The 2019 Rose-Hulman men's basketball trip to Italy is complete! The team's trip blog is below.
DAY 1 - WRITTEN BY COACH RUSTY LOYD
Ciao from Italy!!! Although we encountered some delays in travel, we still arrived to Rome in good spirits on Tuesday afternoon and hit the ground running. After checking into our hotel, we took a walking tour of Rome's City Center. Among other famous locations, we saw the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and several incredibly beautiful Basilica. Tomorrow we will tour the Colosseum and play our first game against Smit Roma - one of our players will catch you up on how things go with the game and the tour. Addio for now and Go Rose!!
DAY 2 - WRITTEN BY ELI COMBS
I have to admit, our group draws lots of stares and whispers everywhere we go. I'm sure we look like tourists, but we tower over most people here so that doesn't help us blend in very well either. This morning we took a guided walking tour of the Colosseum and of the Forum. It was impressive to see such incredible structures still standing thousands of years after their construction. It was also a strange feeling to stand where thousands of people and animals had fought to the death at one point in time. We were free for the afternoon so we all split into our own groups and explored the city streets. Tonight we played against a local club team of 17-23 year olds called Smit Roma at a small YMCA-type building. The game was close during the first quarter, but after we adjusted to the faster shot clock and the style of play we ran away with a 84-50 win. More fun came after the game when Charlie Klein jersey swapped with one of the opposing players. This triggered a few more jersey swaps between Rose players and Smit Roma players. Both teams enjoyed the experience and we look forward to the next game in Florence. Tomorrow we will tour the Vatican and another player will let you know how that went, Ciao!
DAY 3 - WRITTEN BY CRAIG McGEE
Day 3 was a blast. The group got to sleep in a little before meeting and going to eat at a restaurant outside of the Vatican. After lunch our journey began at the Vatican. While there the team's minds' were blown. Vatican City was absolutely beautiful, full of different paintings and sculptures. Many of these paintings and sculptures were done by Michelangelo. The team came to the conclusion that Michelangelo was the G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time) of all things art related. From the Sistine chapel, where people were told to be quiet multiple times, to Saint Peter's Square, to St. Peter's Bisillica, it would be an understatement to say that the experience was great. It was an incredible opportunity to learn of the Catholic Church's history, the Vatican's history, and, while doing that, seeing some breathtaking works of art. We had a great time in Rome and tomorrow we will be headed to Florence to see what great things are in store for us. Ciao and hope you tune into Day 4 of our blog!
DAY 4 - WRITTEN BY MYON McGEE
It is day 4 and our last day in Rome. After a night full of fun, there was only a small group of people who went with Coach Loyd and his family to see several churches around Rome. One of the more popular churches was Santa Maria del Popolo. Once regrouping the team packed and headed for Florence. Most of the team slept through the bus ride to Florence and missed the beautiful landscaping on the journey, but when we arrived, we settled into the Michelangelo Hotel. The team was welcomed with an assortment of appetizers, followed by delicious meats and, of course, wine!!! After further observation, it is safe to say that liver (pate) still has an acquired taste and remains unpopular among the masses. To settle down, the team enjoyed a delectable cup of gelato. Stay tuned for adventures to come. Ciao!
DAY 5 - WRITTEN BY TREY WURTZ
Ciao! This morning we had free time until lunch so everyone got to do whatever they wanted. A few players got some much needed rest, a few players toured the city and shopped at local stores, and a few players went to Piazzale Michaelangelo. The view from Piazzale Michaelangelo was incredible! One of the best I have ever seen! You could see all of Florence and then some. After we all got back together for lunch, we toured the Galleria Dell' Accademia and saw the original Statue of David! We then toured the streets surrounding the Piazza del Duomo which was absolutely incredible! The Duomo has the largest dome in all of Europe and it is truly beautiful! We ended with a walking tour around Florence before we all dispersed on our own for dinner. Finally, some of the team explored some local bars around the city. Another player will catch you up on tomorrow's activities! Ciao!
