Hofstra in Venice 2013
Ciao from Hofstra in Venice

The amazing adventures in Venice and throughout Italy are now fond memories as we say goodbye to our January intersession with Study Abroad.  The classes in Italian, Comparative Literature, Art History and Public Relations taught us so much about this beautiful city….and ourselves.  Lifelong friendships and appreciation will be the standouts of this very special three weeks.   Ciao, Venice — until we return!

Making Pizza!

Professor Fixell arranged for her Italian 4 students to spend the afternoon at Taverna San Trovaso learning how to make pizza — it tasted as good as it looks! 

— Photos by Prof. Fixell

A memory….


     One of the most fulfilling moments of my trip was the purchase of an
Italian, hand-made leather journal that smells strong and inviting. I
explored countless different shops before settling on my favorite, and
the owner of Athena (the little shop where i made my purchase)
described each journal like it was his masterpiece, or his child. It
may sound silly, but for those who enjoy keeping a journal, an awesome
treat in Venice is the availability of passionate journal makers and
specialized craftsmanship.
  — Rachel Peace

Out in the Outer Islands


— Photo of Murano glass blowing by Deanna Atkins

—- Photo of Burano by Kerry Bushman

     One of the most beautiful facts about Venice is that it is a city built on islands, conected by a series of bridges  There are also “outer islands” in the lagoon, and today we had a chance Today we had a chance to explore three of the outer islands: Murano, Burano, and Torcello.

     This day trip was organized by Prof. Fixell as part of our Study Abroad experience.  We took a water taxi out to see the sights, the goods, and the food.

     Our first stop was at a fornace or glass-blowing factory on Murano.  We were given a demonstration on how glass is made; seeing an old craft preserved and used today was really a cool to see.  Many of us purchased beautiful authentic Murano glass objetcs in the gift shop. We also had a snack at a local cafe.

  We then went to the island of Torcello where we toured an old church built in the 12th century.  Next stop was the island of Burano where we had a  delicious lunch. With risotto, pasta, and calamari and chicken and calamari, topped by dessert of tiramisu,  we were stuffed by the time we got back on the water taxi to return to St. Mark’s Square.  

     We also finally lucked out with some sun making the boat ride home a fabulous ride with great views and a setting sun.

  — Kerry Bushman

Happy Birthday party at dinner to celebrate our January birthdays — Lauren, Tom, Deanna, Kerry, and Carly!

Happy Birthday party at dinner to celebrate our January birthdays — Lauren, Tom, Deanna, Kerry, and Carly!

We took a group tour today of St. Mark’s Basilica and climbed to the top of overlook all of St. Mark’s Square!
  — Photo by Professor Ellen Frisina

We took a group tour today of St. Mark’s Basilica and climbed to the top of overlook all of St. Mark’s Square!

  — Photo by Professor Ellen Frisina


     Today was our last day of class.  Professor Frisina asked us to give you, our readers and followers, a brief overview of this Study Abroad experience.  For 19 days we learned Italian life, made great friends, learned so much about ourselves and our world, and lived la bella vita.  Here’s what we want to remember:

Kristen Kolombatovich:  

My favorite moment on this trip was throwing coins into the Trevi Fountain. It was the monument I was most excited to see, and when I turned the corner and saw the beautiful fountain I was speechless. Hopefully as the legend surrounding the Trevi fountain says, I will return to see it and all of Rome again!


Katelyn Day:  

My favorite memory was making the masks. It was great to have the whole group together and making the masks was insanely fun!

Deanna Atkins:  

Studying in Venice may not have been a vacation, but it was an experience different from anything else I could have imagined taking away from my college years. It’s one of those things that you don’t believe is happening while it is - I guess it would be cliche to refer to my trip as surreal, but at the end of it, I’m still in shock that these 20 days have passed. But, from coming to Italy not knowing how to speak any Italian to only knowing one other person on the trip, I’ve had an incredible time and met some pretty amazing people.


