19 Dec | Kara Rutkin | No Comments

Stranded! | Florence, Italy

  {module Kara Rutkin Fall Blog} So remember when I said how much I loved Florence, and that part of me never wanted to leave? Well, apparently Florence listened. The city had its first major snow in 10 years this weekend. The odds of it snowing this hard in Florence are just as great as …


17 Dec | Kara Rutkin | No Comments

Kara’s Top 10 European Moments | Florence, Italy

My experience in Europe has been full of amazing memories. But there are just some that stand out above the rest. Here are my top 10 most epic moments from my time abroad!

1. Climbing to the Top of the Duomo

Florence, Italy

439 steps ascend to the top of Brunelleschi’s Dome, which leads to the most stunning view of Florence. I am really glad that I did this at the mid-semester point, because I was able to recognize all of the sights in Florence. It truly felt like “my town.” I loved sharing this moment with my parents!

2. My night at Copper’s

Dublin, Ireland

This was probably my favorite night of going out, not only in Ireland but in all of Europe. From the fireworks-filled Dart ride, to my Slovakian stalker Tibby, to being hit on more times than ever before, to dancing to the Riverdance song with my Knott’s coworkers, to waking up in a leopard-print onesie, the night was fantastic to start to finish. And was an indicator as to why I love the Irish so damn much.

3. Oktoberfest

Munich, Germany

Sometimes, I dream about returning to Germany’s biggest party. The beer was amazing, and the atmosphere unmatched. I will be back someday. Or who knows…maybe every year.

4. Seeing the Trevi Fountain at Night

Rome, Italy

Before I came to Italy, one of the only monuments I desperately wanted to see was the Trevi Fountain. I had seen it in movies, in my history book, in photos…I had to see this piece of art in real life! The way it lights up at night makes even the most cynical person’s heart melt (ahem). And best of all, I ate some amazing gelato in front of it with two dear friends. Could life get any better at that moment? Now to see if my wish will come true 🙂

5. Playing Tourist in London

London, England

When I see a famous building or monument, I get starstruck. It’s as though these places were a figment of my imagination beforehand. So being able to see the London Eye, Big Ben, Parliament, and Buckingham Palace all in one day absolutely blew my mind! It wasn’t too shabby doing it in a double decker bus with the amazing Jenny Driver either!

6. Hiking Through the Swiss Alps

Trento, Italy

Okay, so maybe it was the Italian side of the Swiss Alps. But still, for someone who loathes hiking, and is not really the outdoorsy type, this experience was incredible for me. I mean, how many people can say that they have hiked even close to the Swiss Alps? Or have even seen them? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

7. Daytrip to Venice

Venice, Italy

It was never in my original plans to go to Venice. I was set on my last trip to be to Paris. But when that fell through, I knew that God was telling me to go see the sinking city instead. And oh my goodness, I am SO GLAD I did. Venice is INCREDIBLE. It is exactly what I pictured the city to look like: canals everywhere, beautiful architecture, and sexy gondolier men taking lovers down the river. I had a fantastic seafood lunch, watched a Murano glass blowing demonstration, and explored what I now consider to be one of my favorite cities in the world.

Austrian Christmas Markets

8. Bistecca di Fiorentina

Florence, Italy

When I came to Italy, I promised myself that I would not fall in love. But then the Bistecca Fiorentina walked into the room on a wooden platter and life was never the same. The steak appears to be rare, but in actuality is cooked to perfection. It was the most amazing meal of my life, and I literally teared up when it was over.

9. Cinque Terra

Cinque Terra, Italy

“The Five Lands” of Italy was an awesome experience. The hike was worse than that of the Swiss Alps, but was so fulfilling and worth it. We had excellent weather, despite the rain pouring the day before. Laying on the rocks in Vernazza and floating in the salty ocean was just as close as I came to paradise on this trip.

10. Biking through Lucca

Lucca, Italy

I think the reason I enjoyed my day trip to Lucca so much was because it was simple and easy. There was no stress caused in terms of getting there, the whole day was relatively inexpensive, and I travelled with two very easy-going people. Riding bikes was a blast despite the gloomy weather conditions, and Lucca in itself is such a cute city!