DAY 6 - WRITTEN BY TAYLOR HEIL
Today there was some free time in the morning and afternoon so different groups were able to venture out and do their own things. A group of guys that hadn't been up to the Piazzale Michelangelo went up there this morning to enjoy the view. It really is one of the best places to see the entire city of Florence. Another group decided to use their free time this morning to travel to Pisa to see the leaning tower. It was about an hour train ride, but it was definitely worth it. The tower was bigger and the lean was greater than what I had expected, which really amazed me. Some of us decided to go up to the top of the tower, and climbing all those steps at an unnatural angle was unlike anything I've done before. In the late afternoon, everyone returned from their adventures and we rode a bus over to the recreational center. First our team helped run a kid's basketball clinic which was a lot of fun. It was great to see firsthand that basketball really is a global language. After the clinic, our team played Olympia Legnaia in a close game that came down to a buzzer beater at the end for us to win. There was great sportsmanship on both sides and it was a very neat experience. Our day ended with dinner at a pizzeria where they kept bringing food until we couldn't eat anymore. Overall, the trip has been so much fun and I am excited to see what our last few days in Italy has in store for us.
DAY 7 - WRITTEN BY ASSISTANT COACH JON LESTER
Buonasera from Italy!!
Day 7 was a travel day. In the morning we had time to venture out on our own to explore the last few things we wanted to see in Florence. Some of the groups went to the Basilica of Santa Croce, which is the burial site of Renaissance artist Michaelangelo as well as astronomer, physicist, and engineer Galileo Galilei. Some groups decided to go on a guided tour of the Duomo, one of the largest Basilicas in all of Europe. Others decided to relax with their extra day enjoying leisurely breakfast on a rooftop biestro. After a two course lunch, our group departed for Venice. We arrived around 6:00 PM and spent the entire evening exploring the remarkable city at night. Tomorrow we are going on a guided tour of the city as well as some more free time to explore!! Ciao!!
DAY 8 - WRITTEN BY ZACH CALLAHAN
On Day 8 the team did a guided tour in the city of Venice. We took a boat from the mainland to Piazza San Marco (Saint Mark's Square), and on the way there we even saw the cruise ship that crashed into Venice a few days ago. When we arrived, we walked with our tour guide through alleys and across some of the over 400 bridges of Venice as we took in the sights of the city. During the free time before our final dinner in Italy, some people went to shops such as Louis Vitton, some went to local coffee and candy shops, and some went to the beach. Those who had enough euros left even took gondola rides through the canals. We enjoyed our dinner together, and returned to the hotel. Most of the team spent our last night playing a team favorite board game. I think we are all sad that the trip is coming to an end, but excited to return home. It has been an awesome and enlightening experience.
DAY 9 - FINAL DAY WRITTEN BY CHARLIE AIMONE
Our final day in Italy was mostly comprised of travel back to the U.S. After enjoying one last Italian breakfast at the hotel in Venice, we all packed up, hopped on the bus, and traveled to the airport for our 10 hour flight back to Chicago! Luckily, the plane was very empty so many of the players were able to have their own row of seats to themselves. Upon arriving back in Chicago, all of us had to go through U.S. customs, which was a new experience for most of the players.
Overall, this trip was an amazing journey to an absolutely beautiful country, one that we will never forget. This was a terrific experience for all of the players and families, allowing us to bond outside of Rose-Hulman's campus, and for the graduating seniors to have one last opportunity to be with the team. Some of the popular parts of the trip included visiting the Vatican and Colosseum in Rome, our favorite walking tour guide – Manuela, countless trips to eat gelato, winning both games on the trip, and hiking up to Piazzale Michaelangelo to oversee the entire city of Florence. We want to give a special shout out to our tour guides for the trip, Francesca Roselli and Ambra Baldi, who were with us throughout our entire journey and helped make our trip so wonderful.
Grazie! Until next time, Italia! Ciao.