Study Abroad in
Facciamo un giro.
Tra i vòlti, nei parchi, sulle strade e in campagna, vado alla deriva in bicicletta. Mi sono perso di proposito per conoscere meglio La Cittá delle Biciclette. Mentre calibravo la mia mappa mentale, mi sono reso conto che il mio tempo qua é limitato, ma i miei limiti non sono parte di questo tempo. Le traiettorie delle mongolfiere.
Let's go for a spin.
Between the vaults, in the parks, on the streets and around the countryside, I go about by bike. I purposefully lost myself to become better familiar with the City of Bicycles. While I calibrated my mental map, I realized that my time here is limited, but that my limits are not part of this time. The trajectories of hot air balloons.
Canzone / Song:
Il Viaggio by Gianmaria Testa
This initiative proved to be so successful amongst students last semester that we decided to make it a regular event. Students are introduced to the game of BOCCE, first with a video introduction that illustrates different playing styles in Europe and the States, different types of throws, and how the game has developed and spread through Italy until today.
Our host and teacher was a young man, Andrea, who is in fact a promising champion in the field.
After the video, an aperitivo followed by lunch, it was time to start playing. Andrea taught everyone some of the basic throws, bocciata and raffa, and then we had a competition with commemorative medals for everyone and cups for the male and female winners.
Colin from the University of Colorado at Boulder before leaving Ferrara put together a blog aimedat students who were coming to Ferrara for the first time.
You will find a guide of what to do every day of the week called Sette giorni a Ferrara, and a few other interesting information and photos.
Click on the link below to read Colin's blog . Colin wrote the entire blog in Italian, no problem for those of you that already know the language, a little challenge for the others, get your dictionary and have fun translating.
Last night was our final dinner for the Spring 2011 semester, and Kimberly, who stayed with us for 2 consecutive semesters, sent us a few lines on her experience in Ferrara.
The last nine months have been amazing. I've met fabulous Americans and Italians, been a part of a wonderful family, traveled to breath-taking places, eaten far too much delicious food and not felt at all bad about it. I came here knowing how to say "I'm hungry," and "May I go to the bathroom?" Now I can converse with Italians about a variety of subjects, even if I can't express my thoughts as eloquently as I would like.
Tonight was my last dinner with my host family. As my host mother was praying before the meal, she made several genuinely sweet statements about being thankful that our paths had crossed and hoping they would do so again. It was all I could do to not cry right there at the table. I will miss this place so much. I will miss 20 minute bike rides to and from class every day. I'll miss going to Bar Tsunami on Tuesday nights and Bar Spisani every day. I'll miss pizza at Alice with gorgonzola and salame piccante. I'll miss Riccardo's incessant, inexplicable, unwavering love and devotion to the Ferrara soccer team SPAL. I'll miss gelato at Rivo Rena with flavors named for Ferrara history. I'll miss the castle and the cathedral and the cobblestone roads. I'll miss spritz frizzante with Aperol for aperitivo at Duca d'Este which is really Osteria Quattro Angeli. I'll miss cappellacci di zucca in butter and sage. I'll miss listening to my host sisters argue. I'll miss my host mother making amazing meals as 'experiments' and then spending the entire dinner talking about how she could make her delectable creations even better. I'll miss talking to Italians about new words I've just learned and seeing them laugh at me like I was a child. I can't say that I'll miss Ferrara bread because I still think it's terrible, but I'll miss how proud the Ferrarese are of it. Likewise I won't miss the nebbia (fog) that chills to the bone, but I will miss seeing the Italians in the piazza scatter like leaves in the wind when the nebbia descends. Even though Venice isn't my favorite city, I'll miss knowing that it's only an hour and half train ride away.
Most of all I'll miss the people I've met. The Americans who share my passion for learning the Italian language and way of life. The Italians who made me feel at home when I was a foreigner, thousands of miles away from my family and friends. I can't imagine having this experience anywhere else. I don't know if or when the course of my life will bring me back to Ferrara, but I feel truly blessed to have been able to call it home for a year.
No matter where I go, Ferrara will always have a special place in my heart.
