Aperitivo at the Chigi Palace


Layout of the food we provided


Some of the girls at the Aperitivo dinner in the kitchen

Yesterday, May 22, we spent the day visiting the schools in Ariccia.  The two schools we visited were The Bernini Primary School which is children ages 6 to 10, and then also the James Joyce High School.  Once we were at the primary school we were able to observe some of the classroom activites that the children particpated in during the day.  When we got to the high school we were spilt into groups and were able to have conversations with individuals who were either in their 1st or 4th year of high school.  Everyone we spoke to was excited to practice their English and to have the oppurtunity to ask questions.  We also attempted to speak Italian but had much more difficultly than they did speaking a different language.

After visiting the schools we hosted our first aperitivo function at the palace.  When we were done visiting the schools we each came back to prepare our dish for later that night.  Many of the students created a traditional Italian aperitivo dish to serve to each other and our guest.  Some of the dishes included bruschetta, nutella and fruit, olive dip, and different selections of meats.  Other students brought Italian pastries and dessert dishes that they found at the local surrounding stores, such as pound cakes, and wine cookies, (some of the foods you can see in the picture above).  After the food was prepared and ready to be served, everyone within the palace got themselve ready for the night.  Our guest started to show up around 7:30 PM and the mingling began between each of our guest and ourselves.  There were many guest invited, some of the guest that were invited we had previous interactions with, some we were meeting for the first time.  We had a special surprise as the Prince of Begium showed up to our aperitivo as a guest.  As soon as the guest started to arrive, our food started to dissappear.  The food each of us created and/or brought was a hit and by the end of the night the food was almost completely gone.  Our event was successful in meeting local members of the Ariccia community.

By: Christine Schwartz

Scavenger Hunt "Competition"

IMG_2153Since being involved with this Italy Abroad Program, I have had the most enjoyable time during the scavenger hunt. I have never laughed so hard in my whole entire life. At the same time it was very challenging. I got to know some of the group members better, and I also got to learn how to work with them. I had an incredible opportunity to learn my weaknesses and strengths as well as my own ability to work with others. Especially when it comes to getting lost or worn out by the end of the day. It was exciting getting to see all of Rome. Everyone couldn’t stop saying how much fun everyone was having even when we were worn out and exhausted from running around Rome. At one point we got lost in the Roman Forum trying to find the oval fountain. We were so tired and frustrated, but at the same time we couldn’t help but laugh and joke about it. My favorite part of the day was discovering, in my opinion, the most beautiful part of Rome. It was on the other side of the Tiber River consisting of many markets and a beautiful square that had a fountain, delicious restaurants, and Italian music. The picture I have posted is located close to the town. Our group decided the night before that we were going to finish the scavenger hunt in one day. Through out that day we became even more determined to be the first ones to finish and try to finish it faster than any other group. It turns out that we finished the scavenger hunt in 4 ½ to 5 hours, which turns out to be a record. It was an absolute pleasure working together with the girls in my group. It was the most I had laughed in a long time and it was definitely an adventure.

By: Addison Roberts

The Start of a Great Summer



The long awaited time finally came and we made it to Italy! The first week was a whirlwind and I can’t believe it is already over! The first week we were here gave us a really good idea of what the rest of the summer will be like, amazing.  The food we have already eaten and the places we have already visited are unlike anything most of us have ever experienced before.

The first night that we arrived in Ariccia we ate at a small local restaurant and were able to have a little taste of the local cuisine from around this area.  After a much needed full night of sleep, we started our second day bright and early with classes to meet and get to know our professors and lecturers for the rest of the semester.  Cinzia Bracalente is our program facilitator and I don’t think any of us could do much of anything without her.  Roberta Londi is the brains of the program and the events and trips she has planned out for the summer is just one thing after the next to look forward to.

Day three was our first field trip day to all of the other parts of the Castelli Romani.  These include Grottoferrata, Nemi, Albano, Genzano, and Frascati, just to name a few.  Each one of these towns had its own unique aspects. Frascati, for example, is famous for white wine and now we know why! Nemi is famous for its strawberries, which are miniature and much sweeter than the ones we are used to in America.  I think we will all be making a trip back to Nemi for some more strawberry tarts before the summer is over. The day ended for me when I tripped over a curb and broke my foot in Genzano. It was a pretty place nonetheless! The hospital in Albano was not one of our scheduled stops on the field trip, but unfortunately it is where I ended my day, getting a cast and crutches in another country is no fun! Italy is not very handicap-accessible but we are making the best of it and I will be back on my feet in just three short weeks!

