MU fashion takes Italy!

For nine magical days last month, the fashion department got to embark on the trip of a lifetime to a country rich with history, culture, and of course fashion. Twenty-some students and faculty visited Milan, Florence, and Rome, each city different and packed with new experiences.

Unfortunately, I’m now writing this post from my bed in Rochester, NY and not a balcony in Florence…but at least we have the memories from the Fashion Department’s trip to Italy that will last a lifetime. Read on to hear about our adventures in all three cities.

First Stop: Milan

Milan is known for its high-fashion, and the city is dripping in luxury. We of course had to make a stop at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which is the oldest shopping mall in the world. The Galleria is home to stores like Versace, Prada, Gucci, and other couture designers.

Right next to the Galleria you can find the Duomo di Milano, which is the third largest church in the world. This church is an architectural masterpiece and is covered in statues, and six centuries worth of creativity. We also got to go on a walking-tour of the fashion district and visit a fashion school there.

Besides the beauty of the city and its luxury fashion, the food is just as amazing. Milan is known for its Milanese risotto, which is a rice dish with cheese and saffron. And of course, you need a drink to go with your meal–I went with a Spritz. Spritz is a very popular drink throughout all of Italy and usually consists of Aperol liquor, prosecco, and orange soda. It’s the perfect summer drink and makes you feel like you are one of the natives.

Later in the evening, around 6 p.m., it was time for apertivo, or happy hour. One night I enjoyed this in Navigili, which is an old system of canals that are now lined with restaurants and is the perfect place for drinks and hanging out with friends. After our time in Milano we made our way a little more south to Florence!

Second Stop: Florence

I will have to say out of the three cities we visited, Florence stole my heart. This city is older than Milan, making it richer in history and charming like a “land far away” in a fairy tale. There was always music around you between people playing their violins on the street, or the church bells ringing. Our hotel in Florence was right in the heart of the city which made exploring super fun and allowed us to see a lot.

One of my favorite parts of Florence was going to the Gucci Garden. This is a Gucci museum and the fashion in the Garden is breathtaking. We also went to Leonardo Leather and Gold to learn all things leather since Florence is very known for its leather. Many of us had “treat yourself” moments, splurging on leather goods like purses and jackets–since we were in Italy and all! I got a purse myself and let me tell you I’m in love with it!

We also walked around Ponte Vecchio, which in the bridge over the Arno River, and this is the place to go if you’re looking for some gold. We also made a quick stop into the Galleria dell’Accademia, which is the museum home to the Statue of David by Michelangelo.

For food in Florence, the must-have dish is tortellini, which is a pasta that is normally stuffed with cheese. Florence was a hard goodbye, and Ashley Ferrari and I took in one last magical moment outside next to two men singing and playing the piano on our last night. Although this was a bitter-sweet goodbye, we were all excited to venture to Rome!

Third Stop: Rome

Our last stop of our trip was to Rome, which is the capital of Italy. Rome is, of course, the oldest city of the three we visited and has all the popular sight-seeing spots. Roma is home to the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, ancient ruins, the Coliseum, and the Vatican, all of which we got to see. These are all places you see in the movies and it was a dream to get to experience them in real life. We threw our coins in the fountain, toured the Coliseum, and walked the paths of ancient Roma.

Rome is also home to phenomenal shopping and when you’re tired after shopping all day you can take a break on the Spanish Steps. We definitely all lived by the saying “when in Rome” during our time here.

Altogether this trip was full of delicious food, beautiful sights, and priceless experiences. I personally cannot thank the fashion department enough for giving us this opportunity and expanding our learning globally. I truly enjoyed every second there and we could not have had a better group of people go. Hopefully we can all return someday…but for now, arrivederci!

Natalie Thompson, '20

The epitome of a girly-girl, lover of art, and addicted to fashion.