You Are What You Eataly

Week Nine brought the exciting subject of FOOD and more specifically, the Mediterranean Diet. We learned that the Mediterranean Diet is often held in high esteem due to its low saturated fat, high monounsaturated fat and dietary fiber. The Mediterranean diet affectively incorporates the basics of healthy eating with a traditional cooking style. It usually consist of fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains. We can reap amazing benefits by adopting a few of their practices into our own routines. One of the main aspects of not only the Mediterranean diet, but also the Italian diet, is OLIVE OIL!!

Olive oil is an ingredient that I myself have learned to love (and cook with) during my stay here. As it turns out, studies show that olive oil can actually reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. (Go olives!)

Fresh olives

Fresh olives


The exterior of Eataly

The exterior of Eataly

An interesting trick that our lecturer, June di Schino, shared with us is how to know which olive oil to buy in the supermarket. Olive oil is extremely heat sensitive; so it should always be in a dark green or black container, never in a clear container. This was somewhat disappointing for many of us to discover because when we returned to the kitchen after class for lunch break, we realized that many of us had, unknowingly, been using olive oil from a clear jar.

Luckily, later that same day we made a trip into Rome to visit Eataly, a high-end Italian food market chain that features multiple restaurants and retail items. This was, for many of us, a very exciting experience. The building, a converted train station, now stands as a four stories of sit-down restaurants and fresh ingredients.


The interior of Eataly

The interior of Eataly

After exploring the four stories of food, food, and more food, we all came to the checkout line with full carts- including more olive oil.

Christina Douglass

Bow Cinque Wow Wow!

Week nine abroad in Italy is over and I could not be sadder to see it come to an end. We finished out the week with a weekend trip to Cinque Terre, which, thankfully, Interlinea planned, giving us a nice break from the responsibility of planning our own travel for the weekend! Cinque Terre definitely did not disappoint.ct4View of Manarola in Cinque Terre

I mean, just look at that view! Marco, our amazing hiking guide from the Cinque Terre National Park, helped guide us through this vast and sometimes difficult terrain. Along the way, he taught us about vegetation native to the area, specific herbs used in the Mediterranean diet that are found in Cinque Terre, and historical markers along the pathways, such as abandoned churches from the 15th century! We hiked with him for two days, each view exceeding the last. 

Oh, we also found a little hole in the wall bar featuring an Auburn flag! There it was, just hanging outside the bar, proving the Auburn family is everywhere. War Eagle Cinque Terre!



Not only did we climb trails overlooking the sea and the five towns of Cinque Terre, but we even found time in the afternoon to relax on the beautiful Mediterranean beach in Monterosso and soak up some much needed Vitamin D. The weather in Italy has not been ideal tourist weather and we were all extremely thankful to be blessed with a 70 and sunny weekend! It was almost too good to be true.

Cinque Terre stole our hearts and I know many of us will be returning in the future. This weekend was one of my absolute favorites of studying abroad in Italy.


ct1A few of the students pose for a picture after climbing a huge rock on the coast of the Mediterranean in Monterosso


CIAO for now! – Anna



So many places to go and so many things to see, but there’s nothing better than taking the time to stop and have a cappuccino at some of the world’s most famous and oldest cafés. The Antico Caffe’ Greco located near Piazza di Spagna on the beautiful Via Condotti in Roma is one of the oldest cafés in Italy. It is a historic landmark café which opened in 1760. Spending a few extra euros on a cappuccino and pastry may seem silly to some, but when sitting in an ancient café in Italy, why not, right? In Venice, Caffé Florian is the place to sit outside on Piazza San Marco and overlook the scenic view of Grand Canal to the left and St. Mark’s Cathedral to the right. Caffé Florian is considered to be the oldest coffee house in continuous operation. Observing its fine décor, delectable menu, and ultimate hospitality of the servers, it seems fit for a queen. Lastly, the only thing that makes the Gucci Museum in Florence even better is the Gucci Café inside. Yes, it is way overpriced and you can get the contents of the menu at any other café, but can you get Gucci sugar cubes? You cannot. The Gucci Café is the only place you can purchase many Gucci souvenirs such as the handcrafted Gucci chocolates, Gucci sugar cubes, Gucci cookies, and other perfect little Gucci indulgences.

