Dinner with Justice, A Convenient Train Ride, and A Sky Full of Lights

By: Alexandra Braverman (JD/MBA, ’15)

This week’s blog post is about Venice.  More specifically, it’s about the incandescent highlights of the past week that will forever remain in our minds as a series of unfathomable experiences in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

Study abroad students pose with US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Our week began with a visit by United States Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in the midst of the ongoing heat wave.  We had hoped the sun would show some respect in lieu of her arrival, but no such luck. The week’s itinerary featured Justice Ginsburg teaching two of our regularly scheduled classes, giving a public lecture at the Instituto de Veneto, and having dinner with the law students at Casa Artom.  It’s hard to explain the true gravity of her arrival, but I think I speak for everyone when I say it was an absolute privilege.  Justice Ginsburg is a clever, comical woman who it seemed would choose to sit and answer our questions until dark, had time permitted.  She was careful and thoughtful with every word, yet she managed to exude a benevolent energy that revealed what life could be like if someday we too love our jobs.  The various lectures featured personal life at the Supreme Court, the Court’s upcoming cases for next term, and the running joke-tally among the Justices (P.S. apparently Scalia is winning.)  Her departure came all too quickly and brought with it a slew of Facebook posts by the law students, which were justified only by the natural bragging rights granted after spending an entire week in Venice with Justice Ginsburg.

Weaved between the excitement, many of us also found time to take day trips to the nearby places of interest.  This week the students visitedVerona, Cinque Terre (the Italian Riviera Verona, Cinque Terre (the Italian Riviera), and further explored the pockets of Venice that had been previously overlooked. Our weekly morning classes leave ample amount of time for day trips, weekend trips, and afternoon explorations, which is perfect considering how close we are to some of the best locations.  For example, fair Verona is only an hour and a half away from Venice by train, and St. Mark’s square is about a 10-minute walk from where our classes are held.  Although Venice is an exciting and diverting city, the early afternoons find most of us partaking in a much-needed, heat-induced naptime.  Never too old, right? Despite these momentary rests and our progressing infatuation with gelato, life in Venice is anything but dull.

In fact, this weekend was chock full of camaraderie, laughter, and the most stunning firework display any of us had ever seen.  Saturday night marked the beginning of the Festa del Redentore, Venice’s biggest summer festival celebrating the end of the Plague in 1576.  In truth, Redentore is presently celebrated by a massive party in the streets.  The wine was flowing, the food was abundant, and everyone (Yes, including Justice Ginsburg) gathered in their respective places of party to watch the show.  At 11pm, Italian and American students combined joined the rest of Venice on the stone Redentore fireworks displaywalkways of the Giudecca to watch the wondrous display. Although we hate to admit it, the Redentore fireworks were better than most of us have ever seen during our twenty-three or so fourth of Julys.  The flower-like lights exploded in the sky for an entire hour, as we made room for our newfound friends and passed around the celebratory Prosecco. When the sky finally went dark, we walked home arm-in-arm, face full of smiles and hearts alight at another extraordinary week in Venice.



Alexandra Braverman is a candidate in the joint JD/MBA program at WFU Law and will graduate in 2015.   She is currently participating in the summer Venice  program. She is one of three WFU Law J.D. student bloggers writing about her study abroad experience.

Check out the following videos about the WFU Summer Study Abroad program in Venice!