Memories That Will Last Lifetime

Well, I really don’t know where to start! This summer has been absolutely amazing. I’ve had to opportunity to come back to Ariccia with the Joseph S. Bruno program for the second time; this time as the GTA. It’s been a pleasure getting to know each and every one of the girls here. It’s been a great group of girls. I could not have asked for a better way to spend my summer. Although we have been quite busy with classes and field trips and other travels, I feel like I’ve been able to connect with each of the girls in some way.

Roomies for the summer. Love each and every one of these girls!

Roomies for the summer. Love each and every one of these girls!

Throughout the summer we have all had the opportunity to travel to many different places. It really is unreal the amount of sites we see and places we get to go in just 3 months! Some of the places I’ve traveled outside of the program are: Paris, Dubrovnik (Croatia), Bari (Italy), Venice, a ranch in Tuscany, Istanbul (Turkey), Izmir (Turkey), Olympia (Greece), and Santorini (Greece). It is hard to say which destination was my favorite because I love a part of all of them, but if I had to choose, I think I will have to say Santorini! Santorini was beautiful and very relaxing. The views were breathtaking. This was my last weekend of travel before heading back to the U.S. and it was without a doubt a great way to end the summer!

The view of the sunset from our house.

The view of the sunset from our house.

This entire study abroad experience had been incredible. Each day we travel as a group and separately on the weekends, I remind myself to stop and take in every moment. It’s not everyday that I get to be a part of these unbelievable places. I’ve learned to appreciate life and time even more. Life and time are so precious and it’s important to live each day to the fullest and soak up every moment of every single day, hour, minute and second! I loved this program the first time I came as a student, but I appreciate and have a deeper love for this amazing program after coming back a second time. It has taught me so many things and I feel like it has done the same for the group that is here this summer. I’ve seen these girls grow in different way throughout the summer, and I think that’s one of the beauties of the Joseph S. Bruno Auburn Abroad in Italy program. It truly is a life-changing experience and a once in a lifetime opportunity! I’m very thankful and blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of this unbelievable program not only once, but twice! These are memories that will last a lifetime!

Some of my favorite people! Each holds a very special place in my heart! (Cinzia- Program Facilitator, Francesco- History of Italian Architecture and Director of Chigi Palace, Roberta- Program Coordinator)

Some of my favorite people! Each holds a very special place in my heart! (Cinzia- Program Facilitator, Francesco- History of Italian Architecture and Director of Chigi Palace, Roberta- Program Coordinator)

By: Margaret Anne Albritton

The Final Stretch

A group of girls inside the Colosseum during one of our many wonderful field trips!

A group of girls inside the Colosseum during one of our many wonderful field trips!

As the weeks continue to go by it is becoming sad to see our wonderful European adventure come to an end. Chigi Palace, or what started out, as the “unknown” has quickly become our home away from home. We have been in Ariccia for eleven weeks now and have just about nine days left. The twenty-four students have gotten to see more cities, works of art, and churches than we ever could have imagined possible. Each week brought a new adventure and a new idea or place to explore.

As a group we started out having to get to know each other fairly quickly, but that did not stop us from all becoming new best friends and traveling to the most wonderful places together.

The group has had the privilege of visiting the magnificent cities of Florence, Rome, Pompeii, Orvieto, Venice, Cinque Terre, and Positano, along with many others. Many students, separately, have visited outstanding places over the weekends including Barcelona, London, Paris, Greece, Brussels, Austria, Turkey, Croatia, and Germany. The options really are endless here!

We have spent a great deal of our time in class as well throughout this summer, but do not worry; our classes have been filled with interesting professors and topics. We have taken courses including, but not limited to topics such as: filmmaking, art history, wine tasting, mythology, and fashion. What may not have been covered throughout the courses was presented by the students in a separate course through personal presentations, which included topics such as: the Italian economy, school system, futbol, and the Italian government.

As the summer begins to draw to a close I think it is safe to say that this is perhaps the best summer of our lives. We have been given the wonderful opportunity to visit so many magnificent and historical places. Furthermore, we have been fortunate to have weekends free so that we can further expand our cultural knowledge and visit many other countries throughout Europe. It is sad to see this summer end, but I am confident that the memories made will last us all a lifetime!

View overlooking Ariccia!

