JCU Goes to Tuscany

Student group in Montepulciano, Tuscany

Student group in Montepulciano, Tuscany

The second Fall 2011 weekend trip, organized by the Student Services Office, brought the students to the picturesque Tuscan countryside. The group left early in the morning on Friday, Oct. 7th for Pienza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pope Pius II rebuilt the town in the mid-15th century according to Renaissance ideals. Here the students, accompanied by a JCU Student Services Tour Leader, three JCU Tour Assistants, and professional tour guides, were exposed to the beauty, art, and peaceful environment of the city. During the city tour, the students stopped to appreciate some of the symbols of Pienza, such as the Cathedral and the wonderful view of the surrounding Val d’Orcia. In the afternoon, the whole group went to Montalcino, a town renowned for its famous Brunello di Montalcino wine, where the students visited a family-run winery and were treated to a memorable wine and cheese tasting session.

On the second day, the JCU group traveled to Pisa to admire the mesmerizing piece of botched engineering: the Leaning Tower. Students had the chance to enter the Duomo, the magnificent 12th century Cathedral with its bands of multicolor marble, and the richly sculpted Baptistery, where they experienced the famous echo effect.

On the third and final day of the Tuscany weekend trip, students visited the enchanting town of Montepulciano and soaked up the atmosphere of the Twilight saga’s New Moon movie set! In the afternoon, the group explored the piazzas and ancient streets of San Gimignano, one of Italy’s most charming medieval towns. One of the notable features of San Gimignano is its many towers; at one time there were at least 72, and each one is a symbol of medieval clan power. Nowadays, only 14 towers remain and just one of them is open to visitors.

The Tuscany weekend trip included rich Italian culture, delicious food, and free time to enjoy to the fullest the delights of the Tuscan countryside. Students who participated had great things to say about the experience and commented that this trip gave them the opportunity to visit places that would not have been easy to see on their own.