I’m Reena and I am from Reno, Ne-
vada. I am a self-ordained artist and
mountain advocate, a reader of books,
a lover of b...
Vivere: Within the Walls		 28 giugno 2014
By Virginia Pedigo
BAM!! Someone has kicked me in
the gut, straight on, no thoug...
Vivere: Within the Walls		 28 giugno 2014
It is this automatic comfort and the
feeling of safety that make a tempo-
rary p...
By Reena Spansail
I gasped as Mani flipped the vodka
bottle behind his shoulder and caught
it at the very last second to c...
By Emma Lynge
The Spaghetteria looks unassuming
and small from the front door. It
has hardly any window space, and
seems s...
By Danielle Starkey
The wines of Tuscany -- especially
those made from the Sangiovese grape
-- are renowned throughout the...
briefly diminished: we were already
enthralled by the scenery and felt
confident that our wine-tasting adven-
ture would c...
By Lauren Matheny
The journey to Burano, a tiny island
in the Venetian lagoon, is not for the
faint of heart nor stomach. ...
By Trevor Smith
Globalization: the process of devel-
oping to make possible international
influence or operation. A nasty ...
By Tyler Mahannah
If you find yourself roaming the
streets of Viterbo, Italy, on a Sun-
day afternoon with no motivation o...
By Virginia Pedigo
Sweat was dripping down the small
of my back. Scratch that; sweat was
dripping everywhere. People had
w...
By Noah Gass
When you think of hamburgers most
people think of a big greasy juicy
burgers being grilled on a smoky char
gr...
By Morgan Lauer
It is nearly 8 p.m. and a glimpse of an
orange glow seeping behind the terra-
cotta rooftops of Viterbo ap...
Vivere: Within the Walls		 28 giugno 2014
By Lauren Matheny
The piece of loose-leaf paper on
which I’d detailed all the si...
Vivere: Within the Walls		 28 giugno 2014
particular restaurant offered only five
options of pasta, all sounding fresh. I
...
Vivere: Within the Walls		 28 giugno 2014
By Giovanna Nebbio
When one plans to visit Italy every-
one is happy to share ad...
Vivere: Within the Walls		 28 giugno 2014
By Natalie Sprigg
Food is an essential part to
life.  Without it, no living crea...
Vivere: Within the Walls		 28 giugno 2014
It’s all about gelato
I’m ordering a gelato limone on a whim in the lit-
tle gel...
Vivere: Within the Walls		 28 giugno 2014
“Dry and chewy like beef jerky but
with a subtle ham flavor. Salted, but
not ove...
Vivere: Within the Walls		 28 giugno 2014
By Jackie Tourin
It reeked, but I was desperate. After
nine hours on a plane any...
Vivere: Within the Walls		 28 giugno 2014
card with no return option, I began to
feel a sense of homesickness for the
fact...
By Giovanna Nebbio
“Venti, quad shot, soy, caramel ma-
chiatto, with extra caramel on the cup,
iced” is a common drink one...
Vivere: Within the Walls		 28 giugno 2014
compared to our Starbucks iced coffee, which is
just coffee with ice poured on t...
Vivere: Within the Walls		 28 giugno 2014
By Trevor Smith
Pizza, pasta, and gelato, the Ital-
ian creations that most peop...
Vivere: Within the Walls		 28 giugno 2014
the country side out doors, traveling aboard
does not have to lead you down a pa...
Vivere: Within the Walls		 28 giugno 2014
By Reena Spansail
My eyes strayed like hungry alley
cats to the lump of pink rub...
Vivere: Within the Walls		 28 giugno 2014
that covered the Virgin’s anatomically
impossible lap. These were things that
I,...
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Viterbo italy 2014

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U.S. students at the University Studies Abroad Consortium program in Viterbo, Italy, write about their summer adventures in Italy, 2014.

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Viterbo italy 2014

  1. 1. I’m Reena and I am from Reno, Ne- vada. I am a self-ordained artist and mountain advocate, a reader of books, a lover of beauty, and a most enthu- siastic eater of food. I am currently studying art and English literature at the University of Nevada, Reno. I aspire to be an educator and a happy person for the rest of my days. Hello, my name is Virginia Pedigo and I am a 20-year-old pre-medical student from Jacksonville, Florida. I am a fairly simple person with simple desires – gelato, pasta and adventure. I’m Emma Lynge, 21 years old, from Pittsford, N.Y. In my life, I’ve been swimming with sharks, camping in the mountains, and hiking around Cos- ta Rica. The most exciting thing I’ve ever done, though, is this USAC trip to Viterbo, Italy. I’m an adventurous English major and art history minor from Goucher College. I’m addicted to scribbling down stories and reading big, chunky, fantasy books, as well as updating my blog. Hopefully, one day I’ll get something published. Hi! I’m Morgan Lauer, a 20-year-old student from Pleasantville, Iowa. I attend the University of Iowa where I study health and human physiology. I love to be outdoors, and I enjoy run- ning and any type of adventure. This is my first visit to Italy and I can’t say enough about Italian gelato. Ciao, mi chiamo Trevor. I study po- litical science and economics at the University of Cincinnati. If you didn’t know, that’s on the southern border of Ohio. In my spare time, when I’m not saving the world, I’m juggling a million other hobbies like student government and residential life. My name is Jaclyn Tourin, but I often go by Jackie. I am a 20-year-old stu- dent from the University of Nevada, Reno. I am a speech pathology major hoping to build my career to work with children with disabilities. I have a thirst for travel and adventure and I plan to quench this thirst throughout my life. Ciao! My name is Natalie Sprigg and I am 20 years old. I live in Reno, Nevada. I am majoring in commu- nity health science while prepping for my doctorate in physical therapy and minoring in nutrition. I love the outdoors, mainly skiing, swimming, camping and hiking. I’m Danielle Starkey and I was born in Los Angeles. I have a B.A. in English from U.C. Berkeley and a master’s in journalism from Northwestern. I love to travel; favorite places so far are Buenos Aires and the Dolomites. I also love hiking, snowboarding, and tennis but am capable of being content while sedentary, especially while enjoying good food, theater and conversation. I’m Lauren Matheny, a BFA acting major and English minor at Oklahoma City University. I will be entering my senior year this fall. I am the web ed- itor at OCU campus publications and an editor of The Scarab, OCU’s literary publication. When not writing up a storm, I enjoy playing outside, reading, practicing hot yoga and baking gour- met desserts. Ciao, my name is Noah Gass and I am from Knoxville, Tennessee. I study journalism at Middle Tennessee State University. After I graduate, I plan on getting a job traveling and writing for publication. I’m Tyler Mahannah, 24, from Reno, Nevada. I’m a history student at the University of Nevada, Reno, who’s interested in Italian history and lan- guage. This is my first time in Italy or Europe. Ciao! My name is Giovanna Nebbio. I am from Monterey Bay, California but was born and raised in the heart of California’s Central Valley. I am a third year writing and rhetoric major, minoring in American Sign Language. I am easygoing and love dogs! Vivere -- Within the Walls Staff writers from Summer 2014 -- Italy Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014
  2. 2. Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014 By Virginia Pedigo BAM!! Someone has kicked me in the gut, straight on, no thoughts of “To kick or not to kick?” entering their mind. I kneel over to try to ease the pain, but it persists. It twists my already knotted stomach and I force myself to breath, to try to relax. But my attacker is relentless. He leaves and then reappears out of nowhere, as if Floo Powder is his primary means of travel. However, I am in Florence and I have no time for him. I am here only for the weekend before I return back to Viterbo, a small Italian town about three hours south of where I currently stand. If I miss seeing the Duomo or the David or the gelato because of him, there will be consequences. I do not know how food poisoning, my obstinate foe, found me this week- end. All I understand is that I want to get back home, where I’m studying abroad in central Italy. I want to lie on my brick of a bed and eat my bran cereal and attempt conversation with my perfectly lovely Italian roommate, Valentina. This may sound unglam- orous to most, but to me it represents peace and comfort. Home has not always been Viterbo. In fact, I have only been in Italy for about three weeks, with three more to go until I fly over the Atlantic pond back to the reality of my life. And yet, during this long weekend away, first in Siena and then in Florence, I do not crave for my bed in the U.S. or the oatmeal I religiously consume every morning there. I simply want Viterbo. How is it that this alien small town feels like home already, after only three very short weeks? Viterbo is not like Rome or Florence or Venice; it is another Italy altogether. It does not have the GO! GO! GO! attitude that larger cities tend to pos- sess. The central portion of the town is enclosed within medieval walls, walls that have experienced more than the most audacious explorer could dream of. The streets are cobblestoned and hilly. They lend themselves to getting lost, one of my favorite features. Many times I have found myself thinking I should have eaten a bigger lunch because I may well be stuck out on this long forgotten Etruscan pathway for at least two days, minimum. But then I wander some more, going in and out of homey piazzas, passing by fountains gushing cool, clear, arsenic laden water, and as I blink I am back in familiar territory. Viterbo lets you get lost, but it also lets you get back. It is a sympathetic labyrinth. I think that falling in love with Viterbo is easy. The walls hug you upon arrival, wait for you when you leave, and kiss you when you return. For example, group of students from my study abroad program experienced a particularly stressful yet wonderful weekend adventure, filled with train stop drama, hostel miscommunica- tions, and the threat of sleeping on the streets looming too close for comfort. The group went from one disaster to the next, taking it all in stride, but exhausting themselves in the process. At the end of their weekend, all they wanted was to be back in Viterbo, where they felt safe. They wanted to know that they were not going to be kicked out of their beds in the middle of the night and interrogated. There is no one to question them about why they are here and what they are doing. Falling in love with Viterbo Photo by Virginia Pedigo
  3. 3. Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014 It is this automatic comfort and the feeling of safety that make a tempo- rary place feel like a permanent home. And yet, what always gets me is how quickly it happens. One minute you are in the airport crying, thinking to yourself, “Why in the world did I do this? Stupid, stupid, stupid.” And then before you know it, a creamy cannoli is in your mouth and you never want to leave. A person can spend their entire life trying to fit in and belong in one place. But when our situation changes we adapt right along with it, as if we were chameleons as oppose to the stubborn two-legged creatures we quite evidently are. I think this is a strength of humanity: move locations, find a new home, feel safe, be happy. This is the procession we strive for. Traveling while traveling is a unique opportunity to have. It is a special experience to explore unchartered territory while still having a home base in a foreign land. Home is not an easy word. It is not as easily defined as “mac and cheese” or “clown” or “bed.” It is not always tangible, not lending itself to be felt and probed. It is elusive and it is particular. I would say that a person often does not find her home until she leaves it, but that would be cliché. This summer I have been thinking on the idea of finding a home away from home. What happens when you are displaced, detached, disconnected? Your world is kicked off kilter and you are forced to find a new, albeit temporary, home. Humans make a new home because they have to. We feel an intrinsic pull and sequentially attach a piece of ourselves to a place. By this act, we feel centered, we feel still. This act is not out of choice, but of necessity. So this summer, why not tilt your world? Travel to Antarctica, hike your way up Mt. Everest, take a chance on a new experience and embrace every minute of it. It is okay to leave your bubble for a while and explore some- place new. Be home, but above all, be alive. By Reena Spansail The pads of my feet were blistering, my neck was sticky with mid-day heat, and my sandpaper lips rubbed together painfully as I mumbled “Water…Vino…birra. God, any- thing.” Tyler, my companion