Antico Caffe Greco

Antico Caffe Greco

IMG_6799 IMG_7037 So, cafés may not be your thing. They may be a waste of time and money, but it’s the little things and life that are appreciated the most sometimes. It’s important to stop and enjoy life’s precious moments at a place that makes you feel special, even if it is just a simple café. I like to indulge every once in a while and cafes are my perfect idea for a happy little get away when I want to relax and have alone time. I am making each moment count and enjoying every second in Italia!
Madeline Headrick

Tormane Forever

11053889_10204542954426471_5076518629961643851_nThe beautiful city of Interlaken, Switzerland

Well, it is just now half way through our semester abroad in Italy and we only have 3 more weeks left in the program before we return to Alabama! A couple of the girls and I decided that this past weekend we would make the trip to Interlaken, Switzerland. A one-hour plane ride and (to our surprise), a $136 train ride later, we finally made it to our cute little town, so what do we do first? Go hang-gliding of course! Most of the letters that we had gotten from the previous girls said to go hang-gliding over the Swiss Alps. Some of the girls on this trip had already been and said it was an amazing experience. Our instructors could not have been any nicer to us. They helped to make us feel the most at ease as we could. I would definitely have to agree with all the girls and say that hang-gliding over the Swiss Alps has been one of the best experiences of my life. But who can go hang gliding without getting pictures? So, as I am collecting my pictures from the ground control crew, I noticed a little mistake in the spelling of my name. According to Outdoor Interlaken, I was Tormane the T-bird who flew with Ed the Eagle for the weekend. So, naturally as we girls do, we decided that it would be a great band name. Even though we have made it back to the palace, Tormane the T-bird still lives on.

10422259_10204526744741239_5336501197139862432_nTormane the T-Bird and Ed the Eagle flying over the Swiss Alps in Interlaken, Switzerland.

Ciao, Loraine McNeece

Wine Not, Ya Know?

Everyone has heard of Rick Steves, yes? Well, we are lucky enough to travel in the same buses that this world-class traveler travels in when he comes to Italy. As a group of twenty five, we all squeeze into this little blue bus – and let me tell you – we have a ton of memories inside of this retro-chic vehicle. Two weeks ago, we pulled up to the TreBotti Farm. After a long day of walking and touring we couldn’t wait to explore the vineyards and we were all thankful that Little Miss Monti made it up to the top of the mountain. While we waited for our host to come find us, we thought it was appropriate to snap a few pictures with Monti – just so we would never forget her.


Little Miss Monti, our wonderful bus

Anyways… moving on to where Monti took us, it was TreBotti, a beautiful vineyard in the rolling hills of Orvieto, Italy. TreBotti is located in Castiglione in Teverina in Viterbo which is in Lazio. Orvieto is in Umbria.

the beautiful region of Umbria

Orvieto, Italy (home to TreBotti)

This was by far one of the group’s favorite places to visit. We had great weather, great lighting (for pictures… because when you live with 22 girls, sometimes pictures are priority) and great wine.

Three glasses from our delicious wine tasting

three glasses from our delicious wine tasting

First, we roamed the vineyards and learned the extensive process of growing grapes, pruning the vines, fermenting the grapes, barreling the wine and producing crates for shipment. I may be speaking just for myself, but I had no idea how vast and time intensive this whole wine-making process is. This made our wine tasting even more delicious. And, the dessert wine at the end was the best – ever.

For your tasting pleasure, the 3B Rose (sparkling rose wine) and Bludom (sweet, red dessert wine) are delicious. Try them and love them!

Ciao for now!!

Allison Miller

We’re Halfway There

On Sunday, everyone returned from midterm break, which means that we are a little more than half way through our time in Italy. For midterm break we had girls go to Germany, England, France, Ireland, Austria, and more!

