Friday, March 21, 2008

Spring Break ~ France

Ever since high school, when I started having francophilia tendencies, I've dreamed about going to Paris. Well, it's finally happening! I fly our of Rome Ciampino tomorrow, heading to Beauvais Airport. Four days in Paris and three days in Nice.

Tuscania Ghosts

Our student advisor, Marco, plays basketball for a small local league in Viterbo. Compared to soccer (calcio - cal chi o), basketball is the black sheep of Italian sports. I found this out when a contingent of us went to one of his games. We had made signs to support the Ghosts and wore green and white. I felt very American yelling at the refs and doing the wave. The team got a big kick out of it however; and apparently we are good luck because they only win when we are there to cheer them on.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Prima Frutti

First Fragole (strawberries) of SPRING!

Loredona had a delicious addition to my breakfast spread this morning - a small bowl of beautiful strawberries that had been soaking in sugar and lemon juice overnight.
She told me (in Italian) that its a bit early for strawberries, but they looked very red so she bought them. These strawberries could easily be the best I've every tasted - the sweet flesh was still firm and the color was an deep rosso.
If these are the first fruits, I can't wait to experience what else Spring has in store!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Maratona della citta di Roma

The 14th annual Rome Marathon was held on March 16th. A few friends and I decided to participate in this event ~ you know, when in Rome...

But since none of us had really trained for such a thing, we signed up for the STRACITTADINA, a 4 K "fun run" around a small part of the city.

The run started just after the Marathon took off. We all gathered (in our free t shirts and hats) next to the colleseum and to the tune of "Volare," began our march through Rome. Streets were blocked off and supporters lined the way shouting "Bravi."


Participants: 45.356
women: 49%
men: 51%
0 - 20 years old: 38%
21 - 40 years old: 25%
41 - 60 years old: 22%
over 60 years old: 15%

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


My first encounter with these cute little vehicles was in Zermatt, the all skiing - all the time resort town in Switzerland. No cars are allowed in Zermatt so people use these to transport building materials and tired travelers.
Italy also has a large population of these miniature trucks on wheels. I've seen a couple in Tuscania, navigating the skinny cobblestoned streets with ease. They were also everywhere when I traveled down South in Sorrento and Capri.
My friend Becca loaned me Frances Mayes' second Italian memoir, "Bella Tuscany," and I have been enjoying all the familiar cultural references. She mentioned these small cars in the first chapter, giving the Italian name: APE (ah-pay).

Friday, March 7, 2008

Italian Immigration

Once you've gone through the hassle of acquiring an Italian visa in the States, you still have to apply for a Permesso di Soggiorno within eight days of your arrival in Italy. This means lots of paperwork and handing over copious Euros for postage and processing.
According to our student advisor, no one ever actually gets there Permesso di Soggiorno due to Italy's crazy beaurocracy, but all you need is the recipt from the post office proving you sent all the documents.
Well, a couple weeks ago, several of us got text messages at 2 am from the Uficio di Immigrazione in Viterbo. Both messages were in Italian and I forgot about them until another student mentioned that she had recieved similar messages. Apparently, no students have ever gotten this far in the process.
So today we had to go to Viterbo to get fingerprinted. This involved waiting in line (not as bad as the DMV and Italians actually know how to form a line), getting each finger copied and then going down the street to a different office with alot of Polizia. Wait a bit longer and then have a complete set of prints taken (each finger, thumb, four fingers, and palm). The two technicians were pretty impressed with my new US passport and laughed about my cold hands.
So, I'm still not sure whether i'll be getting my Permesso di Soggiorno before I leave Italy, but I can check the Immigration office of my list of places to go...