Aug. 4, 2014
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Basketball, pizza, pasta, gelato, sightseeing and much more await the University of Notre Dame men's basketball team beginning today (Aug. 5) when it travels to Italy for a 10-day, four-game foreign tour. The Irish are slated to visit Rome, Perugia, Pesaro, Venice and Como during their stay in Italy.
Irish head coach Mike Brey and the Notre Dame traveling party left campus at noon Tuesday and traveled to Chicago's O'Hare Airport for an early-evening flight into Rome. Upon Wednesday morning arrival in the Italian capital, the Irish will visit two ancient Roman landmarks, the Colosseum and Forum, on a guided walking tour. That evening a welcome dinner in Trastevere is on the agenda.
On Thursday (Aug. 7) a guided tour of the Vatican Museum and St. Peter's Basilica highlights the day's activities, along with stops at the Sistine Chapel and the Swiss Guards Barracks. After a late afternoon practice and dinner, the squad will take a walking tour in the Piazza Navona area.
The Irish leave Rome Friday (Aug. 8) to travel to Perugia (102 miles from Rome and 92 miles southeast of Florence), the capital city of the Umbria region in central Italy and a well-known cultural and artistic region. After a walking tour of the city, the Irish will play the Perugia Basket team in Foligno in the first of four games. Immediately following the game, the team will depart for Pesaro, home to the Notre Dame party for two days.
After a day of mostly free time in Pesaro on Saturday (Aug. 9), Notre Dame that evening will play its second game against the Adriatic Sea Tritons. On Sunday (Aug. 10) the Irish will head to Venice for a two-day stay. Along the way, the traveling party will stop in Maranello for a tour of the Ferrari Museum.
A guided tour of Venice highlights the team's activities on Monday (Aug. 11) as the Irish will take in the city's prime attractions, including St. Mark's Basilica, St. Mark's Square and the oldest bridge spanning the Grand Canal, the Rialto Bridge. That night the Irish play the Opitergium Gladiators in Jesolo.
Much of Tuesday (Aug. 12) for the Notre Dame party will be spent wandering Venice before heading to Vicenza for the final game of the tour versus the Vicenza All-Stars. Following that contest the Irish head to Como for their final two days (Aug. 13-14). Brey and his group Thursday will take a boat tour on Lake Como, with stops in the villages of Bellagio and Cadenabbia.
A boat excursion Thursday (Aug. 14) on Lake Maggiore (the country's longest lake and longest by area, extending into Switzerland) will mark the final day in Italy. The Irish party will visit three islands on the lake. The day will end with a farewell dinner in Como.
On Friday (Aug. 15) the Irish party heads home on a 10:25 a.m. flight out of Milan to New York’s JFK Airport, then on to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.
Fans can follow the Fighting Irish tour on twitter @NDMBB using the hashtag #NDMBBItaly. Daily blogs will be posted on UND.com, in addition to game recaps. Megan Bastedo from Fighting Irish Digital Media will provide video footage and interviews throughout the trip.
Notes: Per NCAA rules, college athletic teams are allowed to take a foreign trip every four years. The last time Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey took one of his teams out of the country came in 2008 when the Irish spent 13 days in Ireland.
Following the end of summer school, the Irish players reconvened on campus for practices beginning July 30. That group included Pat Connaughton, the senior Notre Dame swingman who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft by the Baltimore Orioles. Connaughton spent part of June and July pitching for the Aberdeen IronBirds, the Class A Orioles’ affiliate.
Irish Men’s Basketball Game Schedule in Italy
Friday, Aug. 8 (5:30 p.m.) Perugia Basket PalaPaternesi in Foligno
Saturday, Aug. 9 (9 p.m.) Adriatic Sea Tritons Palasport (Hangar) in Pesaro
Monday, Aug. 11 (8 p.m.) Opitergium Gladiators Palasport Cornaro in Jesolo
Tuesday, Aug. 12 (8:30 p.m.) Vicenza All-Stars Palazzetto dello Sport in Vicenza
(all times local in Italy – six hours later than EDT)