• Food and Footsteps: Impressions of Life in Italy

    by  • February 16, 2016 • Undergraduate Programs • 0 Comments

    This week, our undergraduate bloggers have gotten creative and used multiple modes of communication to reflect on their experience thus far. Read on to see Sam’s salacious sonnet about the mensa, Emily E-I’s tips for surviving a wild boar encounter, Hannah’s meticulous footstep calculations, Leah’s lilting poem about the nature of travel, and Emily P’s restaurant review!

    Sam Barksdale: Physical Theatre (Boston University, MA)

    Is It Dinner Yet?

    Some pasta would be fine to fill the mouths
    Of hungry, gathered dozens at the doors
    To Mensa, closed, to keep the rabble out
    While final preparations are enforced.
    The sweaty, swearing, swelling populace
    That masses in a muddy, messy queue
    Waiting, watching, wishing for a space
    In front of those in front who want the food.
    The clock is ever ticking, clicking down.
    The patience of the crowd is growing thin.
    The gluttons of the villa ever loud,
    Impatient for the treasures hid within.
    And with a cheer the doors are opened wide,
    Inviting all the animals inside.


    Emily Eldridge-Ingram: Physical Theatre (Boston University, MA)

    This cinghiale collage is dedicated to the ultimate world travel cinghiale, Sean McCoy, and everyone at ADA living the cinghiale lifestyle. The cinghiale are an important part of life here, from singing about them to tracking them to eating them.

    Tips for surviving a cinghiale encounter:

    1. First snap a pic so you can gram it later for proof of an actual encounter.
    2. Start running! Cinghiale love to play tag and this will show your fun-loving spirit allowing you to get on their good side.
    3. If this doesn’t work try to scare them away.
    4. Start to demonstrate your advanced tap dancing moves (cinghiale are scared of tap dancers).
    5. Add in some yodeling (they are also terrified of yodeling).
    6. Disregard this list in actual event of an encounter.

    blogpic1Hannah Donoghue: Physical Theatre (Muhlenberg College, PA)

    I love Arezzo, but sometimes it can feel like it is hours away from the Villa. I decided that on Saturday I would figure out just how far it was. Using my Fitbit this is what I found out:
    2,938 steps
    32:17 minutes
    1.62 miles
    248 calories
    To get from the Villa to the train station. And this is only one way.

    On the weekend the Mensa (our kitchen) shuts down. This means that every weekend I make this walk at least once, usually I make it four times. This weekend I went in on Friday to Spazio Seme, a local theatre, to the Coastal Carolina University Students (they are here for a yearlong physical theatre program) perform a show. After that a group of us walked to Mr. Blooms. Blooms is a local bar. We all ordered drinks and separate desserts (I got the torta di Pistacchio and a spritz) It was delicious. It was then that we made the 2,938 step trek back to the Villa.

    On Saturday, I took a day trip to Perugia. This again involved walking 2,938 steps. The saddest part of that day was running up the platform, just to see the train we had planned on taking leave the station. We had missed it by 20 seconds. However, we took the next one an hour later so all was fine! Perugia was beautiful. We mainly walked around. We did have incredible pizza there. When we walked into the restaurant you could tell it was going to be good because it had about 13 tables and all locals were eating there. We were right, it was amazing.

    We returned to Arezzo at 6:45 pm and went to Conad, one of the grocery stores in Arezzo to grab some things. We were done by 7 pm. However, none of the dinner places open till at least 7:30 pm if not 8 pm. We decided to walk around Arezzo till then and ended up in a libreria (bookstore). I wanted to get a book in Italian so I could continue to work on my Italian. I figure why not got to the children’s section and get a picture book. I ended up getting two Italian Scooby-Do books and a more advanced book that I also own in English. I want to struggle through the Italian and then read the English and see what I missed.

    blogpic3At 7:30 pm we went to the most AMAZING ristorante I have been to so far. It was a local, family owned place called Trattoria Mazzoni. Our cameriere (waiter) Marco was so kind and spoke a tiny bit of English. However, it is important to point out that we try to only speak Italian everywhere we go. The locals really seem to appreciate it and they try to teach us and help us when we fail. Anyway I got the most amazing bruschetta for my antipasto and ravioli con norcino (I believe that’s what it was called) and a liter of vino bianco della casa (house white wine) I left full and happy. I will go back whenever I can! This is definitely going to be my go-to restaurant. Of course after we went to get gelato because we always have room for gelato. My favorite combo is Kinder and mascarpone gelato. So good! Then we made the trek back.

