Illuminating Italy, Travel Tribe Culture Series | Kelsey Betzelberger | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Illuminating Italy, Travel Tribe Culture Series

teacher avatar Kelsey Betzelberger, Opera singer / Teacher / Traveler

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

15 Lessons (44m)
    • 1. Illuminating Italy

    • 2. Travel Tribe Italy Introduction

    • 3. Fun Facts of Italy

    • 4. Italian Opera

    • 5. Italy's Landscape & History

    • 6. Venice, Amalfi Coast & Tuscany

    • 7. Rome & Vatican City

    • 8. Italian Food

    • 9. Colosseum Introduction

    • 10. The Flavian Amphitheater & Other Amphitheaters

    • 11. Construction Colosseum

    • 12. Cats Colosseum

    • 13. Travel Tribe Colosseum Conclusion

    • 14. Travel Tips Italy

    • 15. Travel Tribe Italy Conclusion

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Welcome to Travel Tribe's Illuminating Italy course!

In this dynamic, fast-paced course, we will explore the history, language, food, culture, traditions, celebrations, geography, animals and famous sites of Italy. The course then dives into the construction, history and fun facts about one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, the The Colosseum.

Students explore local traditions and fun facts that shape this country into the exciting and dynamic place that it is today. Students discover the major cities, learn how to fit in like a local, and check out what to explore in each city/region (Rome, Vatican City, Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, Venice), and how to make the most of Italy if you're only in town for a few days.

Whether you are planning for a post-Covid vacation, wanting a virtual adventure, or planning your next long-term-digital-nomad destination, this course is for you!

Some of the fun-fact topics we will explore:

  • What are some of the most famous locations of Italy?

  • Which two countries are located within Italy's borders?

  • Why is Italian the most popular operatic language and what are some popular Italian operas?

  • Why are scientists watching Mount Vesuvius (and Etna) so closely?

  • What (and who) is a Renaissance Man?

  • How many private bridges are in Venice?

  • What is the Rainbow Island of Italy and why do you think the houses are so many different colors?

  • What are some typical foods of Tuscany?

  • What is the difference between gelato and ice cream? 

  • What are the two original pizza types?

  • How do you pronounce gnocchi?

About The Author

My name is Kelsey Betzelberger, and I have been teaching for over 10 years. I was trained as an opera singer at Northwestern University in Chicago, and visited 45 countries around the world while performing at opera houses in Italy, Germany, England, Argentina, France, Croatia and the Netherlands. I also teach German, French, and music, and I have lived in seven different countries with my husband and our three well-traveled, geriatric cats.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Kelsey Betzelberger