View overlooking Ariccia!

Leslie Kimball

You, Me and Capri

I would like to preface by stating that this blog post will not even begin to bring justice to the amazing weekend we spent this past weekend in Positano and Capri. Twenty-two out of the twenty-four girls in our group decided to partake in the program sponsored optional field trip to Positano, and it was by far one of the best weekends I have had. We arrived in Positano Friday around 11 in the morning, eager to get to the beach we changed right away into our swim suits and we were lucky enough to have a hotel on the beach where all we had to do was walk outside and be on the beach. We spent hours in the ocean enjoying the beautiful view we had of Positano. Although the waters were a clear blue, using goggles enhanced the beauty and gave us the opportunity to explore the waters we were swimming in. That night the whole group got together to enjoy a great group dinner at the hotel overlooking the ocean.

Restaurant at our hotel where we are dinner Friday night

Restaurant at our hotel where we are dinner Friday night


Saturday morning we woke up early to travel to Capri via the ferry. When we arrived to Capri we immediately got on private boats that took us on a tour around the Island and to the Blue Grotto, which was amazing. At lunch in Capri we had a “War Eagle” moment as we ran into the head of the Auburn University Medical Clinic.

Katie Pantesco, Olivia Carmicheal, Leslie Kimball, Emily Jennings, and Elle Darby.

Katie Pantesco, Olivia Carmicheal, Leslie Kimball, Emily Jennings, and Elle Darby.


The Blue Grotto in Capri, Italy

The Blue Grotto in Capri, Italy

The last night some of us decided to stay up for a late night swim in the Mediterranean while others opted to wake up early to be kayaking for the sunrise. This was such an amazing weekend; I could not have imagined it going any better. While the summer is winding down I am honored I have had the opportunity to spend it in this beautiful country with such an amazing group of women.

By: Emily Jennings


It’s a Girl!

The Joseph S. Bruno Auburn Abroad in Italy Program has equipped us with everything we need for the best study abroad experience possible. One major asset they have given to us is the staff. Every lecturer and director has impacted all of us in deeply positive ways. As beneficiaries of their wisdom and support, we students do our best to show them our appreciation.

This week our group shed some thanks on our Program Director Roberta Londi. Since Roberta and her husband Stefano are expecting their first child, a girl, in October, we organized a baby shower for her. Baby showers are not an Italian custom, so we attempted to make Roberta’s as authentic as possible. To start the festivities we played a few games. First, each of us cut string to a length we estimated Roberta’s pregnant stomach to be. It was very silly, but lots of fun! Next, we asked Roberta a series of baby-related questions that her husband had already answered. She first guessed Stefano’s answers and then gave her own. It was funny to hear what she thought Stefano had said! Then we had Roberta open all the gifts we had gotten her. She “oohed” and “ahhed” at each present with gratitude. Finally, we headed to the kitchen where we had decorated with pink tablecloths and posters. Each of us had helped make finger foods and we even had a stroller-shaped cake!

We used this baby shower as a unique way to show Roberta how thankful we are for her. She means a lot to each of us, and we hope she felt that through this shower for her.

By: Caroline Given

All the students pose with Roberta at her American-style baby shower.

All the students pose with Roberta at her American-style baby shower.


Lending a Hand

Italy has so much to offer for anyone with a major in the College of Human Sciences. There is the latest fashion, beautiful art, lavish hotels, and delicious food. However, aside from eating the endless pasta and pizza, we have had few field trips related to my nutrition major. So when I found out we had a whole day in Rome devoted to food, hunger, and healthy living, I was more than excited.

Our group began the day by visiting the Food and Agriculture Organization. The FAO is a non-profit organization whose mission is to insure that people have access to high-quality food to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. We had a short presentation and learned the shocking statistic that over 870 million people struggle with food insecurity. The visit illustrated that hunger is a problem but made me thankful that there are organizations such as FAO that are trying to find a solution.

Following our visit to FAO, we went to Eataly for a lunch break. The best way to describe Eataly is the “Disney World of Italian food.” Eataly offers quality products that are all from different areas of Italy. We were all in awe when we walked through the doors. There was fresh produce, meat, and gelato galore! We all divided and enjoyed our delicious lunches and even made a few purchases to take back to the states.

