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Archives For June 2013

A Spoleto Picture Diary: Ciao!

By Christine Ragusa
Posted on 24 June 2013 | 10:21 am

Dear All —

Last day, or so we thought.

I’d planned to send the pictures attached this morning, once the students had all left the villa. They are (photo 1) of our meeting with the city administrator, Ms. Battistina Vargiu, and the city architect, Roberto Santarelli, in the august offices of the city of Spoleto; photo 2 is of the students with said administrators, all smiles as they represent the two sister cities. Photo 3 is of a few students eating last night’s last dinner: pizza from a terrific place in town that does pizza “a porta via,” or take away. A lovely sunset on our last day.

Salutations At city hall

Pizza night

But then.

Then the shuttle transport called at 6:57 this morning to say they wouldn’t be picking us up for our 7:00 ride to Rome. I had called Monday to reconfirm the pickup, and received a slight reprimand from the company for trying to reconfirm what had been confirmed already. But now here we were with no ride for the two hour + trip to the airport, the flight scheduled for 11:05. We scrambled to get another way to the city, came up with a couple of taxis but not enough for us all; the shuttle company, meanwhile, said we should take a bus or train, but there is no bus to Rome, and the train would arrive too late once we all walked to the train station. All of this was played out over an hour, until the executive decision—what power!—was made to scuttle the whole thing and rebook for the next day. Which we have. So now everyone is getting an extra day in Spoleto—a day that has turned out to be the most glorious thus far.

Tonight we’re barbecuing hot dogs and hamburgers outside. Trying to get that taste of home we would have had otherwise.

Wish us luck tomorrow.

Ciao —


Amici mio —

Today was the last day of class. Students woke to yet another gray sky, this after a beautiful weekend. So far it’s rained every day we have been here save for one, Saturday. Of course it’s been a bit of a disappointment after all the years we’ve had all that sun. But the students haven’t complained much, except for the suntans some of them expected they’d get. Sometimes, I tell them, pasta is enough.

Photo 1 shows the last walk down the hill for class, La Rocca in the distance. Photo 2 is yet one more panorama (I love these things!) of where we set up shop this last day, La Portella, the café at the very top of the hill. We had espressi e cornetti before class, and though it looks like a bluescreen backdrop, this really is the view from here (and don’t worry: they got to writing promptly, and spent the rest of class hard at work).

Classroom Walking to class

Photo 3 shows the happy gang one more time in front of the Duomo. Can’t quite tell if the smiles are for being here in Spoleto for a month or for the fact they’re headed home in a couple of days. No matter: they are smiling.

Once more at the Duomo

Ciao —



All right, maybe I’m fudging a little by sending two days of photos at once. But because the students were all out of town — either in Rome or, get this, out on Capri — I really didn’t have any photos of them available. Instead, here are a couple nice photos of what WE did this weekend: Photo 1 is a panorama of the hub of Siena, Il Campo, where the annual Palio di Siena —the city horse race — takes place (ask me about my nerbo!); photo 2 shows a panorama of sunset at the Marina Grande in Sorrento, that place where all the limoncello comes from. So while the students were away, we were too.

Il Campo Sorrento

Ciao —


Andrea, Joe, Malinda, Tony, Julie, Melanie


It isn’t all fun and play for the students around here, you know. The faculty gets to participate as well. We had our cooking classes, and enjoyed a menu of melanzane involtini, ravioli con patate e parmegiano, and good ol’ guinea fowl stew. Photo 1 shows us taking a wine and cheese break during all the Tony's friendexhausting work we had to do — a muscato wine with four cheeses (ricotta, caprino, and two different aged percorini), along with orange marmalade, honey and balsamic glaze.

When we finally got to eat the whole schmear, Professor Varallo found a friend. Later, he told me, “I tawt I taw a puddy tat.” He really did.

Ciao —



Buongiorno —

Guess what? A beautiful day!

A glimpse of the quotidian, and the sublime: Lunch happens between noon and one, after my travel writing class and before Tony’s fiction class. The students usually make their ways to a few select little cafés around Piazza della Libertá, chief among them the corner pizza stand, Zeppelin Pizza, which really is quite a good place. A slice of pizza for less than two bucks, and a nicely sized piece it is. Photo 1 shows Shika ogling a pizza, struggling with the decision as to what to eat; photo 2 shows Shika, Margaret and Jasmine outside on the patio right there on Piazza della Libertá, enjoying said pizza. Photo 3 shows yet another view, this of the main corso the students walk up and down every time they go to class.

lunch on the piazzaShika ogling

On the corso

One week to go before we head home!

Ciao —


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