Loving to Remember

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Well I didn’t end up posting every week from Italy like I wanted to and it took me way too long to figure out how to add pictures to my posts but now I’m back and ready to share everything about the rest of my trip! 

First off, I want to talk about my time digging at Badia Pozzeveri! In the six weeks I was there, I learned and took much more away than I ever could have imagined. In my area, 4000, we did end up finding the “dead monks” that my supervisor wanted. The monks were buried in the hallway so that their brothers would walk over them when they prayed. As for the monks, we found around 5 burials which was very exciting because we weren’t sure if we were going to find any. The monks were there at one point but because they are approximately 700 years old we weren’t sure if the bones would have disintegrated or not. My summer was definitely an unforgettable one and I was able to learn how to excavate bones, dig a test pit, dig post holes as well as learn how to clean pottery and bones. I couldn’t have asked for a better learning experience, thanks Field School Pozzeveri!

As for my travels while in Europe, I spent my midterm break in Paris, France and my remaining weekends were spent in Venice and Rome! Paris was amazing and even though I did not know what to expect it was just what I imagined a popular European city. I was there the weekend of the World Cup and let me tell you—best experience ever! There is nothing better than running into an Argentinean rally in the middle of Paris or taking a day trip to Belgium and walking past a block party routing for Germany. While I loved visiting the famous monuments like the Eiffel Tower, it is these memories that I will remember and cherish forever because they truly are once in a lifetime. As for the famous monuments, if planning on going to The Louvre and have a valid student ID go on a Friday after 6 PM because you will get in for free!  Europeans love their Nutella and one of my favorite snacks in Paris was the Nutella street crepe I got at the bottom of the Champ de Élysées. The day I flew out of Paris was Bastille Day and on my way to the bus station I was able to walk past the Arch which had huge French flags flying off of it as well as numerous military vehicles and soldiers. It’s one thing to learn about another countries culture and holidays but it’s an entirely different thing to experience it and I was so glad I was able to experience the World Cup and Bastille Day while in Paris!

My next stop was Venice. Let me just say that it is exactly like I imagined it would be! There were very tiny cobblestone walkways next to canals, walkways that seemed hidden, gondola’s, boats and cute bridges overlooking canals everywhere. Venice even smelled musty, old and perfect. My favorite part of Venice was just walking around and not having any specific thing to do in mind because that is when you come across the most beautiful things and fun experiences. For dinner, my friend and I ate in this cute little restaurant that we stumbled across. At first, it just looks like a garden then as you walk further down the way it opens up into a big area surrounded by plants and trellises. I also have to say Venice was where I had the best pizza and one of the best gelatos.

Rome was not built in a day but you sure can do it in a day. Yes, I did a day trip to Rome. I didn’t quite have my Lizzy McGuire moment—no Gordo for me but I was able to throw a coin into the under construction Trevi Fountain. Rome was Rome, it was crazy crowded with tourists but that’s what I expected. The one thing that I did not like about Rome was the subway system, I have only been on three European subway systems but this was my least favorite (no machines that I used tickets took credit or debit card—make sure to have cash!). However, there were more than enough good things about Rome! I started off with the Coliseum—amazingly breathtaking. Then while trying to find the Trevi Fountain (look up directions ahead of time as it is nowhere near the Trevi Fountain subway stop), I stumbled across the Spanish Steps and meet a fellow college travel from Great Britain. Vatican City was my next stop, I only got tickets for the museum part and art isn’t my favorite thing to look at but the Sistine Chapel is amazingly painted. Also, I need to leave something to do next time I go to Rome so the other half of the Vatican better watch out because I’m coming to tour you soon! After a delicious lunch, I threw my coin into the Trevi Fountain and came across an archaeological museum (this is my type of museum!) not too far away whose date correlated with the fountain. Last but certainly not least was the Roman Forum, just incredible. My day in Rome was definitely busy but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Overall my summer in Italy was a success and I cannot wait to see what future travels have in store for me!



Live well, laugh often, love much, discover you.

Laughs from Florence

It is the day after Independence Day, or 4th of July, in America and the end of my second week in Italy. While I am sad that I missed a holiday with my family, I am in no way disappointed with being in Florence instead (sorry not sorry, mom!).

This past week and a half has been filled with sweat, dirt, pickaxing and traveling and I cannot wait to share everything that has happenedJ.

First off, I haven’t blogged in a long time, longer than I would like, because I caught a cold which spreads like wildfire when you are in close living quarters with 30 some people. However, no need to worry I am feeling ten times better than I was. Although, going to a pharmacy in another country is very nerve racking because they don’t speak English and you have to describe your symptoms to get medicine. Luckily, I talked to a pharmacist who spoke minimal English in Altopascio and was able to get medicine to help with my cold.

As far as field school goes, I am loving it! You can even add in the ba-da-bum-bum-bum from the McDonalds commercial to that statement. I had no idea what to expect going into a field school yet it has somehow surpassed my nonexistent expectations. My area, 4000, has started teaming up with area 5000 so any day of the week I could be in either section so check out both blogs on this (http://www.paleopatologia.it/Badiapozzeveri/BP11/giorno.php?recordID=104) website to read more in-depth on what we find every day. Usually, we just pickaxe or trowel down another layer or context to try and reach where we will find the cloister and cloister rooms. In area 5000, I was able to learn how to dig pits and follow the soil context as well as how to determine where the bottom of the pit would have been. In area 4000, we are currently in the process of digging a test pit which is something that I really wanted to learn how to do this year. So far with the test pit we have been pickaxing and rough trowel cleaning the area down to the layer we want. Our area supervisor, Alessandro is hoping to find ‘dead monks’ which would have been buried in the cloister hallway for humility.