After lunch, we loaded the bus and headed to Caritas. Caritas is a homeless shelter in Rome that provides a hot dinner to over 500 people daily. As a way to give back to Rome and Italy, we volunteered to serve the meal for the night. Some of us wore hairnets and gloves and placed food on plates while others waited tables and talked as best we could with the people. We even had a few girls pass out towels and razors in the dormitory where some people stay.

For the past three months, we have been living the dream and adventuring all through Europe. We have everything we need, plus more, all at our fingertips. Serving at the shelter helped put things back into perspective and to not take even the littlest things for granted. The experience reminded me that life is not all about me and made me even more grateful for the amazing opportunity I have been given to study abroad this summer.

Caitlin, Kathryn, Leslie, Shelby, and Cinzia get ready to serve dinner at Caritas.

Caitlin, Kathryn, Leslie, Shelby, and Cinzia get ready to serve dinner at Caritas.

By: Abby Fox

Not your average July 4th

Last week we had an exciting array of activities to enjoy both in Ariccia and outside. We had class on Monday and Wednesday. On Tuesday we went to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters, which is located in Rome. It was fascinating to hear them tell us about the variety of food related problems our planet faces. I had no idea that lack of food and over consumption of food are both categorized as “malnutrition”. I had my expert and reminder on an aspect of FAO that I was not aware of before I began to research. Auburn University actually works closely with FAO in the development of the Universities Fighting Hunger movement. Auburn is the leading University in the fight on hunger in the world. I was amazed that my wonderful university is reaching to make such an impact on the world. Wednesday night we celebrated the fourth of July because we were traveling on the fourth. We cooked hamburgers, had watermelon, and all dressed up in our Red, White, and Blue. It was  wonderful being able to celebrate even though we weren’t home this year. On Thursday afternoon, the fourth of July, all of us headed to Cinque Terre for our optional weekend trip. We arrived in the afternoon and had a group dinner that evening. I had so much fun being able to travel with my classmates for a weekend. On Saturday, the majority of us chose to go on a tour to see the colorful houses and explore the towns that make up Cinque Terre. The whole experience was beautiful and I hope to be able to return some day in the future. Overall the last week has been eventful and memorable for all of us!

Written by: Carolyn Fester

IMG_1513View of the colorful houses in Cinqueterre

IMG_1496Rock beach in Cinqueterre






Cinque Terre

This past weekend we had the opportunity to go to Cinque Terre (which means five lands) for one of our optional field trips. I am so glad that I opted to go. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. The six-hour bus ride was well worth every second we were able to spend there. Thursday night we had group dinner at an incredible local restaurant near our hostel. Friday we woke up early and began our optional hike to the first island, Monterosso al Mare. It was pretty intense but the view was a perfect distraction from our sore legs. We spent most of the afternoon hiking and ended that afternoon going for a swim in the crystal blue waters and jumping off the rocks into the ocean. We had dinner in Monterosso al Mare before we made our way back to our hostel. Saturday was another optional day of hiking, which most of us took part in. We started at the furthest town and hiked back. We stopped on each of the five lands, exploring and taking in all the incredible sights. Once we finished at the third land some of the group took the train back and some of the group continued onto the fourth, Vernazza, via hiking a trail through a national park. It was the hardest hike of the weekend but I would do it all over again. It was incredible. The weather was perfect, the view was breathtaking and the experience in general was life changing. We finally made it to the fourth town, where we cooled off in the ocean, had some seafood for dinner and made our way back to the hostel for much needed showers and relaxing! Overall, Cinque Terre was incredible and by far my favorite place I have been fortunate enough to visit so far. I would go back in a heartbeat!


The first night in Levanto


Hiking day one!Hiking day oneHiking day two!Hiking day two


Written By: Shelby Edwards

Rosso, Bianco, e Blu

 Happy Independence Day America!

During the past nine weeks in Italy, we have learned a lot about the Italian culture and history. We have dived into how they eat, live, and interact with one another. As we approach the most important holiday of American history, we are beginning to miss certain things about America. Spending three months in Italy has opened our eyes to the American conveniences that we otherwise take for granted. I know that we will never take for granted free bathrooms, free refills, free water, ice, or air conditioning ever again. However, I think that this study abroad program is a very important life lesson. We learn that people live differently all around the world. For example, Italians lead a relaxed lifestyle compared to the hustle and bustle of Americans. Restaurants are not worried about the turnover rate, instead, they want you to sit and enjoy your meal for hours. I believe that because of our trip, we will have an advantage over other job applicants when entering into the real world. We will have experiences and certain views of the world that not everyone is fortunate to have.