    The most incredible day though had to be Sunday. Emily P. and I go to mass every Sunday no matter where we are. Two weeks ago we went to the Duomo in Arezzo and worshiped with maybe 30 other people inside this gigantic cathedral. However, this Sunday was completely different. It was the Fest della Madonna del Conforto in Arezzo. The Madonna had been brought to the cathedral on Saturday and the Bishop of Arezzo, if not the bishop of a larger area was doing the service. When we walked in there were at least 400 people if not more and about 12 priests doing the service. It was incredible. I am Presbyterian. For me it has been interesting to attend Catholic mass in a place where I don’t understand the language. I find myself watching the ritual of it all and finding ways to incorporate my own beliefs and worship into the things I do not understand. This was also the first time I heard a choir sing in one of these amazing churches. It was incredible. The way the sound resonated and carried was magnificent.

    On top of that Sunday was Carnevale. A festival where people get dressed up and parades and parties happen. I was walking around town later by myself when I stumble upon a band. They were all dressed up in costumes, people were dancing, some people looked like donkeys, there were extremely large puppets, and people on stilts. It was really cool to stumble upon. After that I ate dinner at this place called Crepe de Lune. I got a crepe with Prosciutto, eggplant and cheese. It was good. Then got some gelato and returned home to the villa.

    Over the whole weekend, just counting the walk into or out of town, I walked:
    23,504 steps
    12.96 miles
    1,984 calories
    And that is just walking into and out of town. It doesn’t include all the places we went in town. While it is a lot of walking, and it can be hard to convince myself to leave the Villa, I never regret it once I have started walking. Also, the walk gets easier every time I do it!


    Leah Krokowski: Dance (Colorado State University, CO)

    Pictured: Leah Krokowski

    Pictured: Leah Krokowski

    Wasting waters sit still
    Through what came in short seconds
    Seconds turned into hours
    And told me of the future
    I, will hold such a truth to this
    And call a name of travel

    Where is it that I have gone?
    Cities and smiles look alike
    Now is all I have
    To encompass the rendering of time
    And encounter entities
    Through dreaming eyes

    Papers and plastics and metal
    Wood you call this a fantasy?
    Presents present in memories
    Possessions pass by my mind
    Like a rocking baby in no time

    I’ll call on what I don’t know
    And guess based on actions of others
    If there may be a maybe
    It be me waiting patiently
    On different smiles and different laughs
    Of those who sit still

    Still as the water
    Underneath, you can be found
    Here is where you can call on instinct
    Not a home
    Not a place
    But a second of compressed callings
    To a future you

    And although the moonlight sparkles on those eyes
    Or scents of gents, remembrance
    It all settles just as the water would

    Grandfathers and mothers and brothers
    Missing these memories
    Blind I can be to the happiness
    Contentment seeks abyss of kiss
    Pitter patter, goes the rain

    I feel the wind on my face
    The same as it would be
    But different, somehow

    Where I am now is where I’ll always be
    My heart in Italy


    Emily Peiffer: Physical Theatre (Coastal Carolina University, SC)



    *This family owned restaurant has the best Italian food I have ever had. You can taste the flavor combinations tickle every taste bud, and combine perfectly in your mouth. For the amount of food and flavor that hits you, you would think the prices would be outrageous. Think again! Not only is the food five star quality, but you can also enjoy a three-course meal under 30 Euro. This amazing restaurant doesn’t stop at the savory meal. The atmosphere radiates with a welcoming energy the moment you step in the door. Marco or Alessandro greets you with a kind, warm smile as they seat you. You do your best to order in your broken Italian, and they kindly and patiently help you through it. The best part of the meal, however, is when little 2 year-old Natalia peaks her head around a table and shyly gazes at you while you eat. The food, the atmosphere, and the experience of Trattoria Mazzoni is one of a kind, and will be the highlight of any weekend excursion.


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