Destination: Italy

Ciao Amici,  Hello Friends!




This week we will be touring Italy, which is the fifth most visited place in the entire world! Some fun facts about Italy: the thermometer, microscope, and telescope were all invented there. The story of Pinocchio was written by an Italian person and takes place in Italy. Pizza and cones for ice cream came from Italy. Italians also invented the piano, the typewriter, eyeglasses, and Lamborghini’s. 




Fun Sites to See in Italy


Walking tour to Piazza Navona to St. Peter’s Square


Virtual walking tour of Pompeii (This tour offers 360 degree views so you can use your arrow keys to see different views.)


Walking tour of Casel Dell’Ovo




Ancient Times and Now

Check out these photos and side-by-side comparisons of major Italian sites from ancient time until now. 




San Lorenzo Market


Leaning Tower of Pisa


Porto Venere




Palazzo Vecchio


Vecchio Bridge


Vila Farnesina


Tour the Vatican (Click which room you want to see and the pictures will load.)


Explore Italian Art (Note: This link brings visitors to a page with lots of different art. When art is clicked on, the image zooms in and gives information.)


Italian Music Playlist






Pyrenean Chamois


National Geographic Italian Wildlife Documentary




Scientific Method 


Italy is known for their invention of the scientific method, as well as many scientific tools such as the telescope and microscope.  While you are visiting Italy this week, try using the Scientific Method for yourself with this simple scientific experiment.




Egg & Vinegar Experiment



  • Egg
  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • clear jar or glass



  1. Brainstorm, or think about What might happen to the egg if you put it in vinegar and let it soak?
  2. Write down what you think will happen before you start the experiment.
  3. Pour cup of vinegar into a big enough container
  4. Put your egg inside the container of vinegar.
  5. What do you see? Is there anything different?  Does it look the same?
  6. Leave the egg in the vinegar for one day
  7. Take out the egg out of the vinegar and touch it
  8. How does it feel? What changed? Is it different than it was yesterday?
  9. Put the egg back into the vinegar and look at it and touch it again tomorrow.  Did it change?  Is there anything different about it?  Have your original guesses come true?  Why do you think so?
  10. You can test the egg every day at the same time for a week and see what happens at the end of the week.  Did anything change?  Did what you thought would happen actually happen?


Speaking of science. Galileo is known as the father of modern science. His full name was Galileo Galilei and he was an Italian scientist who opened the eyes of the world to a new way of thinking about how our solar system and astronomy in general works. He decided to run an experiment on the Leaning Tower of Pisa. He went to the top and dropped two items that were different weights, but were the same size and shape. He believed that the heavier item would land first, but it didn’t. They both landed at the same time. However, no one really knows if he did this – the only person who really knew was his secretary. Some people weren’t keen on his experiments at all and wanted all their views to be just as they believed in them. Galileo was an Italian astronomer, mathematician, physicist, philosopher and professor who made pioneering observations of nature with long-lasting implications for the study of physics. He also constructed a telescope and supported the Copernican theory, which supports a sun-centered solar system.








  • Popsicle sticks
  • Plastic spoon
  • Rubber bands



  1. Make a stack of about 6 popsicle sticks, put a rubber band on each end to keep them together.
  2. Take 2 more popsicle sticks and rubber band them together at one end like in the picture.
  3. Pull those 2 apart and slide the stack of popsicle sticks in between them.
  4. Attach a plastic spoon with 2 rubber bands to the upper popsicle stick.
  5. You can pull the spoon down and release it to catapult small objects placed on the spoon. 


Save your catapult and bring it to Japan with you.  There will be something really fun that you will use it for.




Pizza Rolls


Who’s hungry? Did you know that pizza was invented in Naples, Italy? This is a super simple recipe that will bring the flavors of Italy to your after school snack plate. 



  • Crescent roll dough
  • Mozzarella sticks
  • Pepperoni
  • Marinara sauce



  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Separate dough into 8 triangles.
  3. Place 3 pepperoni slices on shortest side of each triangle and add one mozzarella stick to each
  4. Roll them up starting with side that has pepperoni and cheese
  5. Place pizza rolls on an ungreased baking sheet
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown
  7. Dip in marinara as you eat





Paper Plate Pizza



  • Paper plate
  • Brown paper
  • Pencil/ marker
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Red acrylic paint
  • Plastic spoon
  • Shredded white paper
  • Glue
  • Red paper
  • Green paper



  1. Place plate upside down on brown paper, draw a circle around it, giving some room
  2. Cut out the circle
  3. Tape brown paper to inside of plate
  4. Flip plate over and tape down excess paper to bottom of plate
  5. Flip plate back over so it is right side up, using spoon spread red paint like sauce
  6. Before paint dries, sprinkle on shredded paper (for cheese) spread it out and press down gently so it stays on
  7. Cut out red and green circles for pepperoni and green peppers
  8. Use glue to add on other embellishments




Venetian Masquerade Masks


Italians love a good party, especial parties that include wearing costumes. Masquerade balls were extended into costumed public festivities in Italy during the 16th century Renaissance. They were generally elaborate dances held for members of the upper classes and were particularly popular in Venice. They have been associated with the tradition of the Venetian Carnival.




  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Feathers
  • Sequins
  • Gems
  • Glue



  1. Paint your mask. Let dry.
  2. Decorate your mask in a festive fun way!






Fresco Painting


Fresco is a mural painting technique that involves painting with water-based paint directly onto wet plaster so that the paint becomes an integral part of the plaster. For this project you will be painting on wet plaster, so you will want to have an idea of what you’re going to paint before you start.



