In February, a group of aspiring leaders from Charles O. Dewey Middle School, also known as M.S. 136 of Brooklyn, took an incredible 10-day tour of Italy. These students had to earn their way on the school trip, and it took many hours of studying and hard work to qualify. For many, it was their first time ever leaving the country, much less flying all the way to Europe to see some of the most famous cities and sights in the world. When Principal Eric Sackler first envisioned the trip, he reached out to Fourwinds Tours & Travel, who put together an itinerary based on the group’s educational goals and budgetary constraints. After months spent preparing the students for their epic educational journey, it was time to board a plane to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
After a brief layover in Lisbon, Portugal, the school group flew to Venice, Italy. They stayed the first night at a hotel in Padua, a quaint city with medieval market places, then ventured into Venice proper the following morning. The students took a guided tour of the city that included seeing St. Mark’s Basilica, Ponte dei Sospiri, Doge’s Palace and more. Members of the group took rides in the famous Venice gondolas, which was a definite highlight of the trip. There was also time for shopping in Venice boutiques for Carnival masks, Venetian glass and other souvenirs.
The following day, the entourage traveled to Florence to see many highlights of the city, including the Piazza della Signoria, Pitti Palace, Ponte Vecchio and Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (aka Il Duomo di Firenze). The students and chaperones were then treated to a tour of the Uffizi Gallery, a phenomenal art museum that includes works by Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Titian.
No visit to the region would be complete without seeing the infamous leaning tower of Pisa. The students enjoyed taking pictures of themselves pretending to support the leaning tower from falling over. After having lunch near Piazza dei Miracoli, the tour group headed off to Italy’s capital city of Rome.
The school tour group’s time in Rome was jam-packed with world-class attractions. Starting with Vatican City, the students toured the Vatican and its museums, including the divine Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. In the afternoon, the group paid a visit to the Coliseum and Fori Imperial. Folowing a jaw-dropping tour of the Coliseum, the students had a special opportunity to experience the Roman Army Training Camp & Gladiator School. There students were able to participate in a revival of Ancient Rome, dressing in accordance with the times and learning the ways of the warrior. They were taught assault techniques with wooden swords and battering rams, practiced archery, played tug of war and more.
The following day, the tour group ventured out of Rome to Sorrento, where they learned wood carving at the Museo del’Intarsio and looked upon Mount Vesuvius from afar. In the afternoon, the students were able to tour the incredible excavations at Pompeii where the whole city was covered in ash from an ancient eruption.
For the last full day of their Italian odyssey, the school group took an all-day walking tour of Rome, making sure to see the Altare della Patria, Via del Corso, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and Villa Borghese gardens.
Students of M.S. 136 absorbed as much as possible before departing back to America the following morning. Their young minds may not have fathomed the reward of working hard to earn an escapade across the globe until the trip was truly over. Not only did they earn an opportunity to culturally immerse themselves in some of the world’s oldest cities, but they brought back with them a wealth of knowledge and a worldview considered academically invaluable. What an amazing and unforgettable trip!