Students in Prague for midterm break

Students in Prague for midterm break

This week we visited the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel with our wonderful guide, Magdalena. Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t been too cooperative and we’ve had a lot of rain lately, so that makes our tours a little more challenging.  This was our final trip to Vatican City as we’ve already visited St. Peter’s Basilica and explored the tombs within the basilica, as well. Being able to explore Vatican City as extensively as we have has been incredible! Thanks to our program, we’ve had wonderful tour guides who have been extremely thorough and informative. For example, did you know that there are no paintings inside of St. Peter’s Basilica? All of the artwork within the basilica is mosaics and they’re all breathtaking. If you look closely, you can see all of the individual tile…

Mosaic in St. Peter's

Mosaic in St. Peter’s

As students who are interested in art, Vatican City has been very informative and eye opening for us. From the construction of the basilica, the interior mosaics, the columns surrounding St. Peter’s square, and the immaculately detailed altarpiece, Vatican City has an element that each one of the students in our group loved. Personally, the baldacchino was my favorite part!

St. Peter's Baldaccino

St. Peter’s Baldacchino

All of the field trips that we’ve taken have been excellent, but our time in Vatican City has definitely been a standout!


-Stephanie Pappas

Long Live Venezia

One part of this journey that I overlooked was who I would be living with when I was in Italy. As soon as we arrived we were all assigned rooms. My room is the smallest room on campus. There are four of us, two upstairs and two downstairs. This has been one of the best aspects of this trip because the girls in my room have become very close. Each room has been given a different name.  The names are the Italian names for different cities- Roma (Rome), Siena (Siena), Firenze (Florence), and my room Venezia (Venice). We have an award that is given to a different room each week based off of different things such as cleaning or helping out around the palace. This has created a little competition among the rooms. Venezia has won it once and it is looking like we might win it again this week.


Roommates of Venezia; Me (top left), Kelly Schmid (bottom left), Katie Ludlow (top right), Allison Miller (bottom left)

It is easy to bond with people when you are living together but even easier when you are living in a foreign country. We bond over losing wifi, hot water and heat. We are assigned different tasks together such as cleaning the kitchen for a week or having trash duty. We have been able to get to know each other because not only are we all in the same room, but we also listen to each others conversations on the phone or with other people on the trip since there isn’t really any where to be alone. I have loved this incredible program and the way they do things such as the rooming situation. I feel very blessed to be part of such a great legacy.


Emily Parker


One aspect of Italy that we are all thoroughly enjoying here is the food! Everyone’s love for pasta, gelato, coffee, and wine is starting to become evident by our tightening pants sizes. Luckily we walk most of it off touring our way through Italian cities on field trips – it’s a hard life over here.

Some of our favorite places to eat out in Ariccia include BBQ (don’t be fooled, they don’t serve barbecue) where the program hosted the welcome dinner our first night here, and a small family owned restaurant across the street with delicious red sparkling wine.

This is just the start to the delicious welcome dinner at BBQ our first night in Ariccia.

This is just the start to the delicious welcome dinner at BBQ our first night in Ariccia.

What we love even more than eating out though, is the delicious food we can make at home thanks to our weekly cooking lessons with Mary Lou! With her expertise and guidance all twenty-two of us can now make carbonara, mushroom risotto, tiramisu, and much more! She has been very patient working with all our gluten, dairy, onion, and other allergies.

Allison and Emily are all smiles as we learn to make mushroom risotto with Mary Lou.

Allison and Emily are all smiles as we learn to make mushroom risotto with Mary Lou.

With Cinzia and Sandra’s help we have learned enough Italian to successfully shop at the local grocery store, butcher’s shop, and frutteria. Everything we need to make a traditional Italian meal in the palace kitchen!

When we are looking for a quick snack or pick-me-up, the go-to is gelato or a cappuccino.  Luckily for us, there is the cutest coffee bar right across the street from the palace where the sweet owners draw chocolate flowers on our cappuccinos and have even gotten plastic cups so we can have “take-away”.

The chocolate flower is the perfect touch to a delicious cappuccino.

The chocolate flower is the perfect touch to a delicious cappuccino.

As far as gelato goes, it’s hard to go wrong. The cheesecake gelato we found during our class trip to Florence is pretty hard to beat though.

Big smiles for the cheesecake gelato in Florence!

Allison and I are all smiles with our gelato in Florence. 

No better way to immerse yourself in Italian culture than through delicious food!

Christy Rolf