16 Dec | Hannah Carloni | No Comments

Thursday, December 16, 2010 | Florence, Italy

The beautiful chirstmas tree in front of the Duomo! Wow! I cannot believe in just 48 hours, I will be back in America! This past week has been full of my friends and I saying “Oo! We have to go to that place one last time!” and “Shoot, we haven’t been to that museum yet!”, …


11 Dec | Kara Rutkin | No Comments

Oh, the Places You’ll Go | Florence, Italy

In continuation of my “Rutkin Recap” photo series (yeah, just came up with that right now), here is the next part for all of you who don’t want to go back and reread my entire blog:

Places Kara Went in Europe

(Specifically, outside of Italy)

Man, there are so many places I wish I could’ve gone! I guess I have to develop a bucket list for places I absolutely MUST VISIT when I come to Europe again: Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Prague, Amsterdam, Berlin, Capri, Switzerland…you will be mine someday.

Next Entry: The Food of Europe

I cannot believe this is my last week here. Life has changed so much in the past three months. Heck, I’ve changed in the last three months! While I miss everyone back home, the idea of returning to what I now consider the “ordinary” makes me want to vomit. Florence has been so good to me, and now I have to just up and abandon it? Not cool.

Well, I guess I better get to studying for finals. I am obviously dreading this finals week for more reasons than usual. Wish me luck!

See you in a week, America.




8 Dec | Kara Rutkin | No Comments

Italian Dreaming | Florence, Italy

My time in Florence is tragically coming a close. Emphasis on TRAGICALLY. I still cannot fathom that I have been here for over 3 months, and I board a plane to the United States in 9.5 days.

With that, I thought it would be fun to do a photo recap of some of my travels for those of you weren’t paying attention 🙂 And that way, I can give a lazy response to that question I’m really looking forward to answering when I come back: “Hey Kara! How was Italy?” Cause honestly…How am I supposed to sum up the absolute time of my life in a conversation with my friends and loved ones back in the states?

Each entry from here on out will feature photos and memories that I never put on the blog, just in case you haven’t been Facebook stalking me religiously. The first entry in this series is going to commemorate all the places in Italy that I visited. Let our journey begin!

Cities in Italy Kara Visited

Florence (duh)

The Italian side of the Swiss Alps/Trento


Garda Lake


Cinque Terra




Perugia (for EuroChocolate)


San Gimignano

Chianti Region


Venice: Sorry for not doing a full entry on my trip there. It was only for a day. But I will say that out of all these cities, with the exception of maybe Florence…this was my absolute favorite!



The Vatican City


I love this country.

Next Entry: Places I’ve visited in Europe

Today is Immaculate Conception Day, so no school! And then tomorrow is my last day of classes before finals. So weird. I don’t think I’ve ever been this sad for a semester to come to an end 🙁

Peace and buh-lessins…



5 Dec | Hannah Carloni | No Comments

Sunday, December 5, 2010 | Florence, Italy

Making fresh pasta with Kirsten

Busy busy busy week! The past couple days have been full of presentations, reading assignments, and research paper submissions. I scrambled all week to get everything done–but I finally did! On Wednesday I presented my research paper for Art History.

I had done it on a work called The Ecstasy of St. Teresa, by Gianlorenzo Bernini. Last week in Rome, I dragged my sister and friend to go see it in real life! Seeing it right in front of me, after studying and researching it for weeks, was so special. I used the pictures I took last weekend in my power point! Not many art history students in America can say that!

This weekend, my friend from college, who is studying in Granada, Spain, came to visit me in Florence! It was so nice to see a familiar face from Mary Washington, and we had so much fun! She came with two of her friends, so I spent the weekend being their tour guide! One night we made fresh pasta and pesto–it was hard work but tasted SO good! I can’t believe I only have thirteen more days here–I’m not NOT ready to leave yet! This semester has been so amazing. I never prepared myself for the end of it!

The view from their hostel!

The Ecstasy of St. Teresa




  •   169 Main Street
    Greenville, PA 16125

  •    Call: 866-922-7623

  •    Mail:



40 Under 40 Award Quickbooks Intuit Small Business Award



Athena Study Abroad • Big World. Made Smaller. © Copyright 2005 - 2019