Opera singer / Teacher / Traveler


Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Illuminating Italy: Welcome to this travel Type History and Culture course, illuminating Italy, the Travel Tribe culture series, where we will explore Venice, Tuscany, Rome, the Vatican and more. I'm Kelsey buffalo burger, and I've traveled to 45 country as well, singing opera all around the world. In this dynamic, fast-paced course, we will explore the history, culture, food traditions, animals, and weirdest and most intriguing things of this spectacular country. Make sure to reference your Travel Tribe culture series travel planner to help you organize your thoughts and the coloring pages for your enjoyment. Discover all this and more in this travel Type History and Culture course. Make sure to bring your travel journal as the saying goes. Traveling makes you speechless and then makes you a storyteller. Or going to a place, I'll place viral way. We're going to have fun, dance and play, or getting on a plane, maybe eating food. Or let's see France, Let's see Spain, Let's see me. Do. I split? Let's see Greece, Morocco, let's say come up be, let's see China, Let's see Russia, travel, trip. Let's go. Let's see France, Let's see Spain. Let's see it on the last slide. Let's see Greece, Morocco, Colombia. Yeah, Let's see China. And let's see. Let's go. Let's get started. 2. Travel Tribe Italy Introduction: Italy. Officially the Italian republic is a country in southern Europe on a peninsula jutting into the Mediterranean Sea, known for rolling hills and fields of olive trees and gestures and directly gelato, beautiful beaches and quaint fishermen villages. Italy is one of the top vacation and retirement spots in the world. But Italy isn't only for foreigners. Let's check out what it's like to be a part of this festive and pasta filled country on the Mediterranean. Your travel the world worksheet is available for your reference at all times during the course. A blank sheet is also provided for optional self-study. The Travel Tribe travel planner is used throughout the course as a way to note the food, clothing, major cities and their attractions, and fun facts or pro tips that should be kept in mind when exploring. There are also some coloring pages provided for your enjoyment. The coloring pages and travel planner can be shared with the class at the end of the course. Let's get started. 3. Fun Facts of Italy: Hi. With some of the most diverse and picturesque landscapes in the world. Italy is often described as being shaped like a boot. Tuscany is perhaps the country's most well-known region, known for Queen vineyards and olive trees and rolling hills. There are mountains in nearly every part of Italy, creating beautiful sweeping views and dizzy and cliffs. The island of Sicily and Sardinia. Why at the bottom of the country in the Mediterranean Sea. Italy is on the European continent and its capital is Rome, or aroma, as you might hear, their most Italians speak Italian, and they currently have a population of around 61 million people. The Italian name for Italy is Italian is the main language in Italy, but German, French, and Sylvain anion are also spoken in certain areas close to the German, French, Pennsylvania and borders. The currency is the Euro. Prior to 2001, it was the Italian lira. And they drive on the right side of the road. The colors of the Italian flag represent three virtues, green or white, or faith, and read or charity. In the south, there are hot, dry coast lands and fertile plains where olives, almonds, and figs are grown. To very small. Countries are also located within Italy is Borders. One is sun Ladino, completely surrounded by Northern Italy. The other is Vatican City, which is completely surrounded by the Italian capital of the Roman Ferrari. Lamborghini and Maserati, or Ferrari. Lamborghini and Maserati are well-known Italian car manufacturers, is the most common art form in Italy. 4. Italian Opera: Oh, and the opera is a play in which everything is sung instead of spoken. The first opera ever written was performed in 1590, seven in Florence in Italy. The singers who sing and act out the story are on the stage and the orchestra is in front of the stage, but lower down in an orchestral pit so that the audience can see the stage and also hear the music. And the conductor stands in front of the orchestra pit and make sure that everyone sings or plays at the same time. Opera is usually in Italian, german, French, English, or Russian. Italian pronunciation is soft and melodic. It is still the most popular operatic language and preferred by composers, even if it's not their native language. For example, even German composers who exist in their daily life speaking German and communicating in German, they use and compose in Italian, in opera, as it sounds so much softer than German. And from a Singer's perspective, it is somewhat easier to sing it. Here are some examples of the most popular Italian operas and operatic composers, including Verdi's Aida and Puccini's Madame Butterfly. Here is an example of some operatic Italian art song called nacho or the kiss. By DT. Yeah. 5. Italy's Landscape & History: Italy's broad mountain ranges in the North and the center of the country. The outside and the Apennine mountains are tectonically unstable in the South, with several active volcanoes, which include Aetna and Vesuvius. Every so often bursts of ash into the air above Naples, and it's Sunny Bay. The cone of Mount Vesuvius looms over the Neapolitan city of Naples in southern Italy. It's last eruption was in 1944. And scientists closely watched this beast of nature every single day. Because it's not a question of if Vesuvius will erupt again. But a question of when Italy's history stretches back tens of thousands of years, beginning with the Etruscans, an ancient civilization that developed between the Ottomans and the T better rivers. The autumnal runs through present day Florence. The Etruscans were overtaken in the third century BCE by the Romans, who soon ruled the entire Mediterranean world. Their empire stretched