College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota
College of Science and Engineering

Italy 2009

Jul 23, 09



Jun 4, 09


The last few days of the class we spent in Venice. Venice is truly a beautiful city! Walking or wandering the streets or riding in a gondola at night, the city is really enchanting.

The group had a couple of great lectures during our stay. One was on the bridges in Venice, and more particularly the Callatrava bridge that is so controversial because of its unusual structure and high cost. The second lecture was on the gates of Venice which are currently being constructed to prevent floods from occurring in the lagoon. These flood gates are designed so that when they are filled with air they rise to the surface of the water and block the flow of water into the lagoon. This project is also controversial because of the environmental impacts it could potentially have.

The group was given lots of free time in Venice to explore and enjoy the last few days of the trip. Some chose to spend a few hours at the crowded sandy beach on the island of Lido, where we were staying. Other activities were visiting Saint Mark's Cathedral with all of its gold mosaics, visiting the island of Murano to see the glass blowing factories, listening to the small orchestras on Saint Mark's square at night, taking gondola rides, and doing lots of shopping.


Jun 3, 09

Some more photos of the Italy group

Here are some photos I took while visiting the group in Italy.


Jun 2, 09


The weather here in Venice has been nice--not too hot and not too cold. We're staying on the island of Lido, which is a long narrow island that has the island of Venice on one side and the ocean on the other.


Jun 2, 09

A Photo Essay for Rome

Here is a photo essay that takes tracks the group from May 20 forward. coliseum.jpg Read more...

Jun 1, 09

Leaving Vernona for Venice

We are about to leave for the train station to catch our train to Venice. The food here in Verona is amazing and I hear everyone had a good time last night.


May 31, 09


We are finally at a hotel with free internet and computer access. We have been on the go so much during this trip and internet access has not been that easy to find so far.

We travelled to Verona on a nice train. Once we dropped off our bags at the hotel we had a tour of the Roman arena, Roman theater, and some other historical points in the town. The town gates were built in the first century AD and first century BC and are still intact. In the evening some visited Juliets house, balcony, and statue of Juliet. If you rub Juliets right breast it is supposed to give you good luck.


May 31, 09

Cinque Terre and Milan

On Wednesday the group spent the day exploring Cinque Terre, five towns along the coast. We all hiked thru vinyards, over stone bridges, and up many steps from the first town to the second town. The hike took about 2 hours. The views of the ocean were amazing! Some people continued to hike from town to town while others enjoyed relaxing at the beachs. Many cooled off from the hot sun by swimming in the salty water.

Thursday we traveled to Milan, a fashion captial of Europe. After settling into our four star hotel we had a tour of the Duomo by the head of the Museum of the Duomo which was very interesting. At the end of the tour we were able to climb to the roof top for some great pictures of the city.

Friday morning was filled with a tour of the Engineering School of Milan and a lecture from a professor there on the Duomo. We had a group lunch at a pizzeria with some of the engineering students at the University. Friday afternoon everyone was free. Some went to the Castle and were able to see paintings by Leonardo da Vinci and a pieta by Michaelangelo while other went shopping or window shopping. The class was divided into three groups for our scheduled visit to see The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci.

The group again had lecture on Saturday morning, this time by the U of M professors. After the lectures the group was again set free to explore Milan. Some met in the afternoon to go to mass at the Duomo.


May 25, 09


Today is our last day in Florence. The last couple of days has gone by so fast. We have been so busy! Today we had two lectures about the cracks in the Duomo and how the dome was designed and built by Brunelleschi. We also were able to climb to the top of the dome and see the cracks and instrumentation closer up. Later we had a guided tour of the museum of the Duomo where various statues and pieces of art from the Duomo and the Baptistry have been placed. Everyone is having a great time here in Florence though our feet are tired from walking all over the city and climbing the hundreds of steps. Most of us have been to the best Gelateria in Florence several times already!


May 21, 09

We have arrived!

We arrived in Italy and everyone is doing fine. There have had really full days and access to the internet is difficult. Here is a picture of us at St. Peter's Basilica.

-- Matt Gangl



May 15, 09

Institute of Technology Global Seminar – Italy

Ancient and Modern Structural Engineering in Italy (CE 4011)
May 18–June 4, 2009

Civil engineering professors Roberto Ballarini and Joe Labuz will use ancient and modern sites to explore topics in construction materials, structural planning, conservation, and restoration. Travel across Italy will be highlighted by stays in Rome, Venice, Milan, and Florence. Seminar participants will also see Verona, Pisa, and the Cinque Terre. Faculty presentations will be enhanced by many excursions and visits to Italian universities. See full itinerary.