OWU Football Tours Italian Riviera, Pisa & Florence
During their tour the Battling Bishops football team of Ohio Wesleyan University took in numerous sites in northern Italy before the culmination of their tour in Rome.
After arrival at the airport in Milan, the group headed into the business and financial hub of Italy to view Sforza’s Castle then venturing to the Cathedral in Milan – one of the five largest in the world. Time was granted to explore the beautiful Galleria and to enjoy lunch at a plaza café. In the late afternoon the group ventured to Como just north of Milan, which sits at the southern tip of the renowned Lake Como. The evening was spent near the waterfront enjoying the first of many fantastic Italian meals finishing with an OWU Football tiramisu desert cake.
The next day the group ventured south to a countryside vineyard enjoying the beautiful Tuscan landscape stopping at a winery to hear of the traditional and modern winemaking techniques utilized to make famous and delicious Italian wines. Afterwards the group dined on fresh meats and cheeses from the area, including fresh Parma ham and Parmesan cheese. In the middle afternoon the group ventured into Parma Italy exploring the narrow streets and surprising interior of their local church filled with immense and beautiful frescoes.
From there the tour group traveled to the local sports centre. Extending their ambassadorship for American football and the university, the Bishops staff and players put on a clinic for approximately 50 Italian youth who as a part of the Parma Panthers are just beginning and developing an interest in playing American football. The players then experienced a delicious dinner of extensive antipasto followed by fresh ravioli and dessert. The evening entailed a co-practice with the famed Parma Panthers, the elite American football club in Italy. Afterwards players and staff from OWU and Parma enjoyed refreshments and stories in the social club outside of the practice end zone.
The following morning, the OWU tour group ventured a bit further south to the picturesque five coastal villages known as Cinque Terra and the Italian Riviera. This unique and authentic area exists much like it was when ambitious fisherman and farmers settled along the coast nestled in amongst steep cliffs centuries ago. Within minutes a train line connects all five villages. Players were able to put their toes in the water of the Mediterranean and dine overlooking the Liguorian Sea.
At the end of the afternoon the group arrived in Pisa near sunset to view the Plaza of Miracles that hosts the church, baptistery and famous Leaning Tour of Pisa.
In the evening the group arrived in the spa town of Montecatini Termi for an evening dinner and a relaxed night in the community.
On Saturday, OWU football enjoyed a full day in Florence, Italy the home of the Renaissance. Tour members took in the Santa Maria de Fiore, know as “the Duomo”, one of the great architectural achievement in the history of mankind; Ponte Vecchio Bridge and the Piazza della Signoria home of many of the world’s most famous sculptures. In the afternoon, at their choosing tour members visited the Accademia for a viewing of Michelangelo’s David, the Uffizi Gallery, the Pitti Palace, wandered the streets of Florence including the plentiful markets and outside cafes – likely a combination of events.