Lauren Howard: Senior Trip Experience Revealed the Richness of God’s World

By Lauren Howard
Class of 2024

IMG 6244 scaled e1715286421773Italy is a country that draws tourists from all over the world with its stunning natural surroundings and its historic cities. Every location, from the canals of Venice to the ancient ruins of Rome, provides a different perspective into Italy’s rich cultural and spiritual past.

For a Christian, this trip provides a look into how the scenery, customs, and art history of all our past generations have contributed to our culture today. God truly revealed the beauty of our world to me while traveling and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity.

The first place we visited was Vatican City, which is located in the center of Rome. The Vatican is filled with rich history and is its own country. When visiting St. Peter’s Basilica we learned how it is embellished with amazing sculpted works like “La Pietà” by Michelangelo and the “Baldacchino” by Bernini.

We stayed in Rome for a total of three days and were able to see many different sites, such as the Colosseum, Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, and the Piazza Navona. Each one of these sites was deeply engraved with history and was absolutely beautiful. I really enjoyed seeing the beautiful architectural buildings and exploring the rich history that Rome has to offer, as well as enjoying many cappuccinos and gelato!

Traveling south to Pompeii, the ancient city in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Getting to tour the actual site of Pompeii and see the ruins almost felt surreal. The rich architecture and scenery truly added to the experience. Later that day, we journeyed to Sorrento, where we toured a local mozzarella farm and had a delicious lunch! We then explored the town, did some shopping, and ended up with gelato!

IMG 0323Traveling along the stunning Amalfi Coast, with its picturesque villages and cliffs was my absolute favorite part of the trip. As soon as we arrived on the Amalfi Coast, I immediately lit up with excitement. The scenery was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. The buildings were built into the cliffs and the beaches were filled with sea glass and rocks.

While in Amalfi, we toured a local lemon farm and learned about the process of how lemons are grown. Following the tour, we were able to sample their homemade lemonade and lemon pound cake, which were incredible. We had lunch and enjoyed fresh and homemade lemon gelato, which was amazing!

After the Amalfi Coast, we traveled to Florence. Florence is known for its leather and its historic works of art such as Michelangelo’s “David.” While in Florence, we toured a local leather factory and learned about the process of how authentic leather is created. Afterward, we toured the Accademia Gallery where we viewed the famous David statue. The incredible, intricate details were impressive—a very memorable part of our trip. Following our tour we tried the authentic and popular sandwiches in Florence, which were delicious. We then ended the day with gelato—again!

Cinque Terre was one of the most beautiful places we traveled to. It is filled with five cities that each have their own unique look to them. Cinque Terre is the area that Disney’s movie “Luca” is based on. Being a huge Disney fan myself, this was such an incredible experience. While in Cinque Terre we saw many bright colored buildings and gorgeous cliffs. Cinque Terre is also known for its pesto pasta, so for lunch we enjoyed some delicious homemade pasta.

IMG 1055We then traveled to the city of Venice. Venice is a beautiful city surrounded by water. Boats weave through canals throughout the city. While in Venice, we went on a gondola ride, which was such an amazing experience. Exploring the city on the water was such a surreal feeling. After our gondola adventure, we traveled across the water to the islands of Murano and Burano. These beautiful cities are known for their glass and lace work. Everywhere you look there is a store filled with handmade glass. Burano was my favorite of the two because of its beautiful and bright-colored buildings. Venice is a gorgeous city that I would love to visit again sometime.

Reflecting on my senior trip, the relationships between my classmates and I have grown so much.  I have grown closer to many people through this special experience. Traveling to Italy has allowed me to truly appreciate the world God has given us. There are so many places that we have never even seen that God has created. Seeing the gorgeous landscapes in Amalfi, the rich architecture in Rome and Florence, and experiencing Italian culture are all a reflection of the work of God. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to explore Italy with my classmates and will have these memories for the rest of my life.