One of the major differences between Italian culture and American culture is the way that waste is handled. On the tour of campus, one of the main areas covered was the recycling and compost bins. My group was given an extensive rundown of what products and packaging can be recycled, and photos are placed above the bins for even more clarification on what waste goes where.
When walking around the city of Ariccia, I noticed that this was not unique to the palace, and everyone in town also had the same waste bins, separating non-recyclables, plastics, paper, and cans. Some states in America are lucky to even have recycling. Many cities cannot afford it.
Speaking of food waste, Italians are extremely resourceful when it comes to their meat and produce. On our latest trip to a vineyard, we saw the harvesting of grapes. These grapes made oil, marmalade, and of course, wine. The cheese that was being made in front of us made prima salle, and the leftover liquid was used for a completely different type of cheese. When our group was being taught about meat, every single piece was used, and treated more respectfully.
The relationship with clothing is different as well, buying quality over quantity, and acquiring more neutral colors so clothes can move from season to season. And, they last for years. Black never goes out of style, and I have noticed that it is the color of choice for Italian women.
The attitude towards these raw materials are inspiring, and everything is cared for so much more. Clothes are meant to last a lifetime, and recycling and composting are a given here. When cooking, Italians view it in a restorative way, nourishing their bodies with food that has been locally sourced, and enjoying the ingredients from start to finish.
This is me molding cheese at our wine harvest. I bought a block of this cheese right after we ate it with the grape marmalade. It was the best cheese I have ever had.
Jessie Roller, Fall 2021