Sicilian neighbors!



In America, we are used to seeing squirrels or deer crossing the streets; instead in Sicily you see dogs or cats. There are many stray dogs and cats that roam the streets, but they are mostly all harmless. Many people leave food out daily for the strays. My nonna left food out for two different puppies, and eventually they came back every day; now she keeps the two dogs as her own. Their names are Shelli-Bimba and Mambo.

–Jessica, SCSU ’17

Cappuccino italiano!



The cafés in Sicilia are beautiful. They sell coffee, pastries, ice cream, and hot foods. My favorite thing to order is a cappuccino. But, as I learned from a friend in my Italian class, Italians never order cappuccinos after lunch and that piece of advice helped me when I was over there! One item I would suggest to not order would be the hot chocolate. The hot chocolate over there is not the same as it is here and in my personal opinion, it is worse. They make their hot chocolate very thick and almost taste chalky.

–Jessica, SCSU ’17

I frutti della Sicilia!


Jessica15In Sicilia, there is a special type of cactus fruit called, ficudinnia. Most of the fruit you will eat in Sicily is fresh. There are fruit trees everywhere. Many people own a farm and are always working on it. It takes a lot of work. If you own a farm, all of the fruits you eat will be fresh fruits that were just recently picked from outside.

My nonna had many pomegranate trees. There was a tree right next to my balcony from my room that I was able to walk out onto the balcony and pick a pomegranate. There were also many walnut trees everywhere. People like to pick the walnuts and sell them.

jessica16–Jessica, SCSU ’17

Palazzolo Acreide and its Festivals



The town of Palazzolo Acreide is a small town located in the province of Siracusa, Sicily. The patron saint of the town is San Paolo but the main piazza is located near the church San Sebastiano. A very long time ago, there was a giant earthquake that buried most of the town and now the town is surrounded by valleys.


The piazza di San Sebastiano is the main piazza in the town of Palazzolo Acreide. It is located on the street, Via Corso Emanuale. This is the street that everyone comes to at night to socialize. Every night that street closes from around 7-10 and the people walk up and down it; it’s also where the main cafes and the only bar/discoteca are located. The town hall is also located on the main piazza.



Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Italy and it is located in Catania, Sicily. Mount Etna is so big that I can stand in my backyard in Palazzolo Acredie (78.8 miles away) and see it! One year when my family and I were visiting, the volcano erupted and when you looked out the backyard, all you could see was a black sky off in the distance!

When driving back to the airport after my trip is over, I always know we are almost at the airport because all you can see in front of you is the giant mountain!


jessica9These pictures are from the Feast of San Michele Arcangelo, which takes place on October 5th in Palazzolo Acreide; it is also celebrated the next week as well. Every church has their special saint who has their own feast day. The feast days are celebrated in the most beautiful way. Everyone in the town gathers around the outside of the church and waits until jessica8the statue of the saint exits the church doors, carried by a handful of men from the town. Fireworks and bombs are set off along with little tiny pieces of paper that are shot out and fly around everywhere. Everyone celebrates by processing with the saint around the town. The younger children lead in the front of the parade holding flags and banners and the marching band follows. Witnessing a saint’s feast is the most amazing experience.

jessica13Agrimontana is another festival that took place in Palazzolo Acredie for one weekend. This festival was for vendors who make homemade crafts. There were tents set up around the main piazza and there were also different food vendors from surrounding towns. There were folk musicians that performed on the steps of the Basilica di San Sebastiano. There was also a handmade swing set for the little kids that was made out of wood and was manually pushed by three different men.

–Jessica, SCSU ’17

Un vero inizio!


It feels like it was just yesterday when it was snowing and it was the beginning of the Spring semester and I said to myself, “I just want this semester to end so I can go to Italy this summer”. It is hard to believe that I am finally here! Since I fell in love with the Italian language I knew I wanted to study abroad. I wanted to spend the semester abroad because I wanted to speak exceptional Italian, but that did not sit well with my overprotective parents. Eventually they changed their minds, convinced by a professor of mine. This made me glad; yet I was told by certain students that it would not be a good experience, that it was only a month and I would be in class for most of it. Though I have been here for only three days, I can say that person is very wrong! I have already been introduced to so many people.

1052841_10151550639791647_1954772307_o(1)I imagined Montepulciano as a very small town with just natives and few tourists. I have noticed that it is bigger than I expected and that there are a good number of tourists (though few from the United States). 1040408_286686894808832_1151023645_oI also thought my room would be a lot less elegant. I thought I would be in a small room like the dormitories at SCSU, shared with one of the girls. I was completely wrong; I have a huge bed with curtains and I feel like a “regina”.1053330_10151772875018623_695060247_o(1)My apartment has a beautiful rustic feel, and I feel so blessed that I am living in the beautiful city in this gorgeous apartment. I am the luckiest person in the world!


–Annie Tullo, SCSU

First Impressions of Montepulciano


The beginning of the trip from SCSU to Montepulciano was one full of anticipation, nerves, and expectations. There were many factors weighing on my mind. Not knowing any of the students on the trip well, not knowing what to expect in regards to the travel itself, and most importantly how I was going to interact with the people of Montepulciano, having spoken virtually no Italian in my life. I was somewhat comforted by many who told me the language was similar to Spanish, with which I am familiar. I have always been sure of my ability to adapt to different environments and change, but this would certainly be an undertaking the likes of which I have never attempted before. The travel itself was fairly straightforward. We set out from JFK to Madrid and flew overnight as planned. There was a slightly hurried layover in Madrid, but overall the entire trip went smoothly. By the time we arrived in Roma and gathered our luggage and boarded the bus to Toscana, I was truly exhausted and ready to deal with anything if it meant getting to a bed!


