As you all know from following along with the blog and reading the other student’s updates, we had to leave Florence due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
It’s crazy to think that just over a month ago I thought coronavirus wasn’t a big issue and now the US has the highest number of cases. Since we were staying in Florence, which was so far away from the towns in Northern Italy, we didn’t really feel the severity of the outbreak. Everyone was thinking it’s not that big of a deal and that having those towns on lockdown would contain the outbreak.
A week before President Trainor made the decision to suspend our program and send us all home, my roommates and I actually travelled to Milan and Rome; I’m really glad we did because it was our last adventure in Italy before coming home. My parents were following the virus outbreak in the media and told me to cancel any plans I had for spring break because they saw that other schools were sending students home and they wanted to make sure I could pack up my room in a moment’s notice if need be.
The weekend we went to Rome and Milan, February 21-23, was actually the weekend of Milan’s Fashion Week. We spent that Friday exploring Rome and we were able to see the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and Colosseum. We spent the rest of the weekend in Milan, just exploring the city, trying new restaurants, and we were able to see the famous Duomo di Milan or Milan Cathedral. Going during Fashion week was really lively because we were able to see some of the outfits the models were wearing; one night we went to Five Guys and we saw a model there after his runway show decked out in a baby blue leather outfit with insane makeup. The day we ended up visiting the duomo, there were actually models doing a photoshoot outside.
Once we got back from Rome and Milan, things started getting more serious. The number of cases in Italy kept increasing and finally the State Department raised Italy to a level 3, advising non-essential travel to Italy, prompting President Trainor and other Mount officials to make the decision to send us home.
The night before my flight back home my roommate and I had a dinner party with Olivia, another student that was still in Florence, and Dr. Canadas. It was nice to share a last meal together before leaving the city that very quickly became my home away from home. It was definitely a bittersweet moment to have to leave Florence so early; we were scheduled to be there from January 27 through April 18 and I ended up coming home March 2. I obviously wish the circumstances could’ve been different but I am glad that we all made it back home safely; I may have said goodbye to Florence earlier than expected, but it’s definitely not a goodbye forever.