Off to Italy Next Month!

In June I’ll be traveling to Italy for three weeks. Except it’s not a vacation. It’s work. Really.

Well kinda. I was invited to chaperone a group of college students for a study abroad class that the university I work at was offering. Of course I said yes! I’m helping out the professor with the administrative tasks and will be the keeper-of-time, stipend distributor, and chief head-counter, etc.

The course is a great one: all about travel writing! We will primarily be based in Florence, but will have daytrips to:

Also on the itinerary is a two-night stay in the Cinque Terre–something that’s always been on my bucket list.

While in Florence, we will do guided tours of Palazzo Vecchio, Galleria dell’Accademia, the Uffizi, the Duomo, and cooking class will be added to the mix, too. Our schedule over the 21 days is fairly jam-packed, but the students (and I) have three days to explore on our own. The only rule: you must remain in Italy.

I’m not sure where to go during this free time. Some of the students are renting an Airbnb in Rome. I’ve been to Rome before–had a wonderful time–but think I should go somewhere new. I might take the train up to Milan to see the Duomo and walk on the roof. I’m also interested in doing a Tuscany daytrip in the Val d’Orcia region. Maybe even a trip to San Marino to cross another country off my list?

In the meantime, I’ve been religiously reading my Lonely Planet Italy guide, my Rick Steves’ Florence guide, and I’ve re-read Under the Tuscan Sun. The Visit Tuscany and Visit Florence Instagram feeds have given me my daily inspiration! Also to prepare, I’ve downloaded all of the delightful (and free!) Rick Steves’ Italy podcasts and having been brushing up on my Italian with the free Duolingo app on my phone.

If you have any travel suggestions, especially for the Tuscany area of Italy, let me know–I’d love to hear it!


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