on this trudge, nodded meekly, and then his face and spine brightened. “Look! A bar!! We are saved!” We stumbled into Il Bar Mediovelo, the only place open during the dol- drums of pauso pranzo on a Tuesday, and immediately asked for water. When asked if that was all, I began to nod, but then shook my head. Why not treat myself after such a climb? I scanned the menu, and went out on a whim-limb and confident- ly ordered a “cappuccino freddo” (a cold cappuccino). The barkeep cocked her head like a small quizzi- cal dog, and looked at me as if I was a particularly exotic bird with horns and furry feet. “Che cosa?” It’s on the menu! I gesticulated madly, but, clearly, no Italian in their right mind would ever order such sacrilegious drink. Eventually, she understood my strange request and gave me exactly what I had asked for: an espresso with cold milk on top of it, doctored up with some nutmeg and cinnamon, which she had added at the last minute in a kind attempt to educate me on the proper way to consume coffee. My partner, a more sensible person, had ordered cheep and cheerful wine, which I took a drag of as we sat down to wipe the sweat from our bodies and regain our strength. Or not. “Parlez-vous francais?” A mangled and giggly voice drifted over to us from the corner of the bar, where a slumped man struggled to stand. I hadn’t even noticed this mass in my attempt to obtain cold coffee, but I certainly noticed him now. No, no we didn’t speak French. We are American, sorry. Nothing to see here. I soon learned that there was noth- ing quite as persistent as a drunk Frenchman, for he proceeded to have a very one-sided conversation with us about the merits of Cleine Dion, who was crooning behind him on a flickering screen. Celine Dion is the very best! The most sexy! Oh yes, si, oui, Celine can sing! We awkwardly heaped praises upon the Canadian stick insect as we went to pay our bill. Alas! The language barriers had sprung up once again, and this time they had spikes, a moat, and a fire- breathing dragon. We attempted to pay the €11.60 that we owed (according to the small green numbers on the cash register) but our bar tender was having none of it. She kept jabbing at our coins, and then at the door, urging us to leave. We apologized profusely and walked out the door with our heads hung and our tails low. I took out my Italian phrasebook as I walked to- ward downtown, determined to learn what the word was that she had kept repeating. Sconto. Sconto means… discount. The poor, wonderful wom- an had attempted to show us pity and Italian hospitality but we hadn’t the knowledge, or grace to accept them. For the nth time on this trip, I was thrown by the goodwill of others, which ran contrary to my pessimistic views regarding the state of human- ity. So, next time you feel despair for our species, go order a drink in a foreign language. It will be the best antidote to the poison of pessimism. Celine Dion & una bevanda Italiana
  4. 4. By Reena Spansail I gasped as Mani flipped the vodka bottle behind his shoulder and caught it at the very last second to control the flow of liquid into the blender. Two short electric bursts, a slice of pineap- ple, and one strawberry later, there it was: the pink-olada (not to be confused with its creamy and more boring cous- in, the piña colada). I stammer out an imperfectly pronounced “grazie mille,” too which Mani replies in nearly per- fect English; “It’s no problem. I love making the new drinks.” Mani is everything a bartender should be, and his theatre – Due Righe Bar* (known to locals as Book Bar) -- is everything and more you could ask of a thirst parlor. Mani looks like a character conjured up by a struggling screen writer: long, lion-like red hair, mischievous eyes, tattoos aplenty, and a wardrobe consisting of several Amer- ican rock band concert t-shirts paired with wrinkled waistcoats. The bar is equally as charming and hip, with the famed ‘books” arranged sporadically on milk-carton shelves, the drinks display gleaming with blue neon, and the outside patio drooping under the weight of 50 shades of green. Now, lest you think otherwise, this is no American hipster bar. Perhaps its atmosphere and creative “mixologist” had you thinking it was the newest youthful sin parlor, but no. Book Bar is located in the heart of Viterbo’s medieval district (Via Macel Major, 3) in central Italy. This is no spot on a pub-crawl route, but rather a star in Viterbo’s night scene. It caters not to disenfranchised young men with full beards, but rather to grannies, couples, friends, dogs and even its own scraggly bar cat, who will lap out of unattended glasses. This bar is a typical Italian third space, where anyone and every- one can graze the impressive aperitivo spread, listen to great American dance music, and watch their fellows eat, drink, and be merry. What truly sets Book Bar apart from its peers here in Viterbo is not its aperitivo, though, with meats, risotto, grilled veggies, and penne salad, it’s nothing to sneeze at. It is not the bar’s fabulous local, domestic, and international beers on tap, nor even Mani’s “special” drinks that he will conjure up upon request. No, what makes Book Bar an absolute must-visit place in Viterbo is its open arms. It takes the Italian hospitality mantra of good food, good wine, and many merry friends and practices it every single night. Whether you are American, Bangladeshi, Martiniquais, or Brazilian, your order will be taken, your drink served promptly and prop- erly, and over the course of the eve- ning, your story will be heard. Book Bar gathers those who are wandering in mind or body and gives them a home, if only for a night, in the heart of a city over 3,000 years old. Come for the wine, come for Mani’s tattoos, and come for the opportunity to linger for hours and hours without pressure to pay the bill or find a date. Come to experience the Viterboesse way of life: slow, savored, and color- ful, just like a pink-ocolada. Book Bar -- +39 0761 330831 DeRigheBooksBar@libero.it Book Bar turns new pages Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014
  5. 5. By Emma Lynge The Spaghetteria looks unassuming and small from the front door. It has hardly any window space, and seems squeezed between boutiques in the shopping district, easily overlooked. Once you pass into the restaurant you realize how roomy this little gem is. It tunnels cozily into the depths of the building, and you realize just how many people it can seat. After being greeted by a waitress in singsong, bubbly Italian, a group of five friends and I were ushered to a table in the main dining room. The lighting in the main dining room is soft and low, falling over the shoulders of the people seated from the twinkling lights entwined in the decorative branches overhead. It gives the entire atmosphere a some- what floating feel. If you’ve heard the words “La Spaghetteria” in Viterbo, they have probably been followed closely by the phrase “300 different types of pasta,” or “Guiness Book of World Records.” Despite having such a claim, this restaurant has none of the trappings of a tourist’s den— there are no showy pictures adorn- ing the window outside, no glossy photographs inside the menus depicting carefully arranged dishes. It’s much homier than it has any right to be. The menu is overwhelming, it’s true: clocking in at, yes, over 300 types of delicious and exciting pasta dishes, you almost need to create a running list in your head of your top picks before narrowing it down. Among the many ingredients mixed into our plates of pasta were the likes of caviar, asparagus, several different kinds of meat, whiskey, pumpkin flowers, and more tradi- tional elements like red sauce and cream. It’s not often that being over- whelmed by food is a good thing, but here, it definitely is. I have been to the Spaghetteria twice, and each time ordered a plate of pasta that I loved for only 9 euros. The portions are much more manageable here than in an American restaurant—it won’t leave you swimming in noo- dles, but you will most definitely get your fill. Somehow each visit I seemed to eat the last possible bite I could manage, and found my plate empty of noodles—the perfect portion. My friends and I ordered a bottle of their Pietra Luna red wine, which you should be sure to try should you ever spend an evening there. Though no wine aficiona- do, I was extremely pleased by its warmth and richness, fruity and yet not too tart. It is the perfect com- plement to a hearty plate of creamy, saucy carbs. For the bold and gutsy foodies out there, the menu also has several “surprise dishes” secreted away on random pages. It is just another way to add spice to your already flavor- ful evening. Buon appetito! La Spaghetteria Via Saffi 61, 01100 Viterbo, Italy +39 (0)761 346053 https://www.facebook.com/ pages/Spaghetteria-La-Cantinel- la/60384263593 12:30-2:45 p.m.; 7:30-11 p.m. Noodle novelties in perfect proportions Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014 Why I travel By Danielle Starkey Rarely is anything as soul-killing as routine. When we operate with our senses numb we don’t hear, see, smell or taste our world. Travel puts us on edge: we are alert to our surroundings, we learn how other people are different from us, and we learn how other places are dif- ferent from our familiar setting. Our bodies are alert and therefore most alive. We aren’t already at “B” on a trip from A to B, just waiting as time passes. We may as well be sitting still then. When we travel we experience risk — sometimes manageable, but sometimes with real danger attached. Nothing forces us to feel more alive than when we are faced with choic- es and what lies behind all doors is unknown. Mostly we travel to be most alive and to learn about ourselves as we experience wonder. The truest joy comes when we open ourselves to life and nothing does that more than trav- el except, perhaps, falling in love.
  6. 6. By Danielle Starkey The wines of Tuscany -- especially those made from the Sangiovese grape -- are renowned throughout the world. Tuscany itself, with its gently rolling hills cloaked with silvery-green olive trees, regal cypress trees rising like church spires, medieval hilltop villag- es made of caramel-colored stone and, of course, acres of vineyards, offers a nearly ideal wine-tasting experience. Napa Valley may have its Castello di Amorosa, a winery styled after 13th century castles but built a quarter cen- tury ago, but Tuscany has real castles and many other buildings constructed in the Middle Ages. One is the Abbey of Sant’Antimo, a Romanesque church dating from the 12th century, which welcomes visitors and is a meeting point for hikers. The three of us -- Deidre and I from California and Judy from Michigan -- were taking a weekend break from our studies in Viterbo and had rent- ed a car to avoid navigating bus and train schedules which ultimately will get you from here to there but with as much as a day between connections with a bit of walking thrown in. Hav- ing the flexibility of a car also allowed us to stay at one of the many agrituris- mi (working farms that offer lodging ranging from the rustic to divine) that would be impossible to get to other- wise without a bicycle or lots of time. Travelers willing to part with more cash can sign up for group or custom tours. Driving in Italy was far less daunt- ing than we at first thought it would be. Drivers are generally careful and courteous and the only real challenges we encountered were finding our way out of Viterbo (for which we ultimate- ly relied upon voice-directed GPS because the city’s budget apparently stops short of providing street signs) and staying alert to take the correct turns on the spidery, two-lane coun- try roads to get to our destination of Montalcino, which is 20 miles south of Siena. Because the roads have no shoulder, a small number of bicyclists and joggers shared the road with us and I envied their slower mode of travel that allowed them to drink in the views and pause for photos. There was no such thing as a scenic overlook pull-out for cars; in fact, if we ever missed a turn, we often had to go 3 or 4 minutes down the road before we saw a place to turn around. Three miles shy of Montalcino, the medieval hilltop village that is in the heart of this region, we spied a winery with several cars in the parking lot. We found some workers and in stuttering Italian asked about doing a tasting. A woman replied in clear English that the winery was closed, as would be most wineries on Saturdays and Sundays. Our enthusiasm was only Tasting Tuscany – a bit of brunello in Montalcino Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014 Winemaker Roberto Nannetti from the Croce di Mezzo winery in Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy, turns his sangiovese grapes into the rare and beloved Brunello di Montalcino.