Overall, I would not change anything about our first week of our trip.  If we have already done this much in six days, I can’t wait to see what is in store for us for the rest of the summer! Ciao!

Strawberry tarts in Nemi

Strawberry tarts in Nemi



Beautiful store fronts in Nemi

By: Katie Pantesco

Week one…Check!

This weekend around the palace and the apartment, we have been catching up on our sleep from the action packed first week and exploring the town of Ariccia and the neighboring town Albano. Today, Monday, was our first day of classes for the second week. In the first part of our classes today we went to a fresh market that sells fresh fruits and vegetables. This market was equivalent to a farmer’s market in America.
Next, we had our second lesson of “Survival Italian” with Lanie Dakin. In this class time we went into local coffee shops and convenient stores and put to use our Italian phrases we learned in the past week.
Italian class is not the only lecture that we are putting to use outside the classroom. Our lectures from Professor Francesco Petrucci and Roberta Londi on The Grand Tour will prove extremely useful on our excursion to Rome at the end of this week. In these classes we learned exactly why it is that Rome is such a historical city and how fortunate we are to be living here for the summer.
Today was also a day for firsts. We had our first cooking lesson with Chef Amedeo Paoloni. We are lucky to be in the presence of Chef Amedeo Paoloni, the chef at a local delicious restaurant we dined at for our arrival dinner. In this time, we observed Chef Paoloni while he prepared risotto with bacon and artichoke hearts. We gathered around in the palace kitchen, taking in the aroma, asking questions, and jotting down cooking tips. When the meal was complete, we excitedly began to eat and never put down the fork. After the risotto, we had nutella and creme iced cake for dessert. These dishes were delicious, yet simple, hopefully something we can replicate at home and impress our families!

Chef Amedeo Paoloni preparing our group lunch.

Chef Amedeo Paoloni preparing our group lunch.

The finished product! Rosoto with bacon and artichoke.

The finished product! Rosoto with bacon and artichoke.

By: Caitlin Page

Arrivederci America! Ciao Ariccia!


The entire group on top of Rocca di Papa.

After months of anticipation, the summer 2013 term in Ariccia has begun. This semester, the Joseph S. Bruno Auburn Abroad in Italy program has 24 participants- all female students. Unlike any semester before, we have our first transit student from the University of Alabama. It is a joy to share this amazing program with other universities, and we hope to have more in the future.

Upon arrival in Ariccia on Tuesday May 7th, we were welcomed at the airport by program facilitator Cinzia Bracalente. At Chigi Palace, we arrived to Linda Cain Ruth and Roberta Londi and were given our rooming assignments. After having orientation at the palace, we had our first taste of Italy- a porchetta sandwich, which was delicious. All 24 students plus the professors and program advisors ate at L’Osteria del Gusto, and were able to meet one another and get a feel for what the next three months were going to be like. It was in true Italian fashion, with the antipasti, two exquisite pasta dishes, and dessert.

On the second day we had orientation and “Survival Italian” class with Lanie Dakin. Lanie Dakin was a former Auburn University student who studied abroad with the program in 2003, and moved back to Italy in 2006. She is now married and expecting her first child. After lunch, Francesco Petrucci, the Curator of the Chigi Palace and Museum gave us a tour of the Chigi Park. Maurizio Antonini provided us a history of the program and gave a more in depth introduction to Ariccia.

On day three, we toured the Castelli Romani. The Castelli Romani is a region outside of Rome that consists of small Italian towns around Lake Nemi and Lake Albano.

The tour began with a hike on an ancient Roman Road that reaches from the top of the Montecavo to Rome.  Once we walked down the mountain, we arrived in Rocca di Papa, where we were able to look out over the Castelli Romani. We then visited Castel Gandolfo, which is where the Pope has his summer home. Following that, we toured the Abbey in Grottoferrata and had lunch in Frascati, who is known for their white wine. The next town in the Castelli Romani we visited was Nemi, which is renowned for the strawberries. The last stop on the tour was Genzano.

On Friday Roberta Londi and Linda Cain Ruth went over our potential practicum placements, which are going to be incredible. Getting to see how our majors in Human Science differ and parallel with careers in Italy will be interesting and quite the honor. Francesco Petrucci gave a tour of the Chigi Palace “Le Stanze del Cardinale”- the Cardinal’s rooms. One of the major aspects of this program is diving into the culture and becoming a part of the community. That is why our last outing of the day was to Albano, in order to learn the transportation system, under the direction of Cinzia Bracalente.

So far this program has exceeded any of our expectations. We keep pinching ourselves that we are in Italy, and this is not a dream. I can only imagine it to get more spectacular from here on out.

By: Avery Myrick