Our first outing off campus was to Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence. Castel Gandolfo overlooks the beautiful Lake Albano. We got the first taste of what the journey ahead would look like as we struggled to keep up with our professors on the hike up the Alban hills. We were rewarded at the top with the first of many gelati. I selected the lemon flavored gelato (which I highly recommend, especially when paired with coconut). We were all intimidated to order with the little Italian we knew, but we all struggled through it successfully. We all wandered down to Lake Albano to listen to our professors give a small lecture about our surroundings and returned to campus for our first dinner.
The adjustment to life at Due Santi was easy. We attended classes and then we went sightseeing or vice versa. The heat of the Italian sun in July presented the only great difficulty. My fellow Shakespeareans (as we so affectionately called ourselves) will tell you the best part of our adjustment. Each morning we all raced to the kitchen to snatch one of the doughnuts that had been prepared alongside meat, cheese, and fruit. We enjoyed our breakfast with a fantastic cup of coffee to begin our day as authentically as possible. Nino and Nuccia, the chefs at the campus, cooked each meal for us with love and care. Our need for the Italian language became a priority upon meeting them. Practicing Italian with them prepared us for our outings in the city.
I must confess one of the more favorable parts of my experience was the food. I never tired of eating pizza, pasta, fresh fruits and vegetables, the coffee, the gelato and the pastries. Food had never tasted so amazing. The only downside was returning to America to be disappointed with the mediocrity of anything I am capable of making, or the misfortune of returning to the bland, processed taste of fast food. I envy those of you who will be partaking in this culinary adventure after reading this entry. Buon Appetito!