I should start by deeply apologizing for not writing sooner. I have so much to say about Italy and about Siena that I don’t know where to begin. I will try to stick to the basics to give myself a little guidance in enthusiastically describing Italy so far:
1. Arrival in Italy
3. Travels outside of Siena
GOODBYE AMERICA, HELLO ITALY
The journey to Siena started on Janaury 19th in the Charlotte Douglas Airport. I was very excited, but mainly nervous (I was leaving home for a semester…what was I doing?!) Thankfully, however, I had some Wofford comfort to travel with. Natalie Clark and Grace DeMarco are studying in Siena as well, so we arranged to make the trek across the Atlantic together.
Once we were in Siena, we were introduced to our Italian roommates and shown to our apartments. My roommates name is Sam (she’s cool), our Italian roommate is named Giusi (she’s cool too…say her name like “Juicy”…makes her even cooler, right?) Our apartment is a very short walk to the Piazza del Campo, the historical center of the city.
The best part about first arriving in Italy was that we had orientation for two weeks with IES…I was comforted knowing that I would have ample time getting acquainted with my new Italian life. Highlights of orientation were visiting a the museum of a contrada in Italy, and being whisked away to a wine tasting in Tuscany!
A contrada is like a neighborhood in Siena. If you have heard anything about Siena, it is probably about the Palio, a horserace dating back to medieval times, where 10 horses compete in a 90 second race around the Piazza del Campo. There are 17 contradas in Siena (think neighborhood, but on steroids…a person is baptized into a contrada and is part of that contrada for the rest of their life). Each contrada has an immense amount of pride, and we learned it is a very, very emotional if your contrada wins the Palio.
I think it is safe to say that everyone’s favorite part of orientation was an authentic Tuscan wine tasting at Il Ciliegio vineyard. We were given a tour of the facility and taught how the wines were made…and best of all…allowed to try several different wines.
AND WE’RE OFF…AGAIN
It didn’t take long for a group of girls from our program to take a day trip to Florence, and a weekend trip to Rome. We stayed in Siena for a weekend, and that was great to pause and reflect on the wonderful city that we were living in, but the travel bug has definitely bitten us all. We want to explore all we can of what Italy has to offer over the next semester (and of course, outside of Italy as well).
There is so much more that I could talk about while I’ve been in Italy, but I feel this is a good summary of everything so far. Be on the lookout for updates on food, school, life in Siena, etc.
Can’t wait to tell you more!