Postcards from Prato

Ashley Arminio

A new city every weekend

Time has gone by so fast and I already have less than a month left of living in Italy. November is a busy month because it’s our last couple of weeks before finals, and all of our semester projects are due.
Fortunately with classes and homework, the school has planned a trip every weekend to a new city of Italy. Last weekend, our trip was to Pisa and Lucca. Pisa has the Leaning Tower of Pisa, of course, which wasn’t exactly what I expected, but it definitely was a great experience!

Ashley holds up the Leaning Tower of Pisa  (Photo by Ashley Arminio/Charger Bulletin photo)
Ashley holds up the Leaning Tower of Pisa
(Photo by Ashley Arminio/Charger Bulletin photo)

The leaning bell tower is leaning, even more so than my pictures make it appear, and I learned that the tilt was caused by the foundation of the ground being too soft; therefore leaving the building unsupported, up until cement was put into the ground to stabilize the soil. I also learned that the tower is curved almost like a banana, and this was due to the fact that engineers built upper floors with one side being taller!

The tower, baptistery and cathedral are all together in its own square, and outside of that are a bunch of food trucks and tents with souvenirs. I wish I had more time to explore Pisa, but we were behind schedule so we didn’t get to really see much outside of the tourist section.

I love that the school has so many activities throughout each week to help us bond as a group, and, in this case, test our knowledge. We had our first quiz night this week that featured different categories relating to Italy.

Whether it’s Prato, well-known and famous people in Italy, food or information learned in our classes, each team worked together to earn points. At the end of the game, the staff tallied them up to find the first, second and third place winners, which were given coupons off of future events we’ll be participating in, or they were given sweatshirts.

The University of New Haven really caught the attention of the Prato residents last week with fake dead bodies, and real blood in Piazza del Comune. The Crime Scene Investigation class had a lab project that consisted of working in teams, and each member had a specific position to collect evidence at the crime scene to present.

It was so cool to be able to see some of my friends work outside of the classroom and to see how they handled each challenge and situation. The Prato residents were immediately interested when they saw the yellow caution tape around their square, which I think is such a great idea!

Now, the Prato residents not only came up to and talked with the staff and students, but they have a better idea of what some UNH students are studying.