  7. 7. briefly diminished: we were already enthralled by the scenery and felt confident that our wine-tasting adven- ture would continue when we found another, perhaps larger, winery that would be open. We hadn’t called ahead or planned a specific route. Instead, we all favored heading in the general direction of Montalcino and stopping wherever we fancied. This seemed reasonable as there are upwards of 200 wineries in the vicinity of Montalcino and more in the Chianti region, which is the wine zone just to the north between Siena and Florence. In any case, we’d all been much too busy to do any serious planning although Deidre was very knowledgeable about wines and taught us about the Brunello di Montalcino, the region’s specialty. Unlike in Napa Valley, where some 400 wineries produce about 110 mil- lion bottles from more than three doz- en wine grape varieties (with Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay grapes the most widely planted), in this region of Tuscany the principal wine produced is made exclusively from Sangiovese grapes, specifically the Sangiovese Grosso. It wasn’t always this way: Ferruccio Biondi-Santi (whose family name still is associated with one of Montalcino’s best Brunello-producing estates) star- tled the local populace some 130 years ago when he began producing wine only from the Sangiovese grape, a de- parture from fermenting several grape varieties at the same time, including even whites. Today, to retain the clas- sification Brunello di Montalcino, the wine must be 100% Sangiovese grapes (unlike Chianti, which requires 80% Sangiovese grapes). The grapes can be grown no higher than 600 meters in el- evation (1968 feet). Also, the Brunello di Montalcino must be aged at least four years and spend at least half that time in oak. (Chianti is generally aged 4-7 months, although the Riservo is aged 38 months or more). In the 1990s, a new classification -- Rosso di Montalcino -- was introduced to let vintners in the Montalcino region release their wines after just one year of aging; consequently, the Rosso is less expensive than the Brunello di Montalcino. Fortunately, not all wineries are closed on weekends as we would soon learn and for anyone who doesn’t have a car, many enotecas in the village of Montalcino are open in the morning and late afternoon, closing -- as does much of the rest of Italy -- during the pausa pranzo, or extended lunch that lasts from about 1 to 5 pm. We got back in the car and climbed to the top of the hill to Montalcino, which is visible for many miles be- cause of its fortress, built in 1361 and free to enter (but 3.5 euros to climb and walk the ramparts). We parked on a narrow, cobbled street in the tiny city center (warning: unless you are willing to pay $117 for a parking ticket, figure out the parking signs), and didn’t have to go far to find the first of at least two dozen enotecas in town. The tasting rooms are clearly geared to the tourist trade, even if they close for most of the afternoon. The server is behind a counter at which there might be 3 or 4 open bottles of  wine to taste. Tasting is free and there is no pressure to buy anything. Not everyone spoke English, but that is not an impediment if you want to simply try the wine. If you seek more complex information they will try to answer your questions with body lan- guage supplementing the spoken word. Happy with our purchases (we didn’t buy the most delicious Brunello di Montalcino we tried because at 100 euros, it was well over anyone’s budget), we headed to our agritur- ismo located just a couple of miles from Montalcino and, after taking an evening swim to cool off and a walk on the country roads nearby to delight in the fireflies in the fields, we went to bed looking forward to a second day of learning about Italy’s heritage and culture through its garnet colored beverage and the people who share our love of it. Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014
  8. 8. By Lauren Matheny The journey to Burano, a tiny island in the Venetian lagoon, is not for the faint of heart nor stomach. I arrived at Stazione Roma, the Venetian bus station, fresh-faced and camera-laden, but quickly realized that a direct trip to Burano is a pleasant fiction from the guidebooks. The Burano water bus first tooled slowly through the Venetian lagoon, wandering around the edges as motor boats and water taxis sped through the open water. I looked at them jealously as we pulled up to our first stop, half an hour into the trip, on the island of Murano. The renowned glass furnac- es of this island were packed with tourists; most of our fellow passengers wandered off as my group waited for our next boat in the sweltering sun. I began to wonder if this trip could possibly be worthwhile, but before we could dip into the port-side café for a sip of cool vino, our boat had arrived. This second water bus carried us through more lagoon, now dotted by reedy little inlets. Forty five minutes were spent wafting my face with a guidemap and gazing back at the Ve- netian horizon. I was looking behind when suddenly, up ahead, color began to emerge from the lagoon: ochre, ver- milion, magenta, apricot, cerise, and azure grew more vibrant the closer we got to the quay. Burano is a city of col- or, its claim to fame: each of the tiny houses is stuccoed in a different shade, with contrasting doors and lintels and shutters, so the entire island seems like a child went after it with a paint set. The little town wraps itself around a canal, which flows as a lifeline to the center of the city. Where Venice had been swimming with tourists, Burano was most assuredly a lived-in city: after disembarking, I dodged hosiery and tiny toddler t-shirts hanging out to dry on clotheslines which hung between windows. We made our way to the center of town, a wide cobblestone street called the Via Baldassarre Galuppi. Shops stood in a charming mess, all over- flowing with the main Buranese ex- port: lace. The lace trade purportedly became an art on the island in the early 1500s, but the locals tell a more deli- cious tale of a beautiful siren who tried to ensnare a handsome (and loyally be- trothed) sailor while he was stranded in the lagoon. The siren was impressed by his faithfulness, and offered him a gift for his beloved bride—with a slap of her tail, she created a fantastically delicate netting of lace on the side of his boat, which became a wedding veil. Lace has been made on the island ever since, and, picking up a delicately woven handkerchief that was more air than fabric, I could almost believe the local legend. At a tiny boutique called Emelia, I was assisted by Anna Maria, the shop- keeper and life-long Burano resident. I passed over scarves and shawls. “I want something that I can hang on my wall,” I tell Anna Maria, “a bit of Bu- rano magic.” She nods, “si,” as if she knows just what I mean, and points up, where a rosy Venetian Carnival mask, painstakingly woven in lace, glitters. I barely breathe as I place the mask over my face and see a siren where once there was only a footsore traveler who was moaning about boat delays. Each piece of lace here is made lovingly, whether it be woven on the island’s looms (the closest Burano gets to machine-made), or stitched by the artisans who practice their care- fully maintained form. I can’t help but finger the offerings at every store, intoxicated by the artistry and the minuteness of the pieces. It comes to me in an instant of clar- ity: the patience required for making the trip to Burano is mirrored in this most intimate form of stitchery. It takes time, care, and good faith, but in the end, isn’t it worth the trip? In the case of Burano, absolutely. Burano: Worth the wait Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014
  9. 9. By Trevor Smith Globalization: the process of devel- oping to make possible international influence or operation. A nasty thought in pop culture, the act of franchising, to make a six-figure profit, littering other cultures with the White Star Bursts (Wal-Marts), the Green Mer- maids (Starbucks), and the Golden Arches (McDonalds). However, as a traveler, globalization isn’t too ter- rible. Whether you are backpacking across Europe, climbing the ruins of Egypt, or studying the environment in a medieval village, it’s nice to find a reminder of home. At each end of Viterbo, you will find two landmarks that might spark some interest, two McDonalds equipped with a McCafe, mouth-watering burgers, and fries golden to perfection. Now, McDonalds may not be your mother’s homemade peach cobbler, but it sure is a simple cure to the com- mon culture shock. I got my craving for McDonalds on a late Monday night, stressed from the burdens of the day. I decided I’d try out an Italian McDonalds, to compare the chain to my own, and to get a nice reminder that this new place wasn’t as different as I imagined. First off, I’ve always heard that the major differences between the two types of McDonalds were the portion sizes; America’s being much larger. Second, I had also heard that by re- gion, different locations sell different foods. Lastly, I had heard that there was a higher quality of ingredients used in the food. Eager to conduct my research, I ordered big, a No. 5, which was a double bacon cheeseburger, Las Vegas fries, and a coke. As I ate my food, I noticed the burger to be comparatively smaller than any other McDonalds burger. Under further inspection, the large coke seemed me- dium, at best, and the Las Vegas fries were seasoned waffle fries. In just my first few bites everything I had already known about international McDonalds had become fact. (Not the best way to cure culture shock, but hey, it’s a start.) Satisfied yet not convinced, I knew I needed to come back for round two: Breakfast. Another similarity I found within the Italian McDonalds was the breakfast. Unlike breakfast culture in America filled with eggs, bacon, grits, ham and toast, many Italians settle for a crois- sant and café. I found myself with a craving for a hot and ready American breakfast. In the Viterbo McDonalds, I ordered a “uova strappazzate e bacon con pane” (scrambled eggs, bacon and bread), hash brown, and “cremoso allo yogurt con frutta e cereali” (yogurt with fruit and cereal). Incredibly enough, the Italian culture may survive off only a piece of bread for breakfast yet the classic American breakfast is preserved in the franchise. In a comparison of restaurants, the Italian McDonalds have a relatively smaller portion chart in relation to American McDonalds. These include the burger sizes and the drink sizes. In Italian McDonalds, you can order “Las Vegas” fries, which are simply waffle fries. Moreover, in the Viterbo McDonalds, there are four sauces to choose from: Salsa Agrodolce, Salsa Barbeque, Mayonnaise, and Ketchup, each costing 0.25 €. While you finish your food and prepare to toss out your remains, there are automated trashcans ready to consume the waste. As I mentioned before, pop culture labels globalization as a terrible idea however, us travelers rely on those pieces of home that seemed scattered across the world. They remind us that We’re Lovin’ It. Familiar fries far from home -- we’re lovin’ it at Viterbo McD’s Photo by Trevor Smith Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014
  10. 10. By Tyler Mahannah If you find yourself roaming the streets of Viterbo, Italy, on a Sun- day afternoon with no motivation or direction to venture outside of the city walls to a winery, 3DC Gradi (pronounced tray-dee-chee) has got you covered. The selection of wine is all from the Lazio region and the range of varietals improves with each taste. 3DC is located on Via Cardinal la Fontaine 28 in the medieval district of downtown Viterbo. A short walk from the Porta Romana train station, 3DC is not hard to find. It is instantly recognizable by the beautiful outside seating that wraps around two sides of the restaurant. When you walk up to the entrance a friendly waiter will great you and wait for you to specify where you would like to sit. Outside is the obvious choice for the Italian evening, and the sun will gently fall as you enjoy the atmosphere. My company and I did not take a menu, but made an effort to speak with the waiter and begin tasting the wines in ways unfamiliar to a person used to wine tasting practices in the United States. We would politely ask to try a couple wines at first and expected to get a flight of glasses with only a sip of wine, but instead when we asked to try their wine, the waiter come over to our table with the full bottle and three glasses, uncorked, and generously poured our first white wine. The server waited for us to taste, while he stood close, for what I assume was to answer questions, but probably because he wanted to know if we wanted a full glass. We did not. A couple sips of a fruity, sour wine similar to green apple then on to the next wine. The next was a chardonnay that had a more complex flavor and subtle tones of butter. However, I pre- ferred the sour wine we had before. As we made our way through two white wines I could feel our waiter getting slightly agitated by me taking notes and pretending to know some- thing about wine. Of course its best to be forward about what one is doing, so I apologized and said I was doing a project for a class. This was well received as we moved onto the reds. The first red was a blend of San- giovese and Merlot that was sweet and full-bodied. I would say it had a smooth texture but not quite silky, very good but not good enough. Next was a blend of Sangiovese and Antico that differed from the sweet merlot and had a peppery spice and darker color. This wine was better than the first for me, but it was the last wine that has not left my memory. Simply Sangiovese from 2010 that was very peppery and even a bit cherry like, this was the wine I needed to order a glass of. That wine, that restaurant, and the people are exactly the reason I traveled to Italy. 3DC Gradi can become a favorite lo- cation for just about anybody, wino or foodie, but for me on that night it was the wine I decided to experience. Italian wine at 3DC Gradi Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014 Why I travel By Giovanna Nebbio My love for traveling began with a few flights a year to see my parents. I was put on a plane and shipped off. I began to feel like a package on a Fedex truck until I decided to have some fun with it. I began to break out of my shell, which wasn’t hard. Who wouldn’t want to talk to a cute 7-year-old girl. As one could imagine a seven year old would get pretty antsy on a plane and that was a perfect way to de- scribe me. I began to talk and meet a whole new variety of people, people from all around the world. One gen- tleman I will never forget, because he is the reason why my passion for traveling blossomed, was traveling to his home in India. I immediately became amazed as I heard him talking and he taught me a phrase “sausi di gauh” (hello). However no matter what interesting information he told me I was in- trigued with the thought of meeting Princess Jasmine. I spent the summer between fourth and fifth grade doing research about different counties and their cultures. I fell in love and decided that I want- ed to see the world. I wanted to see what the world could offer me other than what the small town of Living- ston, California, or Mesa, Arizona, could offer me. Traveling offers a new insight to who we are. It helps us grow as individuals to better understand ourselves and the world. Allowing us to take a minute to walk in another’s shoes for once.
