Tortoise on the Move

Destination: Italy

  • Italy
    Il Duomo of Siena

    Il Duomo, Siena

    I studied Italian Language and Cinema in Italy in the summer of 2012. Our course was based in Siena where we had the privilege to participate in homestays with host families. In Siena, neighborhoods are broken up into smaller communities known as contrade (s. contrada). We lived in Istrice (Porcupine) with our host mom, Paola; however, she remained loyal to the Torre (Tower) contrada where she grew up. Twice every summer, the ten of the seventeen contrade compete in the Palio, a grand pageant followed by a bareback horse race around the Piazza del Campo. Being able to attend the Palio was a crazy and wonderful experience. Having a “home base” in Siena while we traveled on weekends was also an interesting part of the trip. We were able to experience Siena in a more thorough way than visitors who only come for the Palio days filled with pageantry and chaos. Our weekend trips, however short, were still chock-full of Italian cultural and historical sites. I only wish we could’ve stayed in Rome longer than a weekend, but I guess that just means I’ll have to go back. Continue reading →

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