Study abroad series: One weekend in Naples



Sophomore Hayley Gearheart said she had a real taste of Italy over the weekend, and it was not pizza or pasta.

She and some of her classmates from the Global Adventures in the Liberal Arts program took a weekend trip to Naples, Italy, from their current home in Rome.

“It was very eye-opening,” Gearheart said. “I felt like I got a more authentic view of Italy than I did in Rome.”

Sophomore Hayley Gearheart with Mount Vesuvius in the background.

Sophomore Hayley Gearheart with Mount Vesuvius in the background.

Rome is almost three times as big as Naples, which is in southern Italy.

While still rich with history, Gearheart said Naples did not have nearly as many tourist attractions as Rome.

Naples’ largest landmark is volcano Mount Vesuvius, which destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 A.D.

Gearheart said viewing the volcano stood out to her the most.

“I want to use a better word than awesome,” she said. “It is the all-powerful awesome, not just ‘this is cool.’”

She said the reality of the history played a weird mind game on her.

“I know there is a city destroyed on the other side of the volcano,” the sophomore said. “But people still have normal lives on this side. It seems unreal.”

She said she noticed more than tourists staring at the sights here, as well.

“Obviously, I could see other tourists taking pictures,” Gearheart said. “But some locals with their grocery bags would stop and look. They see this every day, but they still stop and look. I really like that.”

After her two days in Naples were over, she and her small group took a train ride back to Rome.

Gearheart said her trip to Naples made her appreciate Rome more, but she will always be thankful for the lessons learned on her weekend excursion.

“Seeing the locals and the way they looked at the coast made me appreciate the beauty in the ugly,” she said.