A major part of the study abroad experience is the travel. We expect and encourage our students to get out of the villa and into the city of Arezzo, surrounding cities in Italy, and beyond at every oppportunity. Today we checked in with Physical Theatre students Sydney, Eric, Nikk, and Emma on their travel experiences so far in and around Arezzo–scroll down to read more!
Sydney Watt: Physical Theatre, Muhlenberg College PA
The first weekend in a foreign country requires some special acclimation. Still plagued by jet-lag and the kind of neck cramps exclusive to air travel, I was torn between exploring the streets of Arezzo and exploring the sheets of my bed. SIM cards confused me, the metric system seemed vaguely intimidating (kilometres??), and I still didn’t know whether ‘ciao’ meant ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye.’ (Spoiler: it means both.) Fortunately and unfortunately, it’s rather difficult to stay asleep at the Villa once the majority of the students are up and about. Resentfully, I dragged myself to the Mensa for a Nutella and espresso fix. Once there, some of the other students invited me to trek with them to the city’s monthly antique fair. Far more sociable post-chocolate and caffeine, I agreed to join their party.
Arezzo is the kind of scooter-buzzing, gelateria-cluttered city that makes me believe that I, too, could be the star of my very own Lizzie McGuire Movie. That weekend’s fair was set on a picturesque hilltop next to one of the piazzas. Sprawling tents were pitched in a haphazard manner, hosting a variety of knick-knacks. Hand-made jewelry, locally produced paintings, essential oils, old records, out-of-print books, savory street food. I felt as if I was experiencing aevum, angel’s time, and living in both the past and the now. It didn’t take long to piece together a little Italiano… ‘Quanto costa? Mmm, grazie.’
The fair was a terrific introduction to my temporary home. Arezzo is a welcoming city, full of culture and art. It charms its visitors immediately. And the Nutella doesn’t hurt.
Eric Rosenblatt: Physical Theatre, Muhlenberg College PA
This past weekend I went to Florence with my buddy, Yipei. We got a hostel right in the center of town and spent the few days we had walking around and exploring. Every which direction I turned seemed to have something screaming with cultural, artistic, and historical significance. Florence had all this and more, but it also had something else. Something near and dear to my heart: food.
Florence is known for its touristy scene, so Yipei and I made sure of it to find a local restaurant. In other words, we wanted to eat at the most authentically Italian place possible. After about a twenty minute walk, we arrived at the scene. I knew this place wouldn’t fail us the moment I saw the menu… every single item was in Italian. Like I said, as ‘Italian as possible.’ Boy, were we not disappointed.
We even got to talking with Marco and Marcella, the Italian couple sitting at the next table. The way they talked about food made it seem like it was their religion. Marco projected to me, using every gesture imaginable, “Italy is unique to other European countries in its prioritization of food among other comforts. Culture, art, beauty, all of it is reflected in our food.“ If this quote doesn’t make you fall in love with Italy, I don’t know what will. My ultimate goal while in Italy is to become a better performer; to learn and grow as a man, yet I see no fault in eating well along the way.
Nikk Tetreault: Physical Theatre, Muhlenberg College PA
Last weekend my friend and I went out into Arezzo to go to an international food festival. In the center of town there was a circle of food trucks representing different countries. We heard this was an event that happens monthly – I hope that rumor is true, since we need to obtain food during the weekends and this is a great option. We stopped at the Greek food truck and good some awesome food. After we went to get gelato at Paradiso, which I believe to be the superior gelato place in Arezzo. Paradiso has around 20 different flavors as well as yogurt options. Another positive part about going into Arezzo to explore and eat is that I am always able to reach and pass my daily step goal, so I can totally get that extra scoop of gelato and feel nothing but joy.
Emma Peretz: Physical Theatre, Muhlenberg College PA
Walking through Florence
Clouds so full and beautiful
would not have had a day
If it did not pour the day before
Walking across the bridge
where the “illusion” is
sunflowers take over
the white canvas
across the river
so prefer the other side ~ home ~ community
hear la vie en rose playing
for this older couple and they ask him to
an Italian song they ask for
he starts to play a familiar tune
a smile comes to the old man’s face
so full of light
his hands start to dance in the air
to the music of the
familiar Italian tune
his hand reaches for his wife
she takes it
their hands embrace delicately
you can catch a glimpse
of what the old man
and old woman
looked like as young lovers
and if they were young again
he might not have stayed sitting
but took his wife in his arms
and started to dance with her
on the cobblestone alleyway
alongside the lovely accordion player