  11. 11. By Virginia Pedigo Sweat was dripping down the small of my back. Scratch that; sweat was dripping everywhere. People had warned me that Rome in the summer was akin to the surface of the sun just about anytime. But I am from Florida, so I ignored them as any good Floridi- an would. I wiped the thoughts of heat and thirst from my mind and focused on other, more pressing matters. My friends and I ventured by train down to Rome today to see the Sistine Chapel. We just had to see it, to see the build- ing that has made people drop down to their knees and convert to Catholicism on the spot. But, to our sweaty dismay, it was closed on this sunny Saturday afternoon. Downtrodden, we decided to walk through Vatican City on our way to get some last licks of gelato before we headed back to Viterbo. As we made our way closer to the square, we noticed throngs of peo- ple. Not simply the usual crowds, but literal swarms and swarms of people. Children were laughing and running everywhere, in and out of the metal detectors that now surrounded the square. I employed my broken Italian and asked someone what was go- ing on. What was everyone waiting for? He smiled at me and his answer required no translation: Papa. I rushed to tell my friends and we could not be- lieve it. The Sistine Chapel will likely wait for us, but seeing the Pope is a here and now opportunity. We passed through the detectors and entered the crowd. It hit me that all of these thousands of people, each one different from the next, are all gathered for the same reason. They all adore the Pope, their Papa. Because, as is evident by the banners, shirts, and face paint, these folks may worship Jesus Christ, but they adore the Pope. People in general gather for a myriad of reasons, and adoration is at the root of many of them. Whether it is rev- erence of food, a person, an activity, or what have you. Common love can bring together people whom usually would have nothing to discuss. A makeshift stage had been placed in front of the Basilica. St. Peter’s Square is, of course, mammoth in size. In a stroke of thoughtfulness, there were projection screens throughout the area for those not close to the front. The event today was a celebration of children’s athletic activities. Different groups of kids preform, with every- thing from karate to soccer to gymnas- tics being represented. The Pope spoke to encourage these children to play for a higher power and to further integrate their spirituality with their games. He noted that sports aid in keeping youth away from drugs, alcohol, and other harmful pursuits. I think that the event as a whole was very much a success. The sport and musical performances entertained the crowd well, leading up to the moment that their Captain came out to speak. Even as a person not at all fluent in Italian, I could tell that the words spo- ken were powerful and emotional. You do not have to know the language to understand eyes tearing up as a mother holds her jersey-clad son. Whether you are Catholic, Jewish, or Buddhist, seeing the Pope is a unique and special event. But what is perhaps an even more particular sighting is standing amidst thousands as they col- lectively adore someone, letting go of their differences, if only for the length of a soccer match. A day with Il Papa Photo by Virginia Pedigo Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014
  12. 12. By Noah Gass When you think of hamburgers most people think of a big greasy juicy burgers being grilled on a smoky char griller in the back yard of an all Amer- ican home. But tucked in the corner of an alleyway on the cobblestone streets of Viterbo, Italy is a man that will prove to you that burgers are not so all American. Tony Crock is the master chef and owner of Street Food da Tony Crock. Tony, with his wife Julia, run and operate this burger joint in downtown Viterbo next to Piazza San Carluccio. There you can get a handmade burger with your choice of toppings all for under 4 euro. However these are not your frozen store bought burgers. You can have your choice of a pepper and onion mixed burger infused with an array of spices, to an old fashion or even a turkey burger. You can ask for formaggio, cheese in Italian, to which Julia will then ask you if you want a slice of American cheese wrapped in plastic or if you would like a hand sliced piece Italian mozzarella. Per- sonally, I prefer the latter. Then your burger is placed on a toasted bun and you have your choice of toppings ranging anywhere from ketchup, mus- tard, and mayonnaise to sautéed toma- toes, onions, and even sour croute. Now if you’re one of those people that don’t like to try new things, all of this may sounds a little foreign. Well, it is. But don’t be afraid to try new things. Street Food would not be so popular if it was not good. And if you are afraid to try new things and you’d rather stick to bland pizza or even McDonalds, then good more burgers for the rest of us. In my many experiences at Street Food the couple have always been friendly and helpful. If you ask them how to say something in Italian they are happy to help you out. The food has always been perfection. Never once in my many meals have I gotten a bad burger, or hair in my food, or anything that you would expect bad to happen at a burger joint in America. The only down side I could possibly think of about Street Food’s burgers is that you don’t get to choose how you want your burger cooked. Tony cooks it the same way every time. But hon- estly, I’ve never tried. These burgers have been so good every time that I don’t want to try anything different. So if you’re ever traveling through Viterbo, say on your way to Rome, get off of your train at Porta Romana head straight down Garibaldi take a left at Piazza Pueblacita, and keep going until you hit the labyrinth. Take the next left and Street Food will be waiting for you with open arms. It is the place to go if you are looking for hardier alternative to pizza and pasta. It’s a filling and unique experience that alone should put Viterbo on the map. https://www.facebook.com/pages/ Tony-Crock-Street-Food U.S. food, Italian style Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014 Photo by Noah Gass
  13. 13. By Morgan Lauer It is nearly 8 p.m. and a glimpse of an orange glow seeping behind the terra- cotta rooftops of Viterbo appears from my third story apartment window. It is time for dinner. No matter a “casa”, a countryside “osteria” or a “ristorante”, dinner in Italy is structured in a similar fashion. Tonight, this dinnertime struc- ture is observed with my newly found Italian family: Sabina, my homestay “mother,” her son Ludovico, and Mar- co, a cousin just arrived from Naples. This dining experience begins within the narrow cove of Sabina’s galley style kitchen as I perch myself in the corner for the best view of the meal prepared by Marco. Meaty slices of deep red tomatoes fall onto a wooden cupboard and a compact, volleyball sized mozzarella di bufala sets in a glass bowl of brine waiting to be carved. Later the stove is lit and inter- esting techniques become apparent. For instance, olive oil is generously poured out, like sauce over a bed of pasta, and slivers of garlic release an aromatic flavor with a sizzle, only to be removed from the pan. Beside the aroma of garlic, handfuls of salt are the only seasonings added. The combination of simple seasonings and fresh produce allows the flavors and textures of the local products to be the main exhibit. However, this main exhibit must be displayed within the proper context- a well-set table. Tonight our wooden top is the framework in which napkins, silverware, glasses, and plates align in a precise, yet functional arrangement beneath a smooth linen tablecloth. Forks always on the right and used in a progression towards the main plate. Knives on the left, placed near the proper operating hand. Usually two glasses: one for water, one for wine. Around that well framed table, peo- ple gather and converse. Meanwhile, my stomach grumbles and rumbles as it remembers the 5 o’clock dinner hour it is accustomed to in the States. Soon I am satisfied with an antipasto, or an appetizer, called “caponata”. Napoli- tano caponata is comprised of toma- toes and mozzarella doused in extra virgin olive oil, and uses thickly sliced bread as an additional utensil soaking up the juices from the dish. During formal occasions insalata, then primo and scondo piatti would be served, but for our more informal dinner, thick, cheesy pasta centers itself on my plate. This delicious procession is eat- en slowly allowing room for much conversation. Like around many other tables, we examine the daily grind of life. Work, education, relationships, popular culture, and politics are the main topics of discussion, which usually prompt either tears of laugh- ter or heated debates. Nevertheless, dinnertime here is a place for friends and family to reconnect and recharge. Meanwhile, forks are shared and dried up glasses are soon refilled by a neigh- bor, no waiter needed. These kind, habitual gestures along with conversa- tion express a sense of community by which good food and willing tables are only portals. Even when my Italian speaking skills do not allow me to play an active role in conversation, I feel a kind of attach- ment to that Italian table and those that encompass it. Furthermore, my experience around a “tavola Italiana” has been more than a way to eat local cuisine, it has been a means to under- stand and bond oneself to the culture of Italy. Tavola Italiana Photo by Morgan Lauer Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014
