An update from seminarian Jeffrey Gardner, on the time his class spent in Florence and Norcia:
The two days in Florence were amazing! We saw so much yet barely scratched the surface. I have now seen for myself some of the things I previously only studied. The first was Santa Croce in Florence which, aside from being beautiful, is full of history. Inside are the tombs Michaelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli! We also saw the center of Florence and learned about so much of the history of this wonderful city, which once was the banking center of the world.
In Florence, we had a wonderful tour guide named Dony MacManus: very Catholic, and a wonderful artist. He was able to convey the idea to us that art, done properly, conveys the faith.
Norcia was beautiful and peaceful. The accommodations were exceptional and the food was great. Breakfast consisted of bread, cookies, coffee, jam and the most delicious honey I have ever eaten. Lunch and dinner were both big and delicious. They consisted of a pasta serving, usually in red sauce; this was followed by the meat or cheese course with a cooked vegetable; then came the green salad with a vinegar-oil dressing. Dessert consisted of fruit, tiramisu or gelato. We were well taken care of by the sisters!
Finally, I am blessed to be here. I am getting a true sense of the Universal Church, and I am realizing that the Church is the major player in European and world history.