Along The Italian Riviera with the Penn State Alumni Association

A group of 22 Penn State travelers explored the Italian Riviera from Oct. 27-Nov. 4, 2007, in a Penn State Alumni Association tour. You can experience the region’s beauty and history vicariously by reading dispatches from such places as Sestri Levante, Portofino, Genoa, and the Cinque Terre.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Our Bags Are Packed—Or Soon Will Be

On Saturday night, right around the time the Penn State-Ohio State game kicks off in Beaver Stadium, nearly two dozen Penn Staters will board a plane at Dulles and set off on a redeye flight headed to Europe. It's the first leg of a week-long Penn State Alumni Association trip to the Italian Riviera—also known as Liguria—a colorful, historic region along the northwest coast of Italy.

Most of us will fly from Dulles to Munich, then from Munich to Florence. From there we'll board a motor coach and be driven to the coastal town of Sestri Levante, where we'll be based for the week. From Sestri Levante we'll head off on excursions every day. Here's a sampling of what's on our itinerary:

—Genoa, believed to be the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, and also home to a lovely cathedral (not to mention a cool aquarium);

—Portofino, a famous and romantic seaside town, and the neighboring town of Santa Margherita;

—The Cinque Terre, five picturesque hillside villages that are UNESCO World Heritage sites;

—Carrara, famous for its marble quarries; and

—Villa Torrigiana, a fabled country mansion and gardens.

Many mornings also feature an informal talk by a local guide about the region's history and culture.

I hope to post something nearly every day, Internet access permitting. Check back regularly and see what we're up to. In the meantime here's a stock photo from Manarola, one of the five villages of the Cinque Terre. We're all hoping to be taking photos of sights like this in just a few short days.

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