  14. 14. Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014 By Lauren Matheny The piece of loose-leaf paper on which I’d detailed all the sights I wanted to see in Siena, so pristine and folded just this morning, was now a sodden crumple of paper in my hand. The ink was illegible, the sights blurred, and the paper itself was tearing to fine pieces. The poet inside me began to think, morosely, that the disintegration of the paper was an apt metaphor for my grand plans for a day in the medieval city: once perfect, now tumbling into disarray. I have always been a trip planner. My father will still produce with pride the notebooks that I filled with entries on our trips to Disneyland: rides that must be ridden, food that must be eaten, fun facts that I could repeat, should the need arise. I’ve grown more flexible over the years, condensing my plan- ning formula from notebooks to single sheets of paper, carefully labeled “Must-See’s!” I’d begun the morning in Siena en- chanted. The twisting, turning medi- eval streets beckon wanderers up the long, narrow cobblestone hills, layered with tiny tourist shops and cafes, only to send them around a corner and back down again. But I was not free to roam these streets, finding my own way to the more prolific sights on my list. Instead, I was hemmed in by a touring group. “Group” was a strong word: we were more a chaotic mass of students and adults, led by a frazzled and much-harassed guide, plodding our way through the city. I could only follow along, ushered by the mass of tourists, as we passed my “Must- Sees!” without stopping to explore. We passed through the Piazzo del Campo, home to the Siena political machine and a motley crew of pigeons, with barely a word. I gazed in longing up at the campanile tower, the Torre del Mangia, which had was surrounded by purple-ink stars on my list, stating its status as V.I.S—Very Important Site. I could have let slip bits of fascinating information about the grand medieval tower (“Say, did you know that it’s the third highest secular tower in Italy? Actually, the name means ‘Tower of the Eater,’ in reference to the name of its first bell ringer. He was apparently a well-known spend-thrift and glutton! Go figure!”). Instead, we marched wearily onwards into a main shopping street while our tour guide prattled on about the annual horse race. As I let myself be carried along by the crowd, I wondered at the disparity of my emotions: how can a planner by nature like me become annoyed by too much direction? I have always been in slight awe of those travelers who can wander with no reservations, no plan of arrival, not a train ticket to their name, and still walk away with a smile. How do they live sans plan? I was about to find out: our tour end- ed abruptly mid-day, and I realized, with a sinking sensation, that we’d passed by most of the “Must-See’s!” on my list. I stood in the square outside of the bustling Siena Duomo, thick with tourists using newly pur- chased T-shirts as sweat towels and sunshades; I swept a trickle of sweat off my sunglasses. Time was short; I would not be able to tour the places I had so wanted to see. I put the paper back into my bag, where it had its own special front pocket, and turned right off the main plaza—at least I was free now to walk as I would. A few thick drops of rain began to fall on the marble near me, mimicking my cloudy attitude. I decided to forego the restaurants that had made it onto my list, Tri- pAdvisor recommended; they were all on the other side of the side of the city and I was famished. I let the throng of sightseers carry me along to a quiet side street, where a cheerful hand-painted sign chalked out “Oste- ria Aperto!”, Italy’s answer to “We’re Open!” Osteria are the simplest option amongst the Italian restaurant vari- eties, with smaller menus than their trattoria counterparts. What they lack in options they make up for in the localized selection of their items. This A new path in an ancient city
  15. 15. Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014 particular restaurant offered only five options of pasta, all sounding fresh. I ordered the pappardelle alla carne: a simple peasant dish of long, thick pas- ta layered with a rich, salty pork sauce. The owner of the restaurant himself served at my table, asking solicitously about the food and the drink (would I like more water? More oil?), and discussing the proclivity of the Sienese to put wild boar in most of their pasta sauces. I realized, somewhere between the last bite of my pasta (pappardelle translates as “to gobble,” and gobble I did) and laying out the surprising- ly small change I owed, that I had wandered in to something beautiful. Instead of a bustling, over-priced restaurant, thick with tourists and swarming with homogenized offer- ings, I’d somehow found my way into an authentic dining room at three o’clock in the afternoon, and indulged in a true local favorite. I had thought to spend the afternoon at a café, several of which were listed on my “Must-See,” but after seeing the fine patisseries and coffee bars over-run with tourists dripping ge- lato I changed my mind. I wandered instead down the via dei Rossi, a quiet street free of tourists, where I passed a clothing cleaners, with dresses framed in the window—perhaps to advertise how well they were washed and dried and pressed? Locals sipped beers in the neon-lit cafeterias, staring out the window at the empty street. Most stores were closed, with hand-drawn signs on cardboard declaring they’d open “dopo,” later. Near the bottom of the street, I caught a twinkle out of the corner of my eye, through the slight opening of a wooden door. I had to search the plain façade for a moment before I noted the cross that revealed it was a neighborhood chiesa, a tiny church. There was no sign or label, simply an open door. The raindrops were falling thick on my head now, so I decided to duck in. The only other occupant of the chiesa was a tiny suora, a nun all clothed in white, but she caught my attention only for a moment before the beauty of the church pulled my eye away. The stiff stucco exterior gave no hint to the stained glass windows glittered from the back of the apse, in front of which lay a full-sized memorial reliquary entombing a female saint, or the high vaulted gallery that made my mouth pop open in surprise. How did they hide all this medieval glory from the guidebooks? I began to walk down the nave, in between deep brown pews polished to a high shine, before the suora’s surprisingly rich voice came from behind me. “Buonasera, ragazza,” she said, cheerfully, pulling herself up from her stool with a little groan. “Di dove sei?” Where are you from? She began walk- ing up the aisle now, and I followed, not quite sure where she was headed and thinking maybe I was intruding. I told her I was Americana, and she clapped her hands and complemented my fundamental Italian. Instead of disappearing into a side door, as I half expected, the nun led me to the front altar, where she took my hand and began to give me a history of the church, her church. She filled in her historical details (the church was dedicated to Sant’Eliseb- etta della Visitazione, a local girl who made good) with anecdotes about the lives of the sisters who worshiped here daily. Pointing up at the gallery, high above the nave, she described how her and her sisters lined the three sides of the chapel to sing with the congrega- tion at the prime and vespers hours. She noted with pride, pointing at the ensconced body of the Sant’Elisabetta, that it was one of the few whole holy reliquaries in Siena—the saint’s whole body was present, not just a finger or skull. She pointed out her favorite fresco, a painting of San Giuseppe cradling a smiling toddler Jesus. You could almost imagine Jesus tweaking his earthly father’s beard in the next frame. It became my favorite fresco as well. On I walked, understanding the flow- ing Italian speech, pulled in somehow by the suora’s passion for her home church and the lives lived within. At the altar, I gave a silent thanks for the blessing of unexpected ram- bles. For the first time in my travel- ing history, I had let go of any form of planning and had stumbled upon something spectacular. As I waved goodbye to the tiny suora, who pressed my hands between hers as she bless- ed me, I realized what had made my Siena afternoon special-- I had visited people in their homes. The ostler in his osteria, the nun in her church, both had taken the time to let me into their lives when I had opened up mine. Sudden- ly, I didn’t regret the absence of my list. With a smile, I crumpled up my well-worn travel itinerary and tossed it in a nearby trash can. It was time to wander and enjoy the view.