from India to Scotland. Within 400 years. Power struggles between military leaders, families, and religions kept the Roman Empire rather BioCurious and unstable, only to eventually fall in the fifth century. Italy peaked again, no, during the Renaissance era, in the 11th century, a time marked by significant intellectual, artistic, and cultural advances. We renaissance is a French word, meaning rebirth. The Renaissance was seen as a rebirth of learning. One of the most famous people who lived during the Renaissance was Leonardo da Vinci, well-known for his paintings, most notably the Mona Lisa. He was also a scientist, an engineer, and a mathematician. He along with sculptor, painter, architect and poet, Michelangelo, or true renaissance men. These artists were so productive and well-funded that about 60 percent of all the works of art in the world in Italy today. Currently, the whole of Italy is relatively prosperous due to the influx of tourists. Sometimes nearly as many visitors as locals can be found sipping from the ancient water fountains and chatting with friends and eating cheesy greasy pizza. Italy is currently a part of the European Union with multiple large cities showcasing ancient ruins, cliff side panoramas, Tuscan vineyards. The main cities include the capital of Rome, Venice, Naples, Milan, Florence, and Palermo. 6. Venice, Amalfi Coast & Tuscany: Venice known for its beautiful canals, private bridges. And she can't be or Italian top US. But Venice is built on more than 100 small islands in the Adriatic Sea. Venetian canals divide up the city of Venice as there are 417 bridges. 70 of them are privately owned, has no roads. But the Grand Canal, lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces is packed with large taxi books, each called evaporate or evaporate. Though these floating taxis are the main form of transportation throughout this eclectic city. And gondolas provide an authentic and enjoyable experience for tourists. The city itself is built on large wooden pillars, which are slowly sinking, much to the dismay of the scientific community and locals who live there. The central square, Piazza San Marco, contains St. Mark's Basilica, decorated with Byzantine mosaics. And the company lead bell tower offering views of the city's iconic red roofs. 40 minutes by boat sits Murano. Italy is a rainbow town, an old fisherman's village with multicolored houses and clean canals lined with gondolas. Butanol is one of the most visited small towns in Italy and in Europe as a whole. This is next to Murano, the glass making Island, and is one of the major attractions of Venice along with Murano. As if we needed any more reasons to go to Venice as the city of canals and the floating city, that is, is one of Italy's most picturesque locations. The amount of fee coast, not far from Naples, is the amount the coast, one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. The Amalfi Coast is a 35 mile or 50 kilometer stretch of coastline along the southern edge of Italy is sought or in DNA Peninsula. It's a popular holiday destination, which sheer cliffs and a rugged shoreline dotted with small beaches and pastel colored fishing villages. Nearby is Mount Vesuvius, still active volcano that destroyed the close by Roman town of Pompeii. Declared one of the unesco World Heritage sites for It's undisputable beauty and the uniqueness of its natural landscape. The Melfi coast has more annual visitors than nearly any part of Italy. Tuscany. Tuscany is a region in central Italy with its capital, Florence, being home to some of the world's most recognizable and valuable Renaissance art, including Michelangelo's David statue. Tuscany is known for its sweeping landscapes, artistic heritage, an influence on high culture. Olive groves, vineyards, and rolling hills attract visitors year around. Tuscan appetizers usually includes sheep's milk, Pecorino cheese, and cured meats like pursuit though, post scanner. This city, known for its Tower of Pisa is in Tuscany, cause to be capital Florence. Peas, I got it's name is 600 BCE from a Greek word meaning marshy land. A shallow foundation, and the soft ground if p is our too unstable to support the building, even in the early stages of construction. So the Leaning Tower was actually already leaning when it was first built. The Tower is predicted to remain stable only for the next 200 years. So do get your pictures while you can. 7. Rome & Vatican City: The role, or Rome. One of the oldest great cities of the world. Rome is the capital and most populous and prominent city in Italy with 4.2 million residents. The cities classic motto, don't see Vidar or sweet life, is glorified by wood burning oven baked pizza, creamy gelato, and hundreds of varieties of why. Rome has been a major human settlement for almost 3 thousand years. And Italy's capital was the central location of the Roman Empire that ruled Europe for hundreds of years. Known for its extraordinary architecture. Notably the Colosseum, which we talk about next, the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain. Rom is often compared to a feast for the eyes or an outdoor museum. Throw a coin into one of the fountains to grant a rich, as the legend goes, toss it behind your back into the water to make sure that you return to Rome. This capital city, is no stranger to tantalizing aromatic and carb packed meals, mainly pasta, pizza, and not q or p or no G, as you might hear it sometimes. In Italian it is Naoki, eaten with red and white sauces topped with fresh Parmesan. Each region in Italy has its favorite ways to eat pasta. In Rome, two classics, IV, carbonara with eggs and punchy data, which is sort of like bacon. And B calculate that day, which is cheese and pepper. In fact, wrong has a museum dedicated entirely to half-step. Route is also a city surrounding another city, or a city surrounding another country. To be more precise. The Vatican City, bordered on all sides by Italy's capital. Vatican City is an independent city-state and less smallest country in the world. The Vatican