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Saoirse

November 20th, 2023

My highlights of the BSc Environment and Sustainable Development fieldtrip to L’Aquila

0 comments | 2 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Saoirse

November 20th, 2023

My highlights of the BSc Environment and Sustainable Development fieldtrip to L’Aquila

0 comments | 2 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Imagine sitting in the picturesque Italian Apennines, with an ice cream in one hand as a part of your degree. Well, for me I didn’t have to imagine this! As a student of the Department of Geography and Environment, I have the amazing opportunity to go on field trips abroad. Last year, the BSc Environment and Sustainable Development students went to L’Aquila. In the heart of Italy, surrounded by mountains, L’Aquila boasts some stunning views, culture and of course amazing food. Although, in 2009, the town was struck by an earthquake of 5.9 magnitude causing significant damage. To this day, L’Aquila has been attempting to rebuild its physical infrastructure, culture, and its community. It is for this reason that we travelled to L’Aquila, in order to research the ongoing efforts of reconstruction and rejuvenation.

My highlight of the trip

Whilst the academic aspect of the trip was truly impressionable, my favourite part of the trip was definitely getting to know my classmates and the academics of the department better. Accordingly, each evening, we would return to the hotel for dinner, where we would talk about our highlights of the day over a three-course authentic Italian meal.

A day trip in the Italian Apennines

On the trip, we had the opportunity to go on several excursions that offered valuable insights into the region. One of the best parts of the trip was the day trip to Fontecchio and the Gran Sasso national park. Fontecchio, a quaint medieval village, had also been struck with the profound impacts of the earthquake and was still undergoing reconstruction. On arrival, a local resident gave us a guided tour of the historic centre of the town, which merely had 10 residents despite its inherent charm. As part of the economic rejuvenation efforts, the town had encouraged artists to take up residence in the village. In turn, we got to visit their art studio, which was filled with an array of artwork from vibrant paintings to mysterious sculptures.

For lunch, we headed to a local eatery, where we got the chance to experience a traditional Italian lunch. We were fortunate enough to taste many local delicacies, including Parma ham, ricotta, and, of course, ravioli.

After lunch, with our appetite and stomach satisfied we headed to the national park. To help walk off lunch we embarked on a scenic walk up the mountain. Midway, our guide provided us with fascinating tales about the transformations of the valley, from its historical sheep trade to the new eco-tourism industry. We also learnt about the local wildlife in the area, including bears and wolves, which to my relief we did not come across on our trip. Upon reaching the peak of the mountain, we were rewarded with magnificent panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and Rocca Calascio, a stunning castle perched on the side of the mountain.

Rome

On the last day of the trip, we were given the freedom to explore as we wished. Seizing the opportunity, my friends and I decided to spend a day in Rome. Despite only having seven hours we accomplished a surprising amount. Following our arrival at the train station in Rome, we set out on foot to find the city’s hidden gems. This proved to be a great way to experience Rome, not only as I’d already spent most of my trip’s budget on Italian ice cream, but also because we got to see much of the city that might often be overlooked. Moreover, we managed to see many of the iconic landmarks, including the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. However, the best part was the Tiramasu- unquestionably the best I’d ever tasted.

Learn more about the field trips organised by the Department of Geography and Environment.

About the author

Saoirse

Hello! My name is Saoirse. I'm in my second year at LSE, studying Environment and Development.

Posted In: Applying: Undergraduate

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