Settling In

Buonasera (good afternoon) from Ariccia!

Boy do I love this little town so far. After spending a few blurry days catching up on sleep, I think I am finally adjusting to the Italian time zone. Ariccia is the quaintest little town, with hilly cobblestone streets, ivy covered balconies, and quiet farms off in the distance.

A group of us walking on the bridge to the neighboring town, Albano. The Chigi Palace is directly behind us! (photo courtesy of Katherine Morris)

Our very first night, Maurizio, one of our instructors, showed us the many layers of the city. Partially built to confuse plunder-seeking pirates, and partially built as the Roman Empire grew, Ariccia is laid out in a series of winding streets and piazzas (open alleyways). Our first day in Rome we toured the ruins of the Roman Forum and learned that there are 7 different street levels that date back to ancient Roman times. Similarly, in Ariccia, the lower we walked, the older the streets and the homes became. It’s mind blowing to think that we are living in a Palace that is older than our country.

So far we have spent three days in Rome, and while it is rich with history and architecture, it is also full of tourists and solicitors. Getting off the train when coming home to Ariccia incurs a little sigh of relief. Not to say that Rome isn’t an incredible city, but Rome is to New York City as Ariccia is to Auburn. Ariccia evokes a sense of serenity that the New York City of Italy just doesn’t have.

One of my favorite things that we did yesterday was visit an elementary school and help a fourth grade class with their English. The children were adorable, and we taught them all about Auburn, D.C., and even taught them to sing and write God Bless America! I loved how excited they were to learn about our country.

I couldn’t write this blog without mentioning how blessed I am with the people that have become my fast friends – there is an incredible group here, eager to learn and excited for adventures. I can’t decide whether I’ve been here a week or a month, but I’m thrilled that this journey of learning, excitement, and adventure has only begun!

-Sarah Hill