is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, headed by the Pope, and the spiritual home of Italy's large Catholic population. It's vast Vatican Museums. How's ancient Roman sculptures and Renaissance frescoes? They display the immense collection of sculptures and paintings and gifts amassed by the Catholic Church throughout the centuries. St. Peter's Basilica is a fourth century Renaissance style church built by Emperor Constantine, the Roman Empires, first Christian emperor. And it is the biggest church in the world. St. Peter's Basilica is the spot where St. Peter is thought to be buried, right next door to the renowned Sistine Chapel, the official residence of the Pope, built in 1873. The Sistine Chapel is famous for Michelangelo's in We'll ceiling, a cornerstone work of High Renaissance art. Vatican City has citizens, even though no one is actually born there. There are no hospitals. So the contrary does not give you citizenship based on birthright. If you are born somewhere around there, you are considered to be born in Italy. In fact, citizenship is always temporary, only given to the people who are in direct association with the Catholic Church and work in one of the religious buildings. 8. Italian Food: Italian cuisine as popular around the world, it is generally characterized by being somewhat simple, with most dishes having two to four main ingredients. Italian cooks normally rely on the quality of ingredients, rather than the elaborate preparation. Dishes such as pizza, spaghetti, bolognese, lasagna, and Elisa, though, all come from Italy. The National Food of Italy is the pasta dish that is called an R group, which is a Bolen users saas of meat and tomatoes with dietary lead pastor. Most Italians eat pasta at least once every day. But that doesn't mean that they eat the same thing every day. There are many ways to eat pasta with a variety of different toppings and sauces. You'll never get bored. Italian pasta is renowned worldwide and there are more than 200 different positive shapes. Italian cheese balls made originally from buffalo milk. Lasagna, layered past editions with tomato mozzarella cheese and a minced meat, Philly and gelato. Both the gelato and ice cream use cream, milk, and sugar. But authentic gelato, as compared to ice cream, has more milk, less cream, and no egg yolks. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's actually healthier than ice cream, but it is different. Another famous Italian food, pizza, was invented in Naples in Italy. Pizza is surely one of the most famous exports. And in Italy, it is usually baked in a wood fired oven for around 90 seconds, as it's very thin, but loaded with fresh vegetables are thinly sliced ham, salami, artichokes, olives. There are two classic types of pizza. One topped with a simple red sauce that is called Muddy NACADA or rasa, and topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella. The margarita, or the margarita is named after Queen Margaret IDA. The oldest pizza place opened in Naples in 1738. And we've got beads. Anya, alba started as a street food stand for polar Neapolitan. But since then, it has turned into one of the most popular restaurants in the world. Being featured in films. They take no reservations except maybe for filming movies. So the line often spans for blocks and the weight is easily two to four hours. Pro tip. If you go as a party of one like I did, you can actually get in usually within the hour. 9. Colosseum Introduction: A majestic set of ruins with a gruesome and somewhat flamboyant history. The Colosseum is an oval amphitheater and the center of the Italian capital city of Rome. And the largest ancient amphitheater ever built. Our third wonder of the modern world. The coliseum has drawn visitors worldwide and inspired artists and scientists for centuries. 10. The Flavian Amphitheater & Other Amphitheaters: The Flavian Amphitheater, also known as the Colosseum, was built in the year 70 by Emperor of us bayesian of the Flavian dynasty as a gift to the Roman people. Ten years later. But Bayesians son Titus, premiered the Colosseum with a 100 days of gladiatorial combats and animal fights. The gladiatorial shows were Gaudi demonstrations of both power and prestige. However, they were very popular with the crowds, even though as many as 400 thousand lives were lost during these 400 years of entertainment. After hosting thousands of gruesome games, the majestic arena fell into neglect and was used as a source of building materials up until the 18th century. Two-thirds of the original Colosseum structure has deteriorated through time. But even through years of neglect, the coliseum remains a popular tourist destination and an iconic symbol of the Roman Empire. Located in every corner of the Roman Empire. More than 230 amphitheaters have been found from the massive Colosseum in Rome to the ruins of Chester, England. With Sina or una, was a Roman colony in Tunisia. And its intricate amphitheater held around 16 thousand people, but the ruins are seldom visited. And the Athena amphitheater is an excellent example of how arenas were built into the surrounding hills for a better support system. The Roman arena of RL is one of the most popular tourist attractions in current day Southern France. It was built around the first century BCE, and with three tiers, it was capable of ceding over 20 thousand spectators. Since 1830, this arena has been used for hosting bullfights, which is much debated by the animal rights community, was still enjoyed by the fans. Nonetheless, the arena of a nim was built at the end of the first century in current day France, and seated around 24 thousand people. It was one of the biggest Roman amphitheaters. It was so large that during the Middle Ages, a fortified palace was even built within this amphitheater. 