ITALY: May 14 - June 6 — two weeks of class in Milan, then two weeks of travel through Italy with stops in Rome, Florence, San Gimignano, Assisi, Paestum, Capri, and others. Faculty: Dr. Ece Erdogmus, Architectural Engineering
Rome, May 16
(After lunch we) walked back to the Colosseum. This was what I had been looking forward to all day. I was extremely excited. After seeing a movie like “Gladiator,” the structure really came alive for me. It was incredible to see the engineering that went into it. After we toured the Colosseum, we travelled on to the ancient emperors’ palaces. On the way, we saw some of the Roman aqueduct ruins. … I can only imagine what it was like back in the day. We moved on to the Forum. This is where the ruins of many ancient temples as well as marketplaces rested. Again, very neat as it allowed us to imagine what life was like for the common Roman and contrast it to the palaces of the emperors that we had just encountered.
– Jacob Zach, senior, Architectural Engineering
Rome, May 17
We took a right this time and found our way to the basilica. What a beautiful building. It is hard to properly describe how the church looked on the inside, just breathtaking. I looked to my right and saw Michaelangelo’s Pieta. A very beautiful sculpture. I really loved how rich the basilica’s interior was with texture and color. The baldachin, the canopy over the altar, was black with intricate carvings. The piece behind the altar was gleaming gold with black statues intertwined. Although there were many large statues, the scale of the basilica was so grand that nothing seemed out of proportion.
- Jennifer Kane, PhD student, Chemical Engineering
Milan, May 21
We went to the Museo Nationale della Scienza E della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci. There was definitely a lot to take in there. They had all of Leonardo da Vinci’s experiments there. I really think seeing this museum has made him my new hero!! He experimented on all of the basics in all of the basic fields of engineering like statics, dynamics, and fluid mechanics. He also worked on the human body and was the first to locate the optical portion of the brain. Not only all of that but he was an amazing artist and sculptor. I really have to wonder how he had time to do it all in his lifetime!!! Leonardo da Vinci actually grew up and died in Milan so he seems to be a reoccurring theme lately.
- Kristine Seier, senior, Biological Systems Engineering
Milan, May 22
SOCCER! Some of us headed out around 5:00 for the Duomo. We got some good spots near the big screen. I cannot even begin to describe the atmosphere. There were SO many people (the game didn’t start until 8:45). People were going absolutely crazy. It definitely made Husker tailgating seem pitiful. There were fireworks, smoke bombs, crazies were climbing up the light poles, glass bottles breaking left and right, and people dressed/painted in blue EVERYWHERE! Eventually, just about everyone (besides the Venice group) joined us (even Dr. Erdogmus!). There were so many people everywhere… definitely had to leave the personal bubble back at the hostel. We (yes, I consider myself a resident of Milan) ended up winning 2-0. After each goal, the crowd went even crazier than they already were… high fives everywhere, alcohol and elbows flying. We had so much fun learning the chants and talking with the people around us (everyone was so impressed that the Americans were there supporting Milan whole-heartedly).
- Lindsay Stoll, senior, Industrial Engineering
Milan, May 25
San Satiro was a little church tucked into an alley; if you weren’t looking for it you probably couldn’t find it. It was the tiny space that this church held that resulted in its coolest feature. Since there was not enough room for a cruciform church, an optical illusion was used. The church is actually “T” shaped, but behind the altar the wall was painted to look like it extends further back. Very innovative, very cool.
- Cody Buckley, PhD student, Architectural Engineering
Firenze, May 28
Next we headed for the Duomo of Firenze, a.k.a. Santa Maria del Fiore. The dome of the cathedral is the largest ever made from brick. There are actually two shells of the dome: an inner to act as a platform for the outer. The most impressive part of the design is that it was built without scaffolding to support the center as the construction of the dome progressed. Also, a herringbone pattern … for the bricks was utilized by Brunelleschi, which is something he learned from the pantheon (he literally cut a hole through the bottom of the dome of the Pantheon). Actually, the opening for the dome was left open for some time in wait for someone to design a dome that could span such a distance, as the original architect had passed away. It was finally designed by Fillipo Brunelleschi and finished in 1463, over a century after the campanile was finished (the tower on the opposite side). We had the opportunity to journey up over 400 stairs to the top of the dome. It was a little work, but well worth it. The stairs were actually between the two shells of the dome, so we got a good look at how the dome was constructed as well. The view from the top revealed the entire city of Firenze.
- Jeffrey Ruskamp, junior, Architectural Engineering
Pompei, June 3
The events of the day started at two a.m. I woke up to a pitch black room and Brad saying “get out of here…shoo!” While the scenario unfolded in my brain I asked just to double check “What’s going on?” With the reply “there is a … dog in here!” As my eyes started to adjust I saw the wide open door and the dog on the rug. This was the laziest dog ever, we were pushing him and shooing him and he didn’t even blink. Finally Chris started to drag the rug he was on towards the door, the dog didn’t even get up until he got close to the door then he made a final attempt to secure his place on the floor but was thwarted. We rolled him the last two feet and when his bum hit the front step he finally moved away from the door on his own power. I shut the door and locked the deadbolt, we were just getting around to asking how the dog got when all of a sudden there was a thunk on the door and the handle turned. Since I had thought to lock the door this time the dog was not able to get in, but that clever dog could open the door otherwise. Afterwards when we laid down and turned the lights back off I thought about what just happened … for about 10 minutes I fought to not laugh and let my roommates sleep. The situation was pretty funny though.
- Kile Donley, junior, Architectural Engineering
Venice, June 6
At Piazza San Marco, we also visited the San Marco Cathedral. This is a very impressive church, with gilded mosaics over most of the domed ceilings. We then moved quickly to the Rialto bridge. This bridge, just North of Piazza San Marco, is covered in small shops, and was usually packed with people during sales rushes. We crossed this bridge and wound our way through the heart of Venice along canals and narrow streets. The whole of Venice is like one large, incredibly beautiful maze. Each turn presents a wonderful new view of at least one canal. Gondolas swarm the waters, some with musicians playing as they row slowly by. We did not have enough time or money to take a ride. I hope to return one day and do so.
- Ben Wagner, senior, Architectural Engineering