Article and Photos By Jill Seidenberger, Student Development Specialist

Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Assisi, Italy

Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Assisi, Italy

If you have graced my office with your presence, you may have noticed three pictures of what I thought Italy would like look – tall cypress trees lining the long and winding driveways, scenic views from a hilltop, and vineyard upon vineyard.  I suppose the movie Under the Tuscan Sun was on my mind and much more of what I expected than I realized.  Don’t get me wrong, Milan, Venice, Florence, and Rome each have their highlights, but it was the scenery that drew me to Italy.

Montalcino, Italy

Montalcino, Italy

Finally, six days into the trip, I experienced what I fondly refer to as my Italy, on a half-day tour from Siena into the countryside of Montalcino.

Yes, tall cypress trees lining the long driveways, scenic views, villas, and vineyards!  The city of Siena was quaint and cobblestoned.  The hotel had one of the most beautiful views overlooking a valley.  Ah, Siena…

Overlooking Assisi, Italy

Overlooking Assisi, Italy

Though I fell in love with Siena and the surrounding countryside landscape and thought that it would be my number one Italian city, it was Assisi that made it to the top of my list.  Assisi is even more quaint as it is nestled on the side of a hill.  It is one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever experienced.  And, it has a restaurant that served the best lasagna I’ve ever tasted!  Speaking of food… oh, the food, fantastically fresh!  Everywhere!  In exchange for my money, I brought back a few unwanted souvenirs – a few extra pounds to prove just how good the food was!

We finished the trip in Rome and visited many of the historical highlights that the ancient city is known for – the Vatican, the Pantheon, the Coliseum, Fountain of Trevi (assuring a return trip to Italy completed by tossing coins into the fountain – legend has it), just to name a few.  With a city so rich in history, it was simply amazing to walk the streets that were created so long ago.  It was also in Rome that I was able to fuse my love of potatoes (yes, it’s the German coming out in me) with my love of Italian food – pizza topped with potatoes!!

It truly was a vacation of a lifetime that excited all of the senses.  A few special thank you’s to: the One Stop Center staff for covering for me, Travel Guidebooks by Rick Steves, the incredibly knowledgeable tour guide in Rome, Claire with Devine Tours, and to her husband, Charlie, who set up a special Vatican Radio tour for us.  Grazie! Grazie! Grazie!

Jill Seidenberger visited Italy during Spring Break. Stay tuned to the blog for another story of a fascinating Spring Break trip to Italy by Dr. Edna Rehbein, Director of the Texas State University Round Rock Campus.

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