11. Construction Colosseum: Made of stone and concrete. The Colosseum was built as an independent freestanding building. Much to the amazement of worldwide architects who would only dare to build such a structure on the side of a hill or within natural stabilizer. When it was first built, the impressive theatre had three stories with around 80 arched entrance. It's supported by columns. The Colosseum could hold it 50 thousand to 80 thousand spectators, having an average audience of 65 thousand people. In 1349, a massive earthquake struck and the outer south side of the Colosseum was nearly destroyed. In order to not let it go to waste, much of the collapsed stone was re-used as material to help build palaces, churches, and hospitals elsewhere in Rome. By the 20th century with of weathering natural disasters, neglect and even evangelism. Yet another third of the original Colosseum had been destroyed, including the arenas and marbles, seats and decorative elements. Leaving just one last third of the famous Flavian Amphitheater left for the sizable Roman population to enjoy it. I'll mating attraction for tourists from all over the world. Restorations have been ongoing for the past 30 years. And the Colosseum attracts over 7 million visitors per year. 12. Cats Colosseum: Law in Rome allows cats to live without disruption in the place that they were born. Why cats can be found climbing the walls of the Colosseum and sleeping among the ruins of the Roman Forum. Why are cabs everywhere you ask? Because as tourists we are exploring and perhaps dropping some peanuts, dropping sandwich crusts, lettuce bits, salty snacks. After closing, mice appear to help clean up and the caps arrive on the scene just in time for their own midnight snack. Cats with historically help to keep down the spread of disease that could be passed to humans through boots. So people in Rome encouraged the cats to come in around, especially in the touristy areas and markets. They keep everyone safe. 13. Travel Tribe Colosseum Conclusion: One of 230 amphitheaters around the world. The Flavian Amphitheater, traditionally known as the Roman Colosseum or just the Colosseum, had a bloody beginning. But it has become a massive tourist destination, bringing money into Italy from all over the world, especially once it was added to the unesco World Heritage Site List in 1980. Feel free to write down in your travel journal which events you might like to see at the Colosseum, concerts, bullfights, Roman gladiator games. Also. Which other Colossians would you like to visit? 14. Travel Tips Italy: Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. There's so much to see and consider when planning a trip here. So before you pack your bags and indulge in gelato, here are some things to keep in mind. Use public transit or my taxi you to get around. Currently, the only form of Uber that exists in Italy is Uber black. And it is currently only a presence in Rome and the line. Whereas the laws might be changing as a general rule, don't count on using Uber and Italy. My taxi is a great alternative and its app is similar to the restroom, isn't free, hear anything €1 or less is acceptable, but more than that, try to find somewhere else. If you're not used to holding it all day, make a habit of visiting the restroom at any place that you pay for something, especially restaurants, coffee shops, and museums. Monday is generally a terrible day to visit museums. Why? Because most of them are closed, except for the Vatican Museums that is, which are unsurprisingly closed on Sunday instead of on Monday. You can drink from the tap in Italy, suddenly prefer bottled water, but the tap is safe. There are also tiny fountains all over cities like Rome, and that water is also potable. Feel free to take a sip or refill your water bottle here. While it's common to leave a few euros after a meal, servers get paid an actual living wage here and don't survive solely on tips. Therefore, customer service is quite different than what you might be used to. While greeting people is essential. Waitstaff won't hover over your table. You might need to actually waive someone down if you want to refill or when you are ready for the check. Sign. No petitions, never sign anything, no matter what they say, it's for. Smile and walkaway. Take no flowers. If someone hands you a flower, they will try to extort money from you for it. Don't let anyone give me a friendship bracelet. A hugely popular scam and most European countries, someone will come up to you offering a free friendship bracelet as soon as it's tightly tied around your wrist and you can't get it off. It's no longer free. Pockets are everywhere and Italy is no exception. They are WE prevalent in busy train stations, on crowded buses and trains and major touristy areas like churches and the Colosseum. English is the international language of tourism, and that includes in Italy. But everyone in Italy does not speak English. So you should absolutely learn at least a few basic Italian phrases before coming to Italy. And when you're traveling to any country, be patient. If the people are speaking your language, it might be very third or fourth language. So speak slower, smile, and have fun. 15. Travel Tribe Italy Conclusion: Sizzling pizza, sun baked coastlines and olive trees are just some of the many gorgeous parts of this Mediterranean country in the south of Europe. Feel free to jot down what you might do in Italy. Which parts of the country you like to see, which cities you would go to, which Italian foods you would order a thumbnail, many delicious cafes and restaurants. What would you wish for if you throw a coin into one of the timeless Roman fountains, we've been told. Now that you have filled out your travel planner, feel free to share with the class. You're welcome to also post your coloring pages. Thank you for traveling with the travel time for future research. Some of my favorite travel books are a year in Provence by Peter male under the Tuscan Sun by Francis maze, wild by cheryl strayed, CouchSurfing in Iran by Stephen forth. But cat who went to Paris by Peter gathers from future traveling adventure is search, traveled drive in this search bar. The next course in your travel journey is the history and culture of France and an exploration of Germany. I'd day in and I look forward to seeing you at your next Travel Tribe adventure.