Twenty Students Experience Jam-Packed Italy Trip


Abby Wittler, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

This year’s Notre Dame Academy summer trip to Italy took place June 6–14. This trip has occurred several times in the past, but for the chaperones–theology teacher Katie Stanczak and math teacher Denise Rykal–this was their first time leading such a trip.

Twenty students and three chaperones attended as well as multiple parents.

Cost of the trip was around $4500 for each student to attend, depending on how early they signed up and whether or not they took advantage of requesting scholarships through the company that planned the trip.

The travel group visited the cities of Florence, Pisa, Assisi, Rome and Pompeii along with a visit to the Vatican.

Grace Balison, a senior at NDA, said her favorite part of the trip was “seeing the Vatican and going on the tour underneath the Basilica because only a few people could go, and it was so fascinating to see what was there.”

My favorites were touring Pisa (the cathedral and baptistery were amazing) and all of Pompeii.  I was in awe of the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain in Rome. The architecture and museums were breathtaking, especially the Sistine Chapel,”  said Rykal.

The trip began in Florence where they took a day trip to Pisa. The day they left Florence, they attended mass and then got on a bus to travel to Rome. On their way they stopped for lunch in Assisi and enjoyed the city for a few hours.

As Stanczak described it, they had “breakfast in Florence, lunch in Assisi and dinner in Rome.”

In Rome they visited historical sites, such as the Colosseum, the Forum and Palatine Hill.

Along with the historical side of the city, they were also able to experience the religious aspects. They were able to tour under the Basilica, an experience not readily available to all tourists.

While attending the Papal Audience in Rome, they received a welcome that was broadcast to all of the tens of thousands of people around them.

“I also thought it was cool to see the Pope in person and get a little shout out from the Vatican,” said Balison.

Next, they took a day trip to Pompeii and were able to experience the dig site at the base of Mount Vesuvius.

“There was a lot of art, a lot of faith and a lot of history all packed in,” said Stanczak.  

Overall, the biggest challenge for the attendees of the trip was keeping up with the busy

schedule, walking around 10 miles per day and adjusting their sleep schedules.

This trip was said to be an amazing experience for everyone who attended, and many students hope to go back in the near future.