Per sempre, FORZA SPAL
SPAL is the name of the Ferrara soccer team. The club was funded in 1907 by a Salesian monk, Pietro Acerbis. Initially the club was involved in art, cycling and athletic activities, but in 1912 a soccer branch was started . It was named SPAL “Società Polisportiva Ars et Labor”, its colours were white and light blue, the same as the coat of arms of the Salesian order.
Nowadays SPAL is in the C1 Division, the team is worshipped by its local supporters, better known as spallini. It is an unforgettable experience to savour the atmosphere of a stadium in Italy, our students were invited to take part to this event last Sunday for the SPAL – Sorrento match.
Students joined Riccardo, myself, and many others in the curva ovest (west sector), the traditional spot for all the SPAL supporters. The match ended in nil-nil but the students attending could savour an authentic local experience.
Spring semester offers students the opportunity to go to Sicily for a few days. We left on Wednesday 23 and returned to Ferrara on Sunday 28 February.
Sicily is an island at the centre of the Mediterranean but at the very edge of Europe, which is part of Italy and yet very different in terms of culture, food and natural beauty. But perhaps it is the remarkable history of the island that makes this visit unique.
The strategic importance of Sicily meant that almost all the great civilizations of the west and (and even middle east) have left their mark in architectural treasures that are testimony to a heritage we share.
There are Greek, Roman, Arab, Norman and Spanish remains, in the form of temples and villas, castles and churches, all in the context of strikingly picturesque natural landscape of an island with unspoiled coastline and exotic flora. Probably no other island on earth offers so much in such a limited space.
Highlights from the excursion.
On Thursday 3 February we met at Osteria degli Angeli, located in via delle Volte, the main artery of the medieval part of Ferrara, where we had a wine tasting dinner with excellent wines from Veneto presented by our Sommelier Nicola Zanotti.
Each wine was accompanied by a dish specially selected to enhance the appreciation of the individual wines. There is something about the perfect combination of flavors in wine that can highlight, enhance and harmonize with the flavors in your food: The Bianco Chardonnay Garganega was just perfect for a risotto with radicchio e taleggio and the Amarone della Valpolicella with Brasato e polenta.
Nicola started by explaining that when opening and pouring the wine, one easy mistake to make is filling the glass to the top, we need to only pour about 1/4th of a glassful because it’ is important to have room to swirl and sniff the wine. Next we will have to look at the wine, assessing color, clarity, or viscosity. Then we turn to the aroma of the wine, quoting Nicola “swirling the wine will help to volatilize it so you can smell it better”. At that point we should come up with ways of describing what we are smelling: fruit aromas, earth, wood, smoke, etc. The good news is that there are no right and wrong answers, it is subjective. Finally it’s time to take a small sip and determine its taste. Is it sweet or dry? Is it full bodied? Is it bland or intense? How is the texture of the wine on your palate? Main thing do we like it?
As the dinner went on Nicola show us also the proper way of tasting wine: taking a small sip and moving it around in the mouth for a few seconds before swallowing, and letting it reach the palate, sucking in some air to help further liberate its perfume.
The Jazz club in Ferrara has been voted, by an important national jazz magazine, best venue 2010, and it is certainly a wonderful setting for playing jazz. Located in a fortezza, part of the medieval city walls that surround the city, the Jazz club Il Torrione is a "must do" activity for our newly arrived students.
Last Friday we had the chance to attend one of the finest live performances since the club has opened the winter season. Gregoire Maret has played with artists such as Cassandra Wilson and Herbie Hancock. Last Friday he was performing with its newly formed quartet.
Ferrara greets you with its rather special and peculiar atmosphere, a mix of colours: the green of its parks and secret inner city gardens, the red of the bricks of the walls that surround the town for 9 km, the intense blue of the sky on a spring day, or the soft white mist during a winter day.
Try to visualise yourself walking in front of a perfectly preserved medieval castle, the Castello Estense, whose moat is still filled with water, a sumptuous Cathedral, a harmonious mix of gothic and Romanesque style, wandering in the Jewish ghetto or cycling through the wide streets planned during the Renaissance that earned Ferrara recognition as the first modern city in Europe.
" have come to better understand Italy through the rhythm of everyday life. The melody of the language, the clink of coffee cups in the bar, the day interactions between neighbours, the leisurely pace of a long lunch..."