Monday, October 03, 2011

Rocco C. - Perugia, Italy - Fall 2011

The first night I arrived in Perugia we went to a hotel where I met many of my now good friends. Honestly, I was upset because Perugia did not look any different from the town I live in now. That was until a few friends and I decided to go and explore out surroundings. After finding having our first glasses of wine in Italy, we decided to go through this arch, which I now know as L’arc di Susana. Walking through this enormous piece of Etruscan architecture, I realized that this was where I needed to be. The narrow streets were lined with four story high renaissance designed buildings; all of them were painted different colors from orange to yellow and green. We followed this wonderful smell through these narrow streets at two o’clock in the morning to find this bakery which was tucked away in a back alley selling delicious paninis and fresh baked cornettos. We later found out that this was one of Perugia’s many “secret bakeries”. This was what I imagined Perugia to be.
The town here is wonderful! There is so much history and architecture that surrounds ever piazza. One of my favorite places to visit is the underground city under Piazza D’Italia. Our apartment is kind of a hike, literally, to our classes. It only takes less than 10 minutes from door to door but it is all uphill. All the store owners are all very helpful and will teach you how to correctly say certain words in Italian but politely. Honestly, as long as you try to speak a little Italian, they will help you. This town is a place that I consider my home and I would love to come back and live here. If you are looking for a less touristy and hometown feeling, this is the place for you!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sounds absolutely amazing! I'm studying in Oxford this coming spring but hoping to travel. Did you get to travel in Italy? If so, where were the best places? How easy was traveling?

-Diana Forsberg

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sounds like such a great experience! I'm glad you were able to find a place with less of an emphasis on tourism. I will be studying in Florence next spring and hopefully I will be able to visit Perugia! I'm glad that you mentioned that store owners are helpful with the language because I know very little. I plan on learning more before I come, however, it is a relief that I will not be completely lost. Have you started classes yet? If so, what are you taking and what are the class sizes like?

Best of luck!

Megan Cline

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Loved reading about your trip so far! I’m going to be studying in Rome this coming Spring Semester! have you traveled within Italy or outside of the country? If so, was it difficult? That’s one thing i’m really looking forward to! It’s so reassuring to read about your trip because I was worried about the language barrier. How are the classes so far?

Enjoy the rest of your trip!
- Carly Pizzitola

6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad your trip is going so well already! It's nice to hear that you can find interesting sights to see even in a city that doesn't seem quite so different from the US. I'll be studying in a small town in France and was concerned about finding places that I can really feel like I'm in a new world. Have you been hanging out with any of the local Italians?

-Sarah Consoer

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello All!
This is just a general answering to all of your questions so I can get it all in one shot, and I am sure this will help.

I hang out with the local people all the time! You just need to put yourself out there and invite people to dinner (whom you trust and are not alone when this happens). I know several bar and store owners and many only speak Italian so my Italian is improving SIGNIFICANTLY and I also get free drinks and food all the time now! Don't be afraid to talk with people and don;t let the language barrier scare you, it is not the end of the world and the point usually gets across.

My classes are fantastic. However, you have to realize that this is still STUDY abroad. I literally read (and i know because i added it up yesterday) about 800-900 pages a week total. this includes lit books, articles, history and psych. I am taking an Italian language class, History of food in Italy (the teacher is this energetic British fellow), a lit class (we read a book a week nothing less than 300 pages), human development class (the teacher is really cool and i might be interning with him after Elmhurst college!) and i was blessed enough to receive an internship here with a cultural psychologist (can you tell I'm a psych major?). all these classes are really shaping me into a better person professionally and culturally as well as my experiences outside the school and all my admin people here are fantastic and good friends.

TRAVELING ROCKS! here are some things to know though: if the trains are 15 minutes late they are early; Italians LOVE to go on transportation strikes which is most unfortunate for time but you get used to it (they even have a website detailing when these strikes will happen and the admin will also send out an email); that being said about being late, the transportation system is very temperamental and i have frequently, and literally, jumped onto moving buses. just always give yourself enough time to travel and bring something to read (which you will most certainly have for hw). I have traveled alone a few times and will be doing so again to Milan and this weekend I am going to Geneva with my girlfriend so that should be fun! Again, always plan ahead, assume things will be late but give yourself ample amount of time to get to places as well. I had a connection at a train station that was only 4 minutes to get from one end of the station to another.

6:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Places I have gone:
ASSISI (really cool and sells crossbows and is still fairly religious)
SPOLETO (has an awesome fort at the top of this hill and a HUGE aqueduct)
CINQUE TERRE (honestly, if there is one place to go in Italy, it is here. It is a series of five towns on this coast line where you can hike to each town (we hiked 15 miles that day on cliff side, it was awesome), each town has their own specialities from foccia to pesto. I would suggest going on a warm weekend because it will be hot to walk but the water is so concentrated with salt, you flot very very close to the surface and it is BEAUTIFUL!)
LA SPEZIA (essentially, this is liek the north side of Chicago (i grew up in Chicago so idk if this makes sense) but there is taller buildings, little parks and everything is flat unlike Perugia)
PISA (see the tower, stay at Hostel Pisa and you will see why when you go, it is cheap and the people rock! and 1.50 appirtivo (which you will learn what that is when you get here) but the most amazing part was the cathedral next to the leaning tower. honestly, this is arguably the most beautiful architectural piece of history i have ever seen)
FLORENCE (the one of you who is going to florence you are in for a treat! There is this pace Vivoli which is the best geleteria in the world and the Diner sells american food! not the same but good. the Duomo is beautiful and you should climb the bell tower, see the medieval churches, pontevecchio and the leather markets. Get this thing called the Amici Uffici (friends of the Uffici) because for 40 euro, you get a year long pass to all the museums (minus the duomo and the david which you need passes to) and go to the Pitti Palace, rivals of the Medici family before the medici took over control of florence in the renaissance)

SO! Now i have given you a lot information to digest. I could go into detail a lot more if you want about specific places to email me

I will be glad to answer more questions and give you tips on travel, food or fun! just let me know!

6:55 AM  
Anonymous Andriy D. said...

Your experiance sounds amazing. How did you cope with cultural shock?

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post, it really helps me get a better idea of the different culture! Speaking of culture, I'm assuming that you went through some culture shock, even if it was minimal. Was there anything that you thought was specifically different or tough to deal with? And how did you cope with the differences? Did you have to make huge adjustments or just go with the flow?

Thanks for your help!

Megan Cline

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see that you all are working hard on the culture shock assignment ;)
As far as the shock goes, I didn't real feel anything different. If I did have a shock, it was minimal and more of a 'well that's weird'. One time that sticks out in my mind was when I was rifling through the produce, like one would in an American super market, and this lady came by and glared at me. I said ‘ciao, come stai?’ first mistake, I addressed her in the informal tone. She then raised her hand, I honestly though she was going to hit me so I braced myself, and she handed me a plastic glove because apparently you need one to touch the food.
Another thing was that everything here is very chill and the Italians do not move fast; there is slow, then there is reverse; You always need to address elders in a very formal tone (which is a whole other set of words); if you are not running up the escalators you have to stand to the right so those who ARE anxious can get by; sometimes you have to pack like sardines on trains; keep your hands in your pockets in markets and train stations because I literally hand to grab someone’s hand so that they don’t steal my wallet.
I just came back from Switzerland and, although it is very globalized, you still need to speak French in the formal tone. Just be aware of your surroundings. I guess that part took a while because I had to make a conscious effort to act like the other Italians. When in Rome…

12:13 PM  

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