  16. 16. Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014 By Giovanna Nebbio When one plans to visit Italy every- one is happy to share advice. The peo- ple tell you about the cute handbags you will see, the attractive Italian men, and the stylish clothes. However, they leave out a vital piece of information: how adorable and friendly Italian dogs are, not only that but also how much the Italians love their dogs. I was taken away by the lack of infor- mation people were willing to offer me about dogs in Italy, especially con- sidering the fact that I love dogs. The idea of not being around dogs was go- ing to be hard concept for me to grasp when I came because I did not expect to see any and then when I arrived all I saw were dogs. I was amazed, I was in dog heaven. However, a couple details seem to stick out to me. Back in the states people are fascinated with the thought of having it all and when walking down the streets especially in a town like Monterey all you see our purebred, pedigree dogs. However, this concept does not apply in Viterbo. The dogs appear to all be mix breeds and, although some are purebred dogs, they are not pampered babies. They are allowed to lie in the streets, pee on the wall, and sometimes even poop in the mall. VENIRE! SEDERSI! SOGGIORNO! These commands are just a few you can hear while walking through the streets of Viterbo. The people love their dogs. Sitting in a café you can see at least three people walk by in an hour with their dogs. Wherever you see a person you can be sure to see man’s best friend shortly behind. Furthermore, the dogs of Viterbo are somewhat of a different breed compared to that of Monterey, a dog friendly town. From experience and with my own dog, the dogs are loyal to their owners but are always excited to meet other people and play. However, “Viterbese” dogs LOVE their owners. One night I had a strong craving for gelato. As we sat outside eating our gelato a lady walked up with a giant ball of fluff, a Bernese mountain dog. Although dogs are allowed to go into most places here in Viterbo, she left him outside. She seemed to have no concern of leaving him untied with a stranger, complete trust. This was the moment I got to prac- tice the most important phrase I have learned, “posso accarezzare il tuo cane?” The lady was so pleased that I asked, especially because I asked in Italian, and graciously allowed me to pet her giant ball of fluff. Although he loved the attention of getting his ears scratched he kept his eyes on his owner completely memorized with her movements as she ordered her gelato. My transition into Italy has not been easy. Becoming homesick within the second week and the culture shock has been a continuous struggle. However with the help of man’s best friend I have been able to conquer this obsta- cle and enjoy Viterbo and all of its furry friends. Viterbo loves its pooches
  17. 17. Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014 By Natalie Sprigg Food is an essential part to life.  Without it, no living creature would function.  Food is all derived from the earth, it is what us as hu- mans do with that food that make it cultural.  In America, people love to eat burgers, chicken dishes, any form of potato (mashed, fried, baked), and other sorts of fruits and vegeta- bles.  Americans commonly accept other countries foods and “American- ize” it.  Examples of this include pasta, pizza, tacos, burritos, Chinese food, sushi, and more.   One thing that differs from many other countries is America is one of the largest processed food suppliers in the world.  Processed foods often contain a high amount of sugar, trans fat, saturated fat, and sodium.  The number one cause of death in the United States is cardiovascular disease which is directly linked to ones diet or genetics.  People need to be informed of the effects of the food that they consume, or else America will never make headway in the health outcome of its people. Italy has a variety of fresh foods to offer to the community.  All types of bread, pasta, vegetables, fruits, meats, cheeses, olive oil, wine, and more.  The Mediterranean Diet is one of the most healthy diets in the world.  It contains every macronutrient in a balanced form with no overdosage of processed foods.  In fact, the closest Italy comes to processed foods is those croissants and other sorts of pas- tries.  The number one cause of death in Italy could not be that of the diet but perhaps vehicle accidents from the way that these Italians drive. For myself, I cannot seem to get enough of pasta in Italy.  Something about it tastes so much different than pasta in America.  My roommates and I cook up a big pasta dish almost every night and whatever we do not finish at dinner, we heat up the next day for lunch.   My favorite combination meal that we have made is our fettucine noo- dles doused in a red wine tomato basil sauce mixed with authentic and fresh Italian sausage.  For the side we simmered fresh cut vegetables like asparagus, red bell peppers, carrots, and zucchini in olive oil topped with basil leaves and a dash of salt.  For drinks we have one cup of water and one cup of red wine to accompany our meal.  As for dessert, we like to have fresh fruit like a mix of peach- es, kiwi, banana, strawberries, and cherries.  This meal alone provides an immense amount of nutrients that are essential to the body. Comparing this Italian dish to something made in America, it is very different.  In Italy, everything is fresh.  There are no preservatives in their fruits or vegetables and their food is not processed in factories across the country and then shipped to Viterbo. Everything is grown locally and that is amazing.  A person can honestly taste the difference.   The noodles are so tender, the meat is full of zesty flavors, the wine in the sauce makes for a sweet yet sassy taste, the vegetables are crisp and bursting with deliciousness, the olive oil is magnificently pure, and the fruits are delightfully satisfying with their fruity sensation.  The pricing of this entire meal is 15 euros, depending where a person buys their produce from, and the location of this “dining experience” is on Via Orologio Vec- chio in the medieval palace of Natalie, Jackie, & Rachel’s apartment! Making pasta in Italy
  18. 18. Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014 It’s all about gelato I’m ordering a gelato limone on a whim in the lit- tle gelateria because I’m hot and it’s sweet and one of the few flavors I can puzzle out the name of. The first bite is a revelation, like someone took the idea of Italian ice and spun it through a gourmet test kitchen, a million-dollar ice cream chain and then sent it back to this hole-in-the-wall. It’s sweet but pucker-inducing … these are lemons not “Fla- vor Syrup 2BG4.” The texture is icy but creamy as a dream, melting into nothing as it touches the tongue … The lemon lingers on my tongue, fresh as mint, soft and sharp, the quintessential taste of a Viterbo summer night. --Lauren Matheny “…beside Nutella and vanilla cream is the le tre maraviglia. The taste comes from an off-white tex- ture that mocks a chocolate ganache. Maybe this is my favorite because of its similarities to sweetened condensed milk and memories … of licking the lid of a tin can, for the adventure – not to get cut.” -- Morgan Lauer Photo by Tyler Mahannah Photo by Trevor Smith Photo by Giovanna Nebbio
  19. 19. Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014 “Dry and chewy like beef jerky but with a subtle ham flavor. Salted, but not overly so. Prosciutto is so far my flavor in Italy. It was served at the welcome dinner at USAC. My landlord served it when she invited me to dine with her. Row upon row of it at the supermarket confounded me.” --Danielle Starkey “Pasta and men. That’s what I was told to look for here. So many confused but well-intentioned Americans. … What all of these kind, well-intentioned Americans and tourist information sites don’t tell you to look for are the apples or mele …Only now do I understand that Eden must have been some- where in Italy for the apples of this region are plump, crisp and seduc- tive enough to make any woman relinquish men and paradise.” --Reena Spansail “… a flavor tucked away into small cafes and pizzerias … will be shocking and revolutionary to my tastebuds. My life will be lacking and a piece of it empty after I leave and return to Nevada. … In order for me to find the perfect bite, I cannot order anything twice. There is always another slice of pizza and a different spaghetti sauce.” --Tyler Mahannah “Specifically the pizza with French fries. The thin crust, unlike the taste of chain pizza, the salt in the dough that gives it the perfect zest. The freshness of the tomato … to top it off with French fries. Two mas- terpieces combined to make some- thing unimaginable.” --Giovanna Nebbio “Italy has far more to offer aside from a pepperoni pizza or a pesto pasta. My first Italian flavor was a mixture of amarena and limone, twisted into one. As I spooned into the gelato, I was taken on a ride of fruitful sensations crashing into a sweet and sour limone blend while twirling into a rich and creamy amarena delight.” --Trevor Smith “Honestly, I’m not a fan of cof- fee-flavored ice cream from back home but something about this flavor got to me. Perhaps it reminds me of the somewhat bitter taste found in Italian espressos of caffe macchiatos. I realize I will not have authentic Italian gelato when I re- turn to the states so this flavor will remain will sacred to Viterbo, Italy.” --Natalie Sprigg “The taste is so dark, it is almost evil. Bold and fierce, like a warrior. … I always find myself wanting more and more. I am a willing slave to it … but this description rep- resents only one side of my Italian flavor. The other side is soft and conniving. It smoothes effortlessly over my tongue, a blanket of silk. It calms me and reminds me to relax. “Why be so tense? You are in Italy,” it whispers softly. The flavor that crosses the bridge between evil and good, rich and delicate, is none oth- er than fondente. Dark chocolate gelato is a flawless taste of the Italy I experience.” --Virginia Pedigo It is sweltering in the kebab shop, the air stirred softly by a ceiling fan overhead. When I ask for my kebab, sensing my language difficulties, the man behind the counter cups his hands into a loose clam shape. This is his way of asking me whether I want my kebab meat stuffed into a toasted pita pocket. I nod. The greasy gyro meat crackles on its spit as it turns and he goes to slice me off a generous pile of lamb, shaved thin and piping hot. He layers the inside of the toasted pita lovingly with creamy tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, crisp lettuce, pickled veg- etables and a savory smoky barbe- cue sauce the color of dark ketchup. He spoons the lamb meat inside carefully, packing it in so the edges don’t burst out of the wrapper. He drizzles a last sprinkling of the tzatziki over the top, and hands me the sandwich. It’s almost too hot to hold, even with the greasy wrapper. --Emma Lynge In Viterbo, caffes are on every cor- ner. You go in expecting to order a grande caramel macchiato in a cup suitable for walking around town. But what you get is a teenie tiny cup similar to those found in a child’s tea set. Although the cup is small, the flavor is intense. It’s bitter, dry and takes some getting used to. But here in Italy, espresso is a way of life. --Jackie Tourin Tasting Viterbo Unforgettable flavors from Central Italy
  20. 20. Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014 By Jackie Tourin It reeked, but I was desperate. After nine hours on a plane anyone would desperate enough to use a restroom even in the worst conditions. To my utter discomfort I walked into the stall only to find there were no seat cov- ers; this was the definition of culture shock.  “Expectations lead to disappoint- ment” wise words said by Stefano Pizzetti, the director of the Viterbo, Italy study aboard program. It was our first full day in Italy, all thirty eight students were gathered in the Balleti Hotel meeting room for orientation. We were getting to know each other and making our first connections; each of us anxious to embark on this once in a lifetime journey.  Unfortunately Stefano’s advice came a few months too late for me. The moment I turned in my online appli- cation to USAC, University Study Abroad Consortium, I began stewing over what I would see and experience during my trip. This is my fist trip abroad so al of my thoughts of Italy were solely based on scenes from movies and pictures in magazines. I spent weeks planning, packing, researching areas to visit and focus- ing my attention more toward what could happen rather than awaiting the unexpected.  It was the beginning of my spring semester at UNR, the University of Nevada, Reno, when I applied for this program. It was the most difficult semester of my college career thus far and dreams of Italy were the light at the end of the tunnel. The weeks, fortunately, passed quickly; mostly impart because I  was bombarded with homework, projects, and tests on a daily basis. At last May twenty third arrived in the blink of an eye and I knew it was finally time to set forth on my greatest adventure yet. Board- ing the plane at eight in the morning, waiting to depart from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport was an exhilarat- ing moment. It had not become clear, yet, that  I would be in a foreign coun- try, thousands of miles away from my little bubble of home, in a mere matter of hours.  The reality would only set in once I stepped foot of the plane and breathed in that Italian air.  Well, that air was not what I had expected; the first incidence of my expectations not being the reality. I knew Italy would be humid, but my lungs felt like they were filling with water and my body felt as if it was being covered in a warm, moist blanket. Coming from the desert, with nice dry air, is something I was going to have to get used to. Walking through the cloud of condensation I made my way to the back of the line to have my passport stamped. The man behind the glass window looked like he had not smiled in ages, with a permanent frown on his stone cold face. I slipped my passport under the window, he gave it a quick once over and then stamped it with such force it made me jump. He slid it back without a word and I took that as my “stamp of approval”. So off to baggage claim I went to find my monster of a suitcase. Slowly, but surely, the massive purple and orange bag rode the carousal making its way towards me. Tired and weary from the plane ride, I could hardly muster the strength to grab it. It felt ten times heavier than I initially packed, but at least I had it.  