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A Small Town’s Charm

Anna P. is currently a junior at SYA Italy and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from Exeter High School in New Hampshire.

A few weeks ago, Wednesday’s fieldwork gave me that first rush of true independence in terms of traveling outside of Viterbo. Our task was to go and spend the day in an assigned town, but this time a teacher would not be accompanying us. That meant we were in charge of making sure everyone in our groups made it on the correct bus and got off in the right town. Therefore, my friends and I found our way from Viterbo to the small town of Bagnaia, which I had never heard of prior to this activity. It was actually my first time using the public bus system since arriving here because of how close I live to the city walls. Also, back home I never use public transportation because of how rural my town is, so I was really excited that part of our fieldwork gave me a chance to ride the bus. 

Once we arrived in Bagnaia, we had to go find a specific person who would show us around Villa Lante, which is the town’s main attraction. Despite the towns overall petiteness, Villa Lante sat up on the hill as if it was watching over the people of Bagnaia. It’s an enormous estate made of two homes that were actually built at two different times by two different people. But together, the property seems to be neverending with its multiple gardens and amazingly carved statues and fountains. Each of the fountains are apart of hydraulic architecture, meaning the creator took into consideration the natural flow of the water and carved the structures to elegantly show that. As we were walking through the gardens I was shocked at how much land it all covered. Around every corner and behind each fountain lay a set of stone steps that led you to yet another magnificent part of Villa Lante. 

At the end of the tour, I found myself looking out from the highest point of the villa, standing next to my new friends that I had met less than a month ago. In that moment I couldn't believe that I was so fortunate to be a part of a program that allowed learning to happen on it’s own, and did not just stick their students in a classroom for 8 hours of the day. In just a single day of school, I had already used the bus system for the first time, traveled outside of Viterbo, practiced speaking to locals, and seen this beautiful and historical Italian site. I think it’s safe to say that this year will not be lacking in the “experiential” department!

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