Last weekend, I traveled to Cinque Terre which is one of the most beautiful places along the Mediterranean. Albeit, it is the only place I have been on the Mediterranean but it was the picturesque beach town that you see on TV of Italy. We stayed the night in a hostel in Riomaggiore, the first city. That night, we mainly walked around and looked in tourist shops as well as climbed 368 stairs to our hostel room (yes we counted and yes there is a picture to prove that we counted). The stairs were totally worth the unexpected balcony looking out over the Mediterranean. I was quite nervous as this was my first stay in a hostel but it was very nice, clean and cheap. Just what a poor college student likes to hear. If I ever go back, I will try my hand at cliff jumping. As we were walking back to our room after dinner, we walked past this group cliff jumping and I don’t know why I didn’t join them. Oh well, next time J. After our wonderful stay in a hostel, we booked it through the other four towns, Monterosso, Vernazza, Cornigila and Manarola. One of the things that you can do as you go to each of the cities is buy a Step by Step bracelet in which you stop at a specific store in each city and purchase a bead to make a bracelet or necklace. Not only is it a great souvenir but it also allowed us to see each city which we otherwise wouldn’t have done.

This weekend, I am in Florence, Italy. At first, I wasn’t so sure about the city but after spending all day here and finally getting a wonderful meal, I am most definitely enjoying it. If you are ever in Florence, you need to experience the night life. Even if clubbing or bar hopping is not your thing (it is not mine) just walk around and take in the sights because there are not nearly as many tourists around. Also, nine times out of ten, you will run into someone who speaks your language. My advice would be to get gelato by the Dumo and just sit and relax on the steps. It was very relaxing compared to the day where you can’t even get to the steps of the Dumo. Also, visit the Medici gardens which are magnificent and a great way to work off that gelato. Another neat site to see is Ponte Vecchio which is a bridge with shops on it. While I didn’t shop, it is still amazing to see a bridge that is lined with jewelry stores on both sides.

All in all, Italy is amazing and I cannot wait to share more about my time in Italy, what I am digging up in Badia and what my midterm break in Paris is like!

Florence and the steps of the Dumo are calling my name, Bueno Sera!

Live well, laugh often, love much, discover you.

Love From Italy

Today is my fifth day in Italy :). It is amazing here and Tuscany is just as I imagined! I will have pictures up, hopefully, the beginning of next week.

I am staying in an elementary school in Badia Pozzeveri just outside of the town Altopascio. We do not have air but it actually isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I am staying in the gym which is divided into little areas of 5 people by wooden dividers. We are sleeping on cots but they are actually very comfortable. Dinner is served by a local restaurant and is usually a pasta or rice dish first. Then we are served a meat dish second and fruit is put out as dessert.

On to the good part-digging. I am in area 4000, although we have actually combined with 5000, and it was expanded this year. A lot of our work the first two days was pick-axing at the left over asphalt and rock.  My area supervisor is Alessandro and he is definitely my favorite so far out of the Italian instructors. He speaks English very well and is more than willing to explain and answer any question that we have. On the first day, we found fragments of pottery and 3 nails. There are many kinds of pottery and I have two favorites. The pottery from Florence, which is easy to spot because of the designs on the surface as it is one of the few that have colorful designs. Another of my favorite is the pottery from Genoa, Italy. It has a white base and began in the 18th century up until the 19th century. The pottery all has green stain however the older pottery is spotted with green dots that are spread far apart. The newer pottery is more of a green stain all over the surface instead of spotted. Yesterday we found much of the same artifacts with the addition of two bone fragments. I hope that I get to excavate a burial J. Although, I think I will be able to because we have the cloister in our section and the monks were buried on either side of the cloister walkway. Today while troweling we found a pit filled with clay. It was some kind of outside workshop area associated with the newest area of the church.

The food is very good! Although unlike America, they have a light breakfast and lunch and two courses for dinner. I have a feeling based on the first few days that this will be hard to adjust to because I am starving by every meal. Anyways, the pasta is fresh as well as the pasta sauce. I have tried the gelato across the street in Café New York and it is amazing! Much better than anything you would get in America.

On Monday, I walked into Altopascio and it was such a cute little town! The buildings are very colorful and there is a park with beautiful fountains. Like I said before, I will try to put pictures up in about a week.

Dinner is calling my name, Ciao!


Live well, laugh often, love much, discover you.

Living to Discover

Welcome to my new blog!!

As some of you may know, I am going to Italy for 6 weeks to participate in an archaeological field school! The field school will be in Badia Pozzeveri near Lucca, Italy and we will be digging at a monastery that was founded in the 11th century. This summer, the school will continue to explore the 1855 cholera cemetery and the medieval cemetery and monastery ruins. If you want to learn more about the Field School Pozzeveri you can click here http://www.fieldschoolpozzeveri.org/index.html or here http://spark.sciencemag.org/the-thousand-year-graveyard.

When I was deciding whether or not I would apply, my mom found an essay I had written 4 years ago talking about how my dream was to go to a field school in Italy. Was it fate? Maybe but sometimes life just has a crazy way of working out.

Now on to the reason why I started this lovely little blog…. I wanted a way that I could write about my experiences but also share with my friends and family who might be curious as to what I was doing (*ahem* mom). At the same time I didn’t want it just to be about this field school or this summer. I wanted to be able to blog about my garden or what I cook or historical things or future traveling that I may do.  Oh and maybe about this place named THE Ohio State University where I happen to spend some time at now and then.

I look forward to sharing my experiences with you all, not only this summer but hopefully for a long time to come 🙂



Live well, laugh often, love much, discover you.