In a state of complete bewilderment and amazement by all that surrounded me, I was eager to find the rest of the group and Simone, the person said to be meeting us all to take us to Viterbo. Towards the exit doors of the airport stood a young, stocky man holding a small paper sign that read USAC. Me and a few other students who had been walking in proximity to me all stopped in front of him and he said, “lets go”. So off we went to our bus for another two hours of sitting, but the ride was gorgeous. The country side was just like a picture from a scenic maga- zine. Lush green hills covered in wild flowers and little farm houses speckled in the distance. Before I knew it I had dozed off and woke up to the see the giant walls of Viterbo in front of the bus. Tiny streets, tiny cars, and beauti- ful architecture is all I see around me. “This is amazing,” I thought to myself, “this is my new home.” Finally it was time to move into our apartments.  Simone was there to guide my roommates Natalie, Rachel, and I to our humble abode. “You guys live in a Medieval palace” Simone said. “So we are princesses!” I exclaimed.  Ecstatic about our new royal status we made our trek toward Via Orologio Vecchio, or “Old Clock”. The streets were confusing; mostly because they all look similar, and cars whizzing past made it feel like a game of Frogger trying to dodge getting hit. Without Simone, we may have never been able to find our giant, wooden,  sea-blue, door that lead to our quarters. Once inside the door we enter the dungeon; we call it that because it is dark and eerie and not a place you want t spend a lot of time in. Past the dungeon is the beginning of the three flight staircase, talk about a bun blaster. And once into our apartment we let out a few huffing breaths and look around in amaze- ment that we get to live in the heart of Viterbo such a quaint little home away from home.  Once we were all settled in, we met up again with Simone, as well as our other advisor Luisa, to go to the mall to get groceries and set up phone plans.  I, for one, am extremely close to my family and I need to be in contact with them everyday, so I wanted to purchase a phone plan in order to do that. After discussing a few options with the staff at the TIM station, I decided to spend thirty euros on an italian SIM card, not realizing my phone needed to be “unlocked”. Once I learned my phone could not be unlocked, and after I purchased the Out of my comfort zone
  21. 21. Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014 card with no return option, I began to feel a sense of homesickness for the fact I could not contact my family at my leisure. I was overwhelmed by the difference in culture at this point and I was fearful because I didn’t know how to go about assimilating into this new, yet temporary,  life. That evening, and the majority of the days that week, I took refuge in cafes to use their wifi just to communicate back home.  By day five I still had feelings of homesickness; I missed everything from the people back home, to foods that I hardly eat, to the luxuries of silly things like a dishwasher. I even made lists of movies and foods that I wanted to see and eat when I get home! This went on for a couple more days until I went to bed on the sev- enth night and had a sudden moment of complete bliss and awakening. I realized how completely blessed I was to be where I am at, especially be- cause I know there are so many people who would love to be in my shoes.  To be ethnocentric is to think that ones own culture is better than any other; I do not believe in ethnocentrism so laying in my cozy, little bed that night I decided to accept and appreciate all of the differences I had been presented with, even the differences in toilets without seat covers.  Needless to say that was the most restful night of sleep I had, I slipped off into dream land with a smile on my face. In the days that followed that mo- ment of realization, I opened my mind and my eyes to take in everything this country has to offer. I tried new foods, like rabbit which I’ve come to find is quite delicious and I even eat eggs that aren’t refrigerated. This change in attitude was the key to having the best time possible and I’m grateful I had it sooner rather than later.  I refer to Viterbo as home now, even though I have only been here a short  month, it has a piece of my heart and I am forever thankful for this trip. I have a new found freedom,  independence, and especially an  appreciation for all that I have back home and all that I have learned and experienced here. By Jackie Tourin Pasta; Fusilli, Ziti, Spaghetti, Gemelli, Creste di galli, however you prefer it, these funky little clumps of dough are a gift from the heavens. There are hundreds of different options to choose from and just as many sauce choices to go along with it. You can find your perfect match of pasta and sauce almost anywhere in Italy, and the best place in Viterbo is the Spa- ghetteria. Growing up every Thursday was “Spaghetti Thursday” at my house. My mom, who is full blooded Mex- ican, with no Italian in her at all, makes the best spaghetti I have ever eaten. She always says that her dad made the best spaghetti and it was her favorite meal when she was little so she carried on the tradition. Every time I saw her take out her giant, blue pot, I knew we would be feasting on noodles and her famous meat sauce. In my opinion, the sauce is the key to what makes or breaks the pasta dish. Anyone can pour a jar of sauce over some boiled noodles and call it done, but the time and ingredients put into homemade sauce is unbeatable. My mom spends hours on her sauce, made with garlic, onions, ground tur- key and pork, mushrooms, tomatoes, tomato paste, a jar of Traditional Clas- sico sauce for substance, and the best, most important ingredient, red wine. I always have to steal a spoonful when she leaves the kitchen and majority of the time I get caught, but it’s worth it. There is so much flavor and love in her sauce I don’t think I’ll ever find one that will trump hers. Now that I said I will never find a spaghetti dish better than my mothers, I have found a very close second at the Spaghettaria. They are located on Via Saffi, and are famous for their 300 different pasta options making their way into the Guinness Book of World Records. After reading all 300 options I finally ordered the Paellti. A rich and filling seafood and saffron dish that is to die for. There were mussels, clams, cuttlefish, shrimp, bacon, chicken, peas, and the most lovely saffron I have ever tasted. There was a light ol- ive oil drizzle over the top that didn’t take away from any of the intense flavors and everything worked so well together. The atmosphere and the staff were extremely welcoming and they even had a separate menu for non Italian speakers. The prices were fair, my dish was one of the more pricier ones, but eleven euros is not bad for the quality and amount of food given. The Paellati dish is much different compared to my mother’s spaghetti, it didn’t taste like home, but it was a nice change of flavor. I would abso- lutely suggest this dish to seafood lovers like me for the simple fact that everything was undeniably fresh and cooked to perfection. Even if you are not a seafood lover I would still recommend the Spaghetteria because you will surely find a dish that suits you, and you will want to come back for more. Spaghetti in Viterbo
  22. 22. By Giovanna Nebbio “Venti, quad shot, soy, caramel ma- chiatto, with extra caramel on the cup, iced” is a common drink one can en- counter when venturing into the long line of the United States beloved Star- bucks. In Italy these tongue twisters do not exist. Italy and its many variations of coffee had made its impression on me and now I cannot start my day without my daily cappuccino. Coffee to the Italian culture is some- thing to be treasured. Do not expect any warm, sugary, syrup drinks from a café. Italians treasure their coffee and enjoy it rather than taking it on the go, no Joe-on-the-go for Italy. Unsure what to order? The basic order that no one can screw up is a cappuccino (the universal cup of coffee). This has become known as the basic American drink when we visit Italy; it is the only drink we can’t mess up ordering. Being a coffee drinker I knew I was soon going to need my daily dose of energy while studying abroad in Vit- erbo, Italy. Not seeing any Starbucks around I knew I was no longer in the States. Being in one of the coffee cap- itols of the world I was a little intimi- dated about ordering so I just stuck to a basic cappuccino and when I felt a little adventurous “cappuccino e soy- ia” (cappuccino made with soymilk). Soon my latte craving kicked in, I needed my latte or Italy was going to witness a zombie. Going into our beloved Starbucks and ordering a latte, we can expect to be given a decent size drink varying in size from tall, grande, and venti and have it be caffeinated. The barista will hand us our warm cup of liquid livation pumped with sugar and syrups to make them fit America’s addiction to everything being sugary. When going to Italy, one will have a surprise waiting for them at the counter if they decide to order a latte. I walked up to the counter of the stu- dent hot spot, Caffe San Sisto. When I walked up Riccardo (the owner and barista) asked me what I would like to drink this morning. Bravely I ordered a “latte e soyia.” He looked at me a lit- tle confused, “a latte e soyia?” he said and I answered back “si,” thinking, “How hard is ordering a latte?” Then it got a little confusing when he asked “caldo or freddo?” – hot or cold? Not thinking anything of it, I quickly replied “caldo.” As Riccardo handed me my latte, I was surprised to find no tan color or swirls of coffee and milk. I looked over at my friend puzzled, as he looked back at me laughing. He burst out, “You just ordered steamed soymilk.” As I was about to just leave my steamed milk on the counter my friend yelled, “You better drink that.” Confused and a little disappointed, I choked down my steamed soymilk. This tragedy left me scared to leave the comfort of my cappuccino bubble. However, with the help of friends the process of ordering, becomes a lot easier and worthwhile. As the summer here in Viterbo gets hot we still need our caffeine to get through our day. An espresso is truly needed if one would like to maintain the Italian schedule of late dinners and walking through the street of Viterbo at midnight. Some days drinking a hot cappuccino when it is 90 degrees is not comfort- ing. The heat makes us quickly adjust to get our caffeine fix while maintain- ing cool. Eventually I was able to find a solution to this for myself and the answer was two simple words: café freddo. It took me awhile to order but eventually I managed to get the proper words out and I successfully ordered a “café freddo” (an iced coffee). The process of making a café freddo is elaborate and much care goes into it Photos by Giovanna Nebbio Want milk? Order a latte Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014
  23. 23. Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014 compared to our Starbucks iced coffee, which is just coffee with ice poured on top. First, Riccardo brews the espresso while he is doing that he gets a cocktail shaker (strange right?), throws a few ice cubes and asks how sweet you would like your coffee. For me it is one package of raw sugar. Next came something I was not expecting. He poured my espresso in the shaker and began shaking it, as he is shaking it you can see the container begin- ning to cool as its exterior begins to fog. Then he serves you your caffé freddo in the most elegant way possible…in a champagne flute. As I was finally successful in ordering an exotic coffee my adventurous side decided to come back to me. I was ready to try to order a latte again, hopefully correctly this time. The weather had finally cooled down as it poured rain for three days straight. I wanted a hot drink. I went up to the counter looked Riccardo in the eyes and bravely said caffé latte. He looked at me and smiled and then proceeded to make my delicious latte. I had finally conquered the art of ordering Italian coffee. My love for Italy has grown while being in this country of food, romance, and most importantly caffé. I can truly say that Italy has spoiled me with its rich coffee and espressos that Starbucks is no longer going to cut it when I get back. I have become accustomed to strong espressos, authen- tic cappuccinos, and caffé lattes. Sugary, syrup pumped lattes and frappuccinos are no longer going to cut my caffeine craving. The habit I tried so hard to break in the States has now found me again in Europe and I cannot imagine my life with- out it again. They say it is true love when you set it free and it comes back, and I have found my true love-coffee. First thing to do when arriving back home in Monterey, California -- find an authentic Italian coffee shop. Why we travel By Morgan Lauer Whether a foot outside my doorstep or miles away from home, traveling is an adventure. My desire for travel is framed on my bedroom wall, in the topic of my books, written inside my planner, and has taken root in my dreams. Travel to me is an ever-evolving madness that is fueled by curiosity and a thirst to gain perspective. Who are they and who am I. Not matter what place, similarities and differences can be compared to personal experiences and this comparison helps me to create a clearer picture of others as well as myself.​Clarity is difficult to find and an adventure all its own. Clarity may be the simplest reason to why I travel. By Reena Spansail I travel because my eyes get hungry. I am not a restless soul — on the contrary, I meditate fiercely in order to achieve a state of restfulness. In other words, my soul does not ache for the unknown. It does, however, ache for unseen beauty. Aesthetics govern my movement, my daily patterns, my studies, and my life trajectory. If it makes my eyes ache and my heart glow, I will search for it, go to it, and drink it in. I travel because I am a lustful consumer of beautiful sights, smells, tastes, and feelings. I am in luck, because everything is beautiful. So, no matter where I go, I will always eat and drink my fill of beauty.”
