Reasons to Study in a Small Italian Town
Study Abroad in Montepulciano, Italy, “Tuscany’s Haven on the Hilltops”
The streets of Rome are filled with speeding Vespa’s, desperate vendors, and thousands of sunscreen covered tourist, camera in hand, ready to capture moments to last a lifetime. The popular destination can be overwhelming with so much to see. Looking back on the five weeks I spent in Italy, it is not the magical Trevi Fountain, or the ancient Roman Coliseum that brings me to the best summer of my life. No, I go back to the simple memories of the rural, mountain top town of Montepulciano.
I go back to the embarrassment of hanging my panties on a clothesline overlooking the sunset of the Tuscan countryside. I can still hear the sound of long curtains flowing by my bed at night as the wind traveled through our apartment from open windows. I can distinctly remember the voices of the adorable chatty old women as I passed each morning on the 20-minute hike to school while they shared gossip sitting on their neighboring stone doorsteps. I can remember the frightened expression on my roommate’s face when she found a scorpion in our bathroom sink and the confusion of trying to ask for directions on the first day to class in a country where I didn’t understand the language. A world without Wi-Fi and without air conditioning was my new temporary home…. And I absolutely loved it!
Experience Culture through a Small Town
In Montepulciano I was given the opportunity to truly experience the Italian culture. When we travel, we are given the opportunity to experience a culture different from our own. However, it is our responsibility to accept this challenge and make decisions that will place us in new situations. Respect and value other cultures by interacting and learning from them. We have the choice to choose a bed-and-breakfast over Marriott. We can stick to food that we know such as McDonalds (lets face it, where on earth does not have a McDonalds?) or we can choose a completely different culinary experience by visiting a small restaurant suggested by a local. Small decisions such as these give you the opportunity to become a true global citizen. You get to choose.
Becoming Friends with the Locals
One awesome part of staying in a small town is that you see the same smiling faces every day, and you get to know these faces and the names and stories that go along with them. In addition, with just under 15,000 residents, away from the crowds, the cobble stone streets are a delight to explore. Becoming friends with local wine makers and chefs isn’t too shabby and has it’s perks. If you enjoy personal tours, tastings, and cooking lessons a small Italian town may be the place for you.
Land and Produce
Fields and vineyards can be seen for miles as one gazes out upon the Tuscan land. This calls for fresh produce and excellent wine sold within the city walls. Montepulciano is famous for two excellent wines, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Rosso di Montepulciano. The more famous of the two is Vino Nobile, an elegant red wine. In addition, you can find the beautiful, picture perfect, fresh produce neatly arranged in baskets lining the steep street just outside of nearly every other shop within the town.
With the lack of urbanization, one can see for miles. Right off of the Piazza Grande is a terrace outside of the church of San Francesco. From here one can see the rolling Tuscan hills as the stretch for miles. Look upon patchwork fields as sunflowers and vineyards add color to the distant view.
Small Towns of Italy to consider Studying Abroad in
5. Monte Isola
6. Polignano a Mare