by Shawna Graves, Office of Public Relations

Sul Ross State University students enjoyed a 10-day excursion to Italy and France this summer as part of the Travels with Sully initiative, a program offering tours each May to a growing list of countries including Spain, Greece, Ireland, Belgium, Australia and New Zealand.

The two-week group-style tours are a bargain for traveling abroad, with airfare, lodging, breakfast and many activities figured into the cost. Spouses, friends and family of an attending student can also take advantage of these tours.

This year’s trip included an optional 3-hour credit course, Art and Architecture of Europe, led by Fine Arts Professor Carol Fairlie.

Those enrolled were required to keep a travel and art journal, filling six to seven pages each day with notes, sketches, paintings, ticket stubs and historical info.

The group of 10 from Sul Ross joined a group of 20 from Central Methodist University of Missouri.

It was a good fit, according to Fairlie.

Adventures began in Rome, with two days of guided tours and one self-guided day. The Vatican museum, Trevi Fountain and Colosseum were within walking distance of the group’s hotel.

Food was a highlight, with stops at fresh cheese and olive shops and a pasta making demo followed by a garden fresh dinner with local Tuscany wines.

The group caught a parade in Siena, saw a wedding in France, took a boat tour of Paris, and saw all the great art, including works by Botticelli and Raphael.

The architecture put history and art in perspective. “These places have been inhabited since the beginning of civilization,” Fairlie remarked.

A Renaissance enclosed village in Italy and Art Nouveau hotels in France provided opportunities for students to practice en plein-air style of painting and drawing.

It was the first trip abroad for Mason Fleming, a Computer Science major. One of his favorite experiences was touring the Galleria dell’Accademia art museum in Florence with a Sul Ross graduate student.

Most days adhered to a pretty strict schedule, but there was a lot of down time, too. Fleming recommends researching where to visit ahead of time to make the most of down time.

On the self-guided day in Rome, Fleming covered at least 10 miles walking around the city center taking in the rich history and art.

Students interested in study abroad should check with the Office of International Studies located in the Bryan Wildenthall Library. Next year Travels with Sully will bring students to Edinburgh, Scotland and London and will be led by faculty from the Education Department.