  24. 24. Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014 By Trevor Smith Pizza, pasta, and gelato, the Ital- ian creations that most people lunge towards to satisfy their primal instincts for hunger. On the other hand, pizza, pasta, and gelato scream fats, calories, and sugars in the fitness world. In regards to international travel, most concern themselves with finances, homesickness, and culture shock while I stress over lifestyle maintenance, nutrition, and anxiety over separation -- from my personal trainer. I am someone who attempts to eat correctly and keep a routine fitness regiment. Therefore, studying aboard in Italy could only mean sacrificing all of my hard work for an authentic Italian experience. Wrong. Although going aboard resonates change and a new way of thinking, it should not have to compromise or alter a healthy and fit lifestyle. No one wants to travel aboard or in my case study aboard and come back with extra pounds as a souvenir. Finding ways to stay in shape across the pond is an excellent idea, and not just for the physical results. I have found that joining the local gym in Viterbo, Italy a great way to meet local residents, experience more in the town, and provide an emotional outlet for when the culture shock set in. However, a gym might not be the best option for all travelers, and there are a number of alternatives that are just as effective. To begin, remember, time is not on your side. Going aboard means experiencing an entirely new world and you will want to pack your stay with as much as possible. Finding the time to commit to your workouts will most likely be the hardest part. It’s safe to say most of those days you skip at home because you have a million and one things to do, will be every day during your time aboard. One of the easiest ways to stay on top of your workouts is to recruit someone, or meet a local friend to keep you moti- vated. For the gym-goers, committing to a standard time, like early in the morning, might help since that is how I survived. During my five-week stay in Italy, I found early morning work- outs to be extremely beneficial for two reasons. 1) I was able to meet local fitness enthusiasts who were commit- ted to their early morning workouts, and 2) I was able to stay on track with my own fitness routine. In Viterbo, I joined a gym called Larus. It is a simple place with a lot to offer. Unlike the States, you could tell they did not share the same passion for power racks, squat racks, and barbells. I came up with a training strategy that worked for what they had, which suited my fitness goals. As a note, remember, most of the free-weights in aboard countries will not be in pounds. Larus used kilograms, which is almost double a pound (i.e., 3 kilograms equals 6.5 pounds.) Another notewor- thy tip to remember is that gym culture varies in different nations. At Larus, the fitness staff dedicate themselves to amplifying your workout and try to give you an extra push. They also have a tendency to interrupt your work- outs to correct, comment, or change your form. (Something I found a tad annoying.) Once, while on a bicycle machine, a fitness floor coordinator, in broken English, readjusted my seat and repositioned my knees, which left me uncomfortable, confused, and unable to figure out how he wanted me to move. If you choose the gym path, I cannot stress enough finding a consistent time that works for you. The more reoccur- ring you become, the more recogniz- able you will be, and then the fitness doors start opening from there. However, if gyms just are not your thing, walking, running, and biking can always keep the extra pounds from creeping up on you. Going outside is a great alternative to anything you can find in doors. There will be a ton of things to discovered right outside your backdoor. Jason, one of my apartment mates during my time in Italy, found that going on long runs outside the city was his way to stay fit. “The country side in Italy is one I knew I could not pass up,” he told me. “Once out there, I can run for miles on end and still find something interesting to look at. Viterbo is known for it’s hot springs about 2 kilometers from the city walls so it’s really convenient for me to run there. ” If you’re like Jason, or me, commit- ting yourself to a gym or enjoying In shape, in Italia Photos by Trevor Smith
  25. 25. Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014 the country side out doors, traveling aboard does not have to lead you down a path of unhealthy life choices. Subsequently, nutrition aboard is anoth- er battle you will have to overcome while maintaining your healthy lifestyle. One of the best parts about living in another country is becoming well versed in the local cui- sines. Luckily enough, Viterbo has a number of open-air markets with organic produce, meats, and dairy. Some of us tend to travel or study aboard on a budget so eating out is not the best option. Cook for yourself. Reena, a fellow study aboard student, had this to share about her experience with the open-air market: “Well, I had just learned the Italian word for nectarine which was nettarine. I went to the open-air market, and asked the man, Verrei comprare nettarine (I would like to buy nectarines). Naturally the man spoke back to me in English, ‘Oh nectarines, of course, but what about these peaches, you can leave without these peach- es.’ Va bene (okay), I replied, due pesche (two peaches). Then in quick succession, he listed ‘strawberries, blueberries, zucchini, greenbeens.’ Basta (stop) I spoke, I’ll take the green beans. It was a blast interacting with the local merchant at the open-air market, I was able to utilize my Italian and purchase high quality, nutritious produce for less than 7 euro. I was a tad nervous about my finances while studying in Italy but the markets are so reasonable, it’s ridiculous.” For Reena, Italian culture, finances, and open-air markets worked jointly together all while staying consistent with health foods. Her aboard experience did not have to give into unhealthy or super saturated fats. While studying or traveling aboard, making the effort to stay healthy can improve your experience in a multitude of ways. Your efforts can give you much needed energy, enable you to sleeping better, boost your im- mune system, encourage you to meet people and acquaint you to the area. If you are a health nut at home, like me, staying that way aboard does not have to be difficult. You should not concern yourself with the thought to not expand you mindset. Take the first step, and break out of your comfort zone. I encourage you to accept the challenge. “Selfies” in Italy by Trevor Smith
  26. 26. Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014 By Reena Spansail My eyes strayed like hungry alley cats to the lump of pink rubber at my feet. One swift movement, and I could fix it all. One furtive snatch, and I could make it right. But no, my drawing teacher had made his stance on erasers very clear. Erasers were crutches for cowardly, unconfident, and frustrated doodlers who got overly attached to “correctness.” So I told my ego to take a hike and hunkered down to draw the tower in front of me, trying desperately to ignore the wrong angle of the gothic window that had given me such grief. I stepped back from myself, and ex- amined the drawing and my hunched, angry person with critical eyes trained by the best art historians and artists my university could offer me. It wasn’t half bad. In fact, it was definitely an improvement on yesterday’s baroque church. However, there was a certain dullness to the lines and lackluster in the shading. I shook my head at myself, finally understanding why I was so frustrated. I was bored, and boredom is to art what subdivisions are to frolicsome, fertile hill coun- try: slow death by whitewash. I grew petulant once more. How, how could I be bored with art in Italy, the country that had spent millennium defining the standard? If the museums, architec- ture, and sculpted busts of a thousand heroes and gods could not inspire me, then what was my fate when I returned to the Nevada desert? I was ruined forever, surely; an artist broken before she had even begun. It was with this attitude that I ap- proached our first field trip as a study abroad group comprised of U.S. stu- dents taking classes in Viterbo, Italy. Rome, the eternal city, was calling my name, but I replied weakly, unsure if even Rome in all its glittering finery could awaken the petulant beast of inspiration within my breast. Our first stop was St. Peter’s Basilica. As our guide led us through the dull bronze doors, my heart leapt into my ears, drowning out the garbled sounds of praise and awe my throat was mak- ing. What should I be looking at? The ceiling? Yes, but only for a moment, because look, there was the floor with the piece of inlaid red marble that had been here before the church was even built! Marble that St. Peter surely must have stepped on! Wait, no, I must look at all the statues…good grief, was that bronze? It looked exactly like sweep- ing golden drapery falling from an an- gles wing. The kind guide herded us, her little lost lambs, into a side chapel. “This is one you aren’t going to want to miss: Michelangelo’s Pietà, the only work he ever signed. I stared at the carved-milk depiction of the newly dead Christ, spread across his mother’s knees. The virgin’s face was so young and so fragile. The guide was pointing out the perfect triangle composition and the brilliant drapery What makes a masterpiece? Photos by Reena Spansail
  27. 27. Vivere: Within the Walls 28 giugno 2014 that covered the Virgin’s anatomically impossible lap. These were things that I, as a practicing artist, should listen to and learn. But I was too swept up into the emotion of the piece. Christ was dead. How could I care about perfect proportions and marble-smoothing techniques when there, in front of me, was sorrow incarnate? Later, after my revelry had fallen, I began once again to itch. The beautiful slabs of marble and bronze depicting papal lives, deaths, and dismember- ments started to blur together into one great twelve ton mass of ego, pomp, and money. I began to think about all the hungry mouths a single statue’s cost could have fed. Beauty was all around me, and yet I felt cold and slightly angry and the opulence. As I exited the basilica, I turned around for one last look at the dome, tower- ing high above all of Christendom, and sent up a silent prayer to the patron saint of artists, St. Catherine of Bologna. Maybe she could help me understand how such beauty and talent could make me feel so frustrated. Surely, I would have no problems in Florence. Florence was not full of twisted baroque or flat medieval mosaics. Florence was the heart of the Renaissance, and the Uffizi Galley its soul. Now you’ve heard of the Lou- vre, with tits famed smiling lady, and the Vatican Museum’s Sistine chapel, but the Uffizi gallery was the altar towards which I had been progressing during my art pilgrimage in Italy. It was everything I had dreamed of, but also with baggage, because three hours in, I had a hard time getting excited about Titian’s Venus of Urbino and Parmigiano’s Madonna of the Long Neck. These were just another couple of masterpieces, in a city that boasted over 10,000. What chance did they have among the rest? Coming out of the Uffizi was like waking up from a particularly pleasant yet repetitive dream, and just as you try to recall the details of who, when, where and why, they slip through the cracks like water. I al- ready felt like I had seen nothing but shadows of greatness, not the great- ness itself. As I walked away, I held my heart tightly, telling myself that all art is ephemeral in relation to its audi- ence, and that nothing gold can last. Vatican City, part two. I was prepared for disap- pointment and ephemer- ality this time. I would go in, see the Sistine Chapel, let my being ache and break with beauty for five minutes, and then I would come back to earth, feeling just as uninspired and overwhelmed as before. I took my place in the throng of a thousand fellow art lovers and waited to be ushered into the dimly lit hall of wonders. There was God, separating light from dark. There was Adam, being made. There was Eve, damning them to nakedness and pain forever. My eyes danced from one end of the great expanse to the next, taking it all in. Sighing, I began to follow the small grandmother in a kerchief in front of me. But then I stopped, and looked up again. As a painter, I always struggle with keeping a consistent, perfect light source. What had Michelangelo done? I followed shadows on drapery, faces, arms and legs until I came to the spark that illuminated Adam’s face. I broke into a smile, marveling at Michelan- gelo’s brilliance. I kept searching for light; just to be sure I had not missed some other source. Sure enough, from the north side of the chapel, on the wall with the fresco of the Last Judgment, a halo of painted light sur- rounded Christ’s risen face. The light carried until it met with Adam’s spark, and grew brighter as it bathed the rest of the painted figures in soft yellow, causing blue shadows to blossom beneath their arms, underneath their feet, and in the intimate folds of their clothing. As I boarded my train back to Viter- bo, my new home in this foreign land, I could not rub the smile from my face that the light had planted there. At last, I understood what it took to separate a masterpiece from its brethren. Finally I could breathe in art and not ex- hale, but rather let the oxygen fill my bloodstream and stay there. I had been trying so hard to be inspired by the Italy that I had forgotten to stop, wait, and let it bathe me in its own warm, soft, rose-colored light.

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