Alumni & Friends Rome and Tuscany Tour is a huge success!
May 5 to May 14, 2011
Fifteen alumni and friends of Averett, participating in the first annual Averett tour, joined our fellow travelers in a hardy chorus of buongiorno Marcello as we boarded the bus for another exciting adventure in the beautiful cities and towns of Tuscany. The tour, arranged and guided by Trafalgar Tours, explored Rome and Tuscany. Yes, we toured Rome and its wonders: Circus Maximus, the Forum, the Coliseum and the Pantheon; Vatican City with St. Peter’s Basilica and the awe-inspiring Sistine Chapel; Florence, where the Renaissance began, and Pisa with its incredible leaning tower. But what was most appealing to everyone were the many treasures off the beaten path. With absolutely stunning weather all week, we traveled by ferry to Cinque Terre, a series of small medieval towns located on cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean, each no more than a mile apart from the other. Another day, we visited the medieval walled city of Lucca where the great opera composer Puccini was born. Among these many highlights, a favorite was our dinner at Villa Pasquini, the family-owned mansion overlooking the city of Montecatini. The four course meal was followed by singing and dancing led by a very lively one-man band.
I would have to say that the true highlight was the surprise group celebration of the fiftieth wedding anniversary of Connie and Sylvesta Jennings. Mr. Jennings is a former member of Averett’s Board of Trustees. On our last evening before departure, the entire group gathered for a wonderful farewell dinner in Rome. At the appropriate time, the wait staff brought out a special dessert topped with a sparkling Roman candle while the tenor and accordion player led us in singing “Happy Anniversary.” At the end of the evening, we gathered in the restaurant’s courtyard and were serenaded with a beautiful rendition of Ave Maria.
Most important in all of our travels was the opportunity to make many new friends. Traveling with the group were folks from the Philippines, Australia, Canada and the US. For Averett’s first venture into alumni international programs, it could not have been any better. As one seasoned traveler declared, “Second to my marriage, this is the best thing that ever happened to me.” Our readers are invited to join us for the next program tentatively scheduled for summer 2012. Stay tuned!