Michael Papirmeister:   

If I had to sum up my time in Italy with a single word, it would be: life changing.  Okay, that’s two words, but still I don’t think I’ll forget my time here anytime soon.  Perhaps the best thing about this trip was getting to experience the culture of three very different cities.  Venice, Florence, and Rome each had their own unique way of life that was very exciting to experience.  Needless to say, I am sad to go and hope to be back soon.


Rachel Peace: 

This panoramic view of the Trevi fountain encompasses the grandeur of Rome, and Italy itself. I have been so blessed to attend this study abroad session, and be exposed to so many historical and cultural monuments. The tradition is to make a wish at the Trevi; of course idid but my dreams of visiting Italy have already come true! I hope to one day return!


Christina Deecken: 

Although it’s hard to pick a favorite moment out of all the amazing experiences I had on this trip, I absolutely loved going to the Trevi fountain in the middle of the night and making my wish. Like many other monuments I had the pleasure of seeing in Italy, the Trevi fountain was completely breathtaking. This study abroad session has proved to be both irreplaceable and life changing.


Caroline Wilkins

I love Italy! I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to see Venice as well as Florence, Pisa, Rome, and soon Milan. This has been the best experience!


Erin Schmitt
This trip has truly been the trip of a lifetime and I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to spend it with. I’ll never forget the memories and friends I’ve made here in Italy. This was my first time leaving home, but I couldn’t imagine a more comfortable environment to have an experience such as this in. I don’t want to leave, but I can’t wait to bring my family here one day!



Here’s a video we created of our magical weekend in Rome — Watch us on YouTube!


Video by Kristen Kolombatovich and Erin Schmitt

When in Rome…

      Even as we boarded a train, my friends and I felt overwhelming sense of excitement as we headed into the Eternal City. Like Manhattan is to New York State, Rome seemed to be the central hub of excitement and adventure in all of Italy.

     We arrived at our hotel—the Hotel Morgana, which I highly recommend—on Thursday night and were immediately taken aback by the fast-paced commotion of the city. It’s very different from the quieter, relaxed pace of Venice, but anyone who’s ever been to NYC shouldn’t be too shocked. Our first full day featured surprisingly nice weather, which was great because we hit all the amazing outdoor attractions.

     The Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and Spanish Steps were incredible, and almost seemed like they were ripped straight from a film set. A great tip for students planning to go to Rome is to get the Roma Pass. For only 30 euro, you can get discounts to all the museums and tourist spots, line-cutting privileges, and free access to the subway and bus system.

     On day two in Rome, the rain started to fall, but it didn’t matter because we spent most of our time inside the Vatican museum. With thousands of rooms, it takes a while to get through, but it’s worth it to get to see the Sistine Chapel.

      Perhaps the best part of the day, though, happened when we got to climb to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica for a view of the whole city. The walk up was tough, but totally worth it.

     Sunday before we headed home, we got the added bonus of seeing The Pope in person. It was practically a celebrity sighting. Overall, this is one weekend I’ll never forget.

  — Michael Papirmesiter

Navigating Milan

     My roommate and I spent this weekend in Milan — a large and bustling city, about as different from Venice as any place can be.

     While there are always taxis whizzing around, another great option to navigate your way around this lively city is the ‘ATM’ otherwise known as the metro. The metro is an underground subway system that can take you to the major tourist destinations. There are three major lines, M1, M2 and M3, and while you’re in the stations each line is color coded so it’s easy to find the correct platform. Generally running until 12:30am (some lines run later) and at a price of 1.50€ each way, you can’t beat it.

     I utilized the subway because it’s easy to get caught up walking around. With the numerous streets filled with shops, you definitely get preoccupied, and a little lost. But I learned that all you have to do is find a large red sign that says ‘M’ and you can find relief that you don’t have to walk back to your hotel.

     The main stops that I made the most use of include the Duomo, Central Station, Montenapoleone (where you can find ALL of the best shopping and museums) and Republica, which takes you to a major hotel spot. The subway itself was neither terrifying nor difficult to understand. If you needed help finding your way there were many security guards available to steer you in the right direction. While you’re walking through the metro, there are many stores and food outlets around as well. It’s very New York City and I felt more than comfortable using it.

  — Deanna Atkins