Spanish Steps, where Raquel, having flourished in photography class, took a terrific photo of the PCE Florence staff.  After that, we broke into dinner groups and explored some Roman restaurants, and then went to the iconic Trevi Fountain! Rachel, Nicole B, Eliza, and others all threw coins in the fountain as per tradition (and we all took lots of pictures).


On Wednesday morning, we took a guided tour of some more of Rome’s most famous sites: Vatican City, the Sistine Chapel, the Pantheon, and the Colosseum! Our knowledgeable tour guides, Irene and Marta, taught us a lot about the Italian capital city.PCE Florence

We then went back to the hotel to refresh and get ready for our final group dinners, which turned out to be quite poignant as it began to sink in that our program was ending. Students reminisced about their first meetings and impressions just a few short weeks ago, and reflected on the friendships they’d formed. Jordan C, for example, has made tons of great new friends from the program even though she came with her good friend Ryan.


Everyone was sad to have to leave but determined to have a great last day! We had our last breakfast in the hotel on Thursday morning and then went out to visit the Roman Catacombs, which Drew was extra excited about since she’d read about them in National Geographic! We’ve visited more than our share of memorable locales this past week.


For our final dinner, we experienced an authentic Roman Toga party complete with togas and a live staged gladiator fight (complete with music from the film Gladiator!) and opera singing. And after dinner, all students received “appreciation packets”, complete with personal awards, quotes or anecdotes along with copies of our musical “Morning Mix”, group contact info, and space for note-writing and signing (ask your own teenager about his or her packet). Each student also received an official certificate of completion of a precollege summer program at Florence University of the Arts.


And now, each of us is finally home or on our way home. We hope everyone’s had a magical summer at PCE Florence.



 The Westcoast Blogger

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