  • Plaster of Paris
  • Water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cup
  • Spoon or spatula
  • Plastic plate
  • Watercolor paints
  • Paintbrush



  1. Sketch out what you want your design to look like if you want.
  2. Set up work area so that you are ready to go before you get the plaster, giving you the most time to work on your plaster once it is ready to paint.
  3. Mix Plaster of Paris as directed on box or included in the bag. The ideal ratio for a Plaster of Paris mixture is 2 parts Plaster of Paris powder to 1 part water. Measure out the water and pour it into your mixing container.
  4. Pour the plaster in the plastic plate.  You are using the plastic plate as a mold.
  5. Let the plaster sit until it is set (not runny anymore), but still wet. The time this takes varies so keep an eye on it.
  6. Paint your design on the plaster while it is still wet.
  7. Let sit so that it can completely dry, then remove from plate.



The mixture will start to set within a few minutes. Besides hardening, you’ll notice that the Plaster of Paris also gives off heat. It typically takes 20 to 30 minutes for Plaster of Paris to set. You’ll know when the Plaster of Paris has set when it’s rock solid and cool to the touch. Carefully remove them from the mold.




Leonardo da Vinci’s Bridge





In 1502, Leonardo da Vinci sketched out a design for what would have been the world’s longest bridge at the time — 280 meters (918.6 feet). Although the bridge itself was never built, engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have tested the design to see if it would work. Leonardo da Vinci called it “The Bridge of Safety”. With a series of wooden poles and beams, no nails, screws, rope, glues, notches, or other fasteners are holding the bridge in place; just friction and gravity.




Self-Supporting Bridge



  • Popsicle sticks



Use the pictures to help you. You can follow all of the directions to have a larger bridge or stop when your bridge is able to stand by itself for a smaller bridge. Note: If you need to, you can use your permanent marker from Egypt to number the Popsicle sticks.  That may make it easier to follow the directions.



1.Start with four sticks. Place 2 down perpendicular to each other, leaving enough space to put to more between them in the next step, (stick 1 and 2) then put one going across the middle on top (stick 3) of them and place another underneath at the end (stick 4)













2. Slide a Popsicle stick under the fourth stick and then over the third stick (5) then add one more stick in the same fashion (6) (keeping the bridge pressed down may make it easier to work with)















3. Slide a new stick underneath the 5th and 6th sticks (7)















4. Going over number 4 and under 7 add stick 8 on one side and 9 on the other.















5. Keep pressing down on the bridge to make it easier to work with. Add sticks 9 and 11 so they are lined up with numbers 1 and 2. Place them on top of stick seven. They should be between the outer and middle sticks.














6. Place 12 going under the outer sticks, numbers 8 and 9, and under the inner stick, 5 and 6.



7. Place stick 13 under sticks 9 and 11.














8. Weave number 14 and 15 under 13 and over 12.














9. Add number 16 under 14 and 15.















10. Weave 17 and 18 under 16 and over 13.
















Paper Airplanes

If you would like to try different airplanes and see which one gets the best speed, check out this site.







Mosaic is the art of decorating a surface with pictures and patterns made of little pieces of stone, glass or tiles of different colors. Mosaics can be used indoors on walls, floors and ceilings. Mosaics are sometimes used outdoors on pavements. Mosaics were a popular way to decorate churches in Italy in the Medieval period. 



  • Paper
  • Glue
  • Colored Paper
  • Scissors



  1. Cut colored paper into small squares
  2. On a full piece of plain paper, sketch out a simple design
  3. Place the squares on the paper in the design
  4. Glue down the squares




Stained Glass Windows


Probably the earliest scheme of stained-glass windows that was created during the Renaissance was that for Florence Cathedral. They were designed from 1405 to 1445 by several of the most renowned artists of this period: GhibertiDonatelloUccello and Andrea del Castagno.  Romans excelled at the manufacture of small colored glass objects.



  • Wax paper
  • Tissue paper
  • Glue
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors



  1. Cut four strips of construction paper to be the frame of your picture.
  2. Cut your tissue paper squares into different shaped pieces.
  3. Glue the strips of construction paper around the edges of the waxed paper to become the frame.
  4. Put glue on the waxed paper inside of the frame you just made.
  5. Place your pieces of tissue paper down on the glue in whatever pattern you would like.
  6. Put glue all over your second sheet of waxed paper so you can put it together like a sandwich.
  7. Put the second sheet of waxed paper glue side down onto your tissue paper you have just laid down and smooth it out.
  8. Trim the edges so that wax, or tissue paper isn’t sticking out beyond the frame.
  9. Hang it up in a window to feel what it would be like to have stained glass windows.


You can make your faux stained glass any size. The waxed paper will be your canvas. You can keep it the size it is or cut it and make several pieces. 





Leaning Tower of Pisa



  • Cardboard tube
  • Grey or white paper
  • Paintbrush
  • 10-12 white or grey pipe cleaners
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • White napkin or paper towel



  1. Paint cardboard tube.
  2. Trim a little off one end of the cardboard roll at a slight angle so that it has the leaning shape.
  3. Cut a bunch of pipe cleaners into 2 inch sections. 
  4. Bend each pipe cleaner bit in an arch, it might be helpful to use a pencil to keep arches consistent.
  5. Glue the pipe cleaners around top of the tower, glue arch below it
  6. Continue gluing pipe cleaners all the way around, then another strip of pipe cleaner under it. 
  7. Glue another row of arches, with another pipe cleaner beneath, continue till reach the end fold and roll paper napkin, and place it in top of tower.