By: Sam Acker
Hello family and friends of HWP!
Today marked our last full day in Italy as well as our last day of training.
Although we are sad to be leaving tomorrow, our day was full of awesome experiences and productive pool time.
The day started with a much-awaited visit to the Vatican. We entered the walls and began a tour of Musei Vaticani, one of the largest art collections in the world. The artwork in the museum has been accumulated over the years by the Popes.
We began an in-depth audio tour of the museum, which included many different time periods, sculptures, paintings, and tapestries. The highlight for many of us was seeing the famous Sistine Chapel. We also were able to see Bogliasco and Florence on maps in a great hall of geographic maps commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII that date back to 1583.
After buying souvenirs from the museum, we were ready for lunch. We were free to explore the area around the Vatican and ate in various restaurants before meeting in St. Peter's Square, or Piazza San Pietro in Italian.
We took pictures and looked around the square before heading into the Basilica. We were in awe of the beauty and history of the church and all that it holds, including Michelangelo's Pietà.
At the end of our day of site-seeing we went back to the hotel for a quick nap and dinner before going to training at Foro Italico in Rome. This pool is particularly well-known, as it was the Olympic pool in 1960.
Thanks to the cooperation of the staff and the help of Fabio Filocamo, the President of the Harvard Club of Italy, we were able to take a tour of this historic sports complex that spans multiple acres. It was built in 1930 by Mussolini's architects and hosts tennis courts, a soccer stadium that holds 80,000 people, and track with statues of the Olympic sports. The different facilities are connected by a network of underground tunnels.
The pool also hosted the FINA World Championships in 1994 for water polo. Seeing this facility was such a great opportunity and it was awesome to see how far-reaching our alumni network can be. Thanks again, Fabio!
After the tour, we trained with a different team from Rome, S.C Nuoto Roma. They were a strong team and it was a great way to end our water polo training in Italy. It was really interesting to play against yet another style of water polo and take on so many new players. It was great to see us reinforce the habits we have been working to implement throughout the trip. Thanks to the Paulsell family for attending our training! It was nice to have the support of Harvard Water Polo fans, even in a foreign country.
Now, we are off to a good night's sleep before our flight home!