Speaking of different ways to live, this week we had the privilege to serve the homeless at Caritas in Rome. Italy has given us so much this summer and has taught us more than we will ever learn. So it is important for us to give back to Italy. Serving the homeless was a really humbling experience. As I was serving them their last meal of the day, I thought to myself, “Here we are spending thousands of dollars to study in Italy, while these people have nothing”. Although it was difficult seeing these people struggle, everyone really enjoyed serving them and making a difference in their lives.

Because we are traveling to Cinque Terre today. We decided to have our American Fourth of July cookout last night. We cooked hamburgers, corn, devilled eggs, oven roasted potatoes, chips, watermelon, pineapple, and Nutella pies. It was DELICIOUS!

So here’s to you America, adorned in our rosso, bianco, and blu. Happy 4th of July!


Kitchen Crew at Caritas the homeless shelter. Caitlin Page, Kathryn Davis, Leslie Kimball, Shelby Edwards, and Cinzia Bracalente


Fourth of July Cookout


“American” Hamburgers


Written by: Kathryn Davis

Home away from home

Me, Addison, Holly, and Caitlin in Paris our first stop on our midterm break. A beautiful day.

Me, Addison, Holly, and Caitlin in Paris our first stop on our midterm break. A beautiful day.


Me, Lauren, Olivia in Venice one of our favorite places we visited while abroad.

Me, Lauren, Olivia in Venice one of our favorite places we visited while abroad.

It’s hard to believe that we started Week 9 this week, and it’s the beginning of July. It’s truly starting to feel like I live here, in Ariccia, Italy. At the beginning of the second half of our program, after break, students who have had friends previously attend this program described this half as us “gearing up to go home”. This put a bad taste in my mouth, and began to discourage me. I didn’t think I was ready to “gear up” or even think about home, because once you start you can never stop thinking about it. I never thought I would have to deal with homesickness abroad in Italy. I chose this to fill my summer, and I chose this program for very specific reasons. So, why would I ever doubt myself while here? I have discovered that no one understands the struggles one faces while abroad, unless you have been abroad, especially as a college student. Each girl here in the Joseph S. Bruno program chose to study here in Italy for numerous reasons, personally I chose it because I am an Apparel Design major in the College of Human Sciences and we base our studies on all subjects within that college here. Also, I am the first student from a different university, the University of Alabama – Auburn’s rival. However, I have never felt for a second that I was on the outside or different from the rest of the girls. Through the struggles, the up and downs of being abroad, I can truly say I couldn’t have not done without these 24 girls that I’m sharing this experience with. We come from all different backgrounds with different interests, but we all came here to experience something spectacular and it shows that that has been a success. I’m blessed to have experienced it with all of them.

By: Elle Darby


A Weekend in Paradise

For this study abroad program we have the opportunity to travel to so many great places as a group, but was also have the chance to go wherever we would like on the weekends, which is really nice compared to other study abroad programs.  One weekend a group of us decided we wanted to do something different besides going to another well-known big city, so we went to Tuscany.  We asked Roberta to help us find somewhere and she found this great place called Ranch Ricavo.  When we first pulled up to the ranch we saw these three dogs run up to the car so happy to see someone.  I knew this was going to be a great trip right from that very moment.  Silvia and Marco, the owners of the ranch, then introduced us to everyone else who worked there.  It was late, so after that we got dinner. Their food was the best I had ever had.  The next morning we got up super early because we were so excited to play with all the dogs, ride the horses and to just hang out with everyone there.  Having to leave this place was so hard to do because it was so great, so on our way home we decided that we had to go back for another weekend trip before we came back to America.  So a group of us went back for a second trip this past weekend and it felt like we were all at home.  The people and even the animals there are so personable, nice and fun to be around.  Having to leave a second time was even harder than the first because I knew that I would probably never come back and if I do it will be a long time.  Being able to go wherever we would like to on the weekends is one of the reasons I chose this study abroad program and because of that I found this great place that has changed my life forever and for that I am grateful.







By: Avery Carreker