FLORENCE, Italy – Every day during the Islanders men's basketball team's overseas tour in Italy, GoIslanders.com will bring you Postcards from Italy – a combination of photos from the day's activities and a brief recap on the events from members of the men's basketball team.
In today's installment, sophomore Cole Martinez takes you through his second day in Florence.
Yesterday was one of my best days here. We had the whole day to look around and explore the city without any scheduled tours, practices, or games.
I woke up about 9:00 and had breakfast at the hotel before heading out. The first thing we did was climb to the top of the tower of the cathedral (414 steps) to the highest point in the city. The view was spectacular. I could see the whole city with the mountains in the background.
We then went to the market area. It looked like a big flea market you would see at home, except it was down a few of the streets. The thing I found funny is how relentless these people are when trying to get you buy their stuff. If you even look at one thing they come at you asking a bunch of questions trying to get you to buy.
Then we went to one of the museums in the town square dedicated to one of the families that used to be in power. The very first room we walked in had about 12 sculptures along the sides of this huge room. The thing that I really found amazing was the paintings on the ceiling, not just in the large first room, but every room had paintings on the ceiling.
The best part about the whole museum was a statue of Jesus made from ash and steel wood. It was just a statue of just his chest and above but the size and detail is what made it great. In my opinion, behind the Statue of David, this statue was the best piece of art in the city.
I think this trip has been great overall for our team. I know I speak for everyone saying we are experiencing new things and seeing things that we could not imagine. The size and age of the buildings along with all the detail in the art is the thing that really gets me. The trip has also been good for us as a team. We are really coming together and you can see it on the court. The squad has a different feel to it this year and I think we can do some big things when the season comes.
We are on the way to Rome as I write this and to me the best part of the trip. I can't wait to go see the Coliseum and the Vatican. I have done reports in school on the Coliseum and seen many movies, so to see it in person will be amazing. Also, being a Catholic, the Vatican is a very special place, and since this may be my only chance in my life to go see it, I feel it will be a very special experience. Plus we have our last two games against even better competition, and we are all looking forward to getting back on the court after a few days off. Got to stay undefeated!
A new component of Postcards from Italy is Coach Wilson's rating of the gelato from various places throughout the country. This came after Maury Hanks, the leader of our trip, told Coach about the quality of the gelato in the town of Bellagio. Every day, we'll have Coach's ratings of the dessert at the end of the postcard.
Day 1 – Milan – 8
Day 1 – Varese (Buosi Gelato) – 8
Day 2 – Varese (Varese center) – 6
Day 3 – Varese center (Blueberry/Raspberry) – 7
Day 4 – Bellagio – 9
Day 5 – Florence – 7
Day 6 – Florence – 7