ROMA, Italy – The University of Arkansas Razorbacks women’s basketball team landed in Rome, Italy around 10:30 a.m. local time to begin a 10-day adventure that includes three games against area professional teams.
Arkansas’ flight from Fayetteville was delayed with weather and the flight from Atlanta was delayed for mechanical reasons. After boarding in Atlanta around 5:45 p.m. Eastern, the Razorbacks had a delay on the tarmac before the nine hour, 40 minute flight to Rome.
The Razorbacks were met by tour guides and joined family and friends who had arrived earlier. The group boarded a tour bus and immediately hit the sites stopping first at the Roman Coliseum.
The Coliseum is also know as the Flavian Amphitheatre and is located in the heart of the city. It is estimated to hold between 50,000-80,000 spectators — just like a Razorback football game!
Players, coaches and families enjoyed a guided tour of the Coliseum followed by several other theatres and forums in the nearby area.
The Razorback women’s basketball team’s Italian adventure continued on Saturday as the team used the morning to tour Vatican City and its surroundings in Roma, Italy.
The tour included St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel along with all the art, sculptures and tapestries in the many museums in the city/state.
We started the tour by bypassing the growing line to get into the Papal state (thanks to our tour guide) and went straight to the garden area where our guide explained Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel. We walked down ornate corridors lined with statues and tapestries before entering the chapel, which is spectacular. After leaving the chapel, we went straight to St. Peter’s Basilica and had a few moments to walk around and look at the amazing statues, mosaics, and altars. After our journey to Vatican City, the team returned to the hotel for a couple of hours of lunch and free time before joining our guide for a walking trip to the Pantheon.
The Razorbacks women’s basketball team is using the trip to get a jump start on the 2013-14 season as the Razorbacks take part in a 10-day, three-game trip to Italy Aug. 8-18.
“We are extremely excited about our upcoming trip to Italy and Switzerland,” Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. “We are also very appreciative of our administration for affording us this opportunity. We are very fortunate to have such great support here at the University of Arkansas.
“Our players and staff are really excited about the cultural opportunities on this trip,” Collen continued. “A well-rounded educational experience for our student-athletes will help them grow as people and better prepare them for their future endeavors.”
Arkansas’ adventure begins as the team leaves Northwest Arkansas on Aug. 8, traveling to Rome on Aug. 9. The Razorbacks will tour the city and the Coliseum followed by a tour of the Vatican on Aug. 10. Arkansas plays its first game of the trip on Aug. 10.
The Razorbacks move on to Florence with a stop in Pisa on Aug. 11 and tour the Academia Gallery, which houses Florence’s most famous masterpiece, Michelangelo’s David, on Aug. 12. Arkansas faces Italian Select in the second game on Aug. 12.
The trip continues in Venice Aug. 13-14, then moves on to Como with a day trip into Switzerland Aug. 14-15. The Razorbacks will sightsee in Como before their third game against Chemcats Chemnitz Aug. 16.
The trip concludes when Arkansas departs from Milan to return to Northwest Arkansas Aug. 17.
“It will be great for our team in terms of growth both on and off the floor,” Collen said. “We have a very young team. They will benefit on the floor from the extra 10 days of practice before we leave in addition to the three games we will play against veteran teams. I also believe we can grow as a team off the floor. Hopefully that will help us become a more cohesive unit when the season begins and it will make up for our lack of experience in years.”
Here are several photos of the trip so far. We will continue to update this page with tour and game information.
Courtesy University of Arkansas Department of Athletics