ROME – The men's basketball team toured Italy for 10 days, visiting four cities- Rome, Florence, Venice and Como. The following is compilation of their itinerary with player blogs and a photo gallery.
SJUHawks.com will chronicle the Hawks' trip with player blogs, game recaps and photo galleries.
Game 3 Photos by Diego Munari
DAY 1, ROME (Langston Galloway):
The Saint Joseph's Men's Basketball team has landed in Rome after a little delay on the runway we made it here safely. The plane ride was great smooth and fast; as soon as we arrived we were on the move to the Colosseum. Being 6 hours ahead really makes a big difference because most of us would be asleep landing at 11 a.m. Rome time when it was only 5 am back in Philadelphia. The team was excited and even though we were tired we walked inside the Colosseum seeing the great architecture that was done over 2000 years ago. As a team we enjoyed every moment of walking around Rome and everyone is more excited to play in our first game Tuesday at 7 pm. Just the first of many updates from the Hawks as we travel more and get into the tour.
DAY 2, THE VATICAN (Eric Kindler):
While we have come here to Italy as a basketball team, the sights we witnessed today are reminders that this trip is far more than a playing tour. For all of us, a trip to the Vatican was a curiosity. It was even a long awaited pilgrimage for many. The hordes of people lining the streets to enter one of the world's largest museums was remarkable. And knowing we had a personal, reserved tour of the whole place got me really going! Like all great collections of art and spirituality, a tour consisting of only a few hours does little justice to display the enormity and skill we were in the presence of. From the Sistine Chapel to the massive St. Peter's Basilica, it was awesome to simply look upon some of the greatest works of art in the world and at the same share in the moment with a bunch of young guys who took everything in with such amazement. This was certainly a great day, one to fondly reflect back on during my years here at SJU.
DAY 3, ROME - The Hawks had a free day in Rome. Some of them went sightseeing and shopping, visiting the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain, while some went to a nearby beach. That evening, a few players attended the Italy-Argentina soccer friendly that evening at the Olympic Stadium.
(Chris Wilson): The environment at the soccer game was incredible. The fans were leaving the ticket gate and running to the stadium. The atmosphere inside was so intense, with fans from both teams cheering as hard as they could. I was surprised to see that Argentina had a lot of fans at the game. Italy lost 2-1, but the Italian fans were engaged the whole time.
DAY 4, FLORENCE: The Hawks made the 3-plus hour trip to Florence and after check-in at the Grand Hotel-Baglioni, were off for another sightseeing tour. After a quick lunch of pizza, the travel party went on a guided tour of the Accademia Galleria, to see Michelangelo's works, including the statue of David. The tour also took SJU through the main square of Florence where they saw the Cathedral of Santa Maria, better known as the Duomo, and went throught the Piazza della Sigsoria. Among the statues there are Hercules and the Centaur and a replica of the David statue. The tour concluded at the Ponte Vecchio, also known as the Old Bridge.
(Javon Baumann): After our first stop in Rome we were going to Florence, which is a really beautiful city. We stopped at a viewpoint to see the city from above and to take some more team pictures. After we arrived at the hotel we had a tour to the world famous David statue of Michelangelo, which was very impressive. Furthermore, we got to know more of the history of Florence and for the rest of the day the team enjoyed more of the Italian food and gelato.
DAY 5, PISA and FLORENCE: The team traveled an hour and a half to Pisa to see the famed Leaning Tower. The players climbed the 300-plus steps to the top of the tower. After a guided tour of Pisa Square, and a quick lunch of panninis and pizza, the Hawks returned to Florence for a free afternoon.
(Ronald Roberts): The Leaning Tower of PIsa was the highest peak I've ever been in my entire life! It was amazing to first walk in and stumble to the side of the tower. At first it didn't seem very crooked because they have fixed it over the years. But when you first walk in you can definitely feel yourself leaning over. We walked all the way to the top and it was a good workout! The tower was so high that one of our guys was too afraid to go all the way up. I'm glad that I got to experience this moment because this is a piece of work that most people only read about or see in pictures.
DAY 6, MESTRE: The team boarded the bus again to move to their next destination, Mestre, which is just outside of Venice. The Hawks had free time to relax in the afternoon before heading to Padova for their second game.
DAY 7, VENICE: The Hawks spent most of the day in Venice. They traveled there via water taxi and then took a guided tour through San Marco Square. After some free time for shopping and lunch, the entire travel party took a ride on the famous gondolas.
(Colin Kelly): We started off the day by taking a water taxi to the beautiful city of Venice. Once we docked, we toured the city and saw San Marco Square and St. Mark's Basilica. We even took a wonderful ride on the gondola which consisted of musicians as well. After an exciting and long day, we went on to win our game versus the Italian All Stars, 99-57.
DAY 8, COMO: SJU got on the bus again for the last long road trip. They took the 3-hour ride and arrived in Como. The players took in the shopping and the beautiful view of the lake before having a farewell dinner.
DAY 9, COMO: The Hawks took a 3-hour tour by boat on beautiful Lake Como. They docked in Bellagio for a short to take in the shopping on the narrow streets. Then it was back to the hotel at Como for free time the rest of the day before the final game of the tour this evening.
(DeAndre´ Bembry): Today we went out in Como, Italy, sightseeing on the lake. The mountains and the famous people living on the lake was nice to see. I think that what I liked the most about Como was all of the beautiful venues, with the buidlings in the mountains. And especially when the lights came on at night, it was just really nice to sit back and look at the scenery.
(Halil Kanacevic): Today we took a boat tour of Lake Como. We got to see a couple of villas owned by famous people like George Clooney and the Versace family. Then we stopped at the town of Bellagio and did a little bit of sightseeing and shopping. Personally, I think that Como has been the nicest city we have visited in Italy. In this case, I guess it's true when people say, "Save the best for last".
(Phil Martelli): I’m happy how the players handled the different days, the bus rides and the team activities and then being asked to turn their attention to games. There were long rides to the gyms but again the players didn’t let that impact them. I think there are bright lights and I thought the bulk of the basketball would be done in practice and I still feel that way. This was about establishing their identity with each other. I’m going to congratulate them tonight about the way that they represented their families, first and foremost, and the school and the program. I’m appreciative of the work of the coaches and support staff. Everybody did their share and made it a special memory for all of us.
Grazie and Arrivederci Italia!
IL FALCO NON MORIRA MAI! (The Hawk Will Never Die!)