Preparations for the Bravio delle botti, an annual barrel rolling contest between 8 contrade, or neighborhood teams, which dates to the 14th century.

We arrived in the early evening, and after a quick tour of our apartments it was off to dinner. The first experience that I had with true locals was meeting our waiters, Oliver and Scardi. The pace and accents with which they spoke were greater than I imagined; although I was able to pick up overall trends in the conversation due to their inflection, tone, and hand gestures, I was quickly seeing that—if I were going to reach my goal of functioning conversationally on my own—I had my work cut out for me.


1026052_10200929532233451_2030966664_o(1)Whatever my trepidations about the language barrier, they were second in my mind to the true beauty and architectural wonder of the city itself. They say in life that few things are truly as expected, and most things will not live up to the hype. But the city of Montepulciano is more original and authentic than I could have imagined: its blend of old-world feel with modern convenience and charm is an irresistible combination. Having the privilege of staying within these walls for a month will surely be one of the most memorable experiences of my life!

1047941_10200700730015662_573677930_o Already I have been picking up some small bits of conversations and other Italian phrases, just from ordering foods from vendors. This, coupled with my lessons, have me confident that I will be learning a vast amount of the language and able to make speedy progress towards my goal of being conversant in Italian!


— Andrew Perillo, SCSU

SCSU in Montepulciano 2015

SCSU in Montepulciano, Tuscany (June 29-July 31, 2015)1063681_10200869209765427_1758856482_o(1)

COURSES: Southern students must register for either LIT 398: Italian Journeys or ITA 203: Italian Culture in Italy. In addition, students are strongly encouraged to register for one of the following 3-credit language courses to be taken in Montepulciano: ITA 100: Italian I, ITA 101: Italian II, ITA 200: Italian III, or ITA 210: Italian IV.  These 3 credits will count towards the SCSU language requirement (LEP Tier 1/Multilingual). Students interested in enrolling in this optional 3-credit language course will be required to submit an additional fee of $905.00 to the Office of International Education by May 1, 2015.1073169_10200960957179055_2060716613_o

REQUIREMENTS:  One semester of college-level Italian or equivalent and 2.5 grade point average is required. Completion of Southern’s risk management paperwork is required before traveling abroad. Students should have student records free of disciplinary problems and must have a valid Passport.mont5

Program Fee Includes:
• Airfare, lodging, round-trip domestic transportation from SCSU to the airport
• Entrance to all cultural activities sponsored by the program, including two nights in Rome, and day trips to Siena and Florence
• Visit to the Etruscan underground city of Chiusi
• 4 group dinners
• 1 group breakfast

Program Fee Does Not Include:
• SCSU tuition and summer registration fee ($1,426.00)
• 3 credits tuition at Montepulciano for those students enrolling in the optional 3- credit language course ($905.00 payable to the OIE)
• personal meals and expenses, touring, books, laundry, snacks, medical and living expenses, or any additional expenses that alter the itinerary or arrangements.Mont4

For additional information and applications contact:
Dr. Pina Palma
Southern Connecticut State University
Department of World
Languages & Literature EN D159
Phone: 203-392-6753


Happy Late Easter everyone!

Last week our campus was completely silent. The majority of students who could go home for the holiday did and there was almost a peaceful yet eerie air to the university. I stayed behind along with a few of my friends and we decided to cook a nice Easter lunch at another of our friends homes. We bought cappretto for the main meal and was cooked with potatoes, peppers, onions, zucchini, herbs and spices, for our antipasto we decided to fry up the zucchini flowers, bought some cheese, olives and roasted the other peppers and zucchini in a pan. We also made a tomato and cucumber salad that went along nicely with everything. It was a lot of food for only four people, and we demolished it. It is nice to eat a nice home cooked meal after relying on dining hall food since we got back from our Christmas holidays.

After we had lunch, we relaxed and went out into Viale for a coffee. We stayed there for a good two hours just talking, and joking around until finally deciding to call it a day. Monday would be the ever famous Pasquetta or Easter Monday. It is usually celebrated by getting together with all of your friends and having a giant cookout or picnic. This is always held rain or shine. This year it rained, but what is a little water to stop us from enjoying ourselves. My friends and I went into the mountains to small town outside of Udine called Nimis. We then got together with friends of my friends for a cookout. They roasted chicken, pork, sausages (you name it we ate it) and they even made paste for us as well. It was muddy and messy, but we all had a really nice time. By 8pm we had to catch the train back to Trieste for the night. Now because of the Easter Holiday and then the Italian Liberation coming soon after that, the University was closed for the week. I guess my professor did not get the memo because she still held class. Oh well it is that time of year again where we need to start preparing for our exams which are fast approaching.

Only a few more weeks of classes until our final exams are upon us and only a few more months until my grand reentry into the US. Time is flying by and before I know it, this experience will be soon be over.

Sending my love to all


Natale 2013 e Capodanno 2014 a Cosenza!

Ok so I get it updating is really hard when you are studying, going to class and trying to keep up with the daily happenings so it is no surprise that the Christmas post is coming to you in March.

So as I stated I went back to Cosenza for the Christmas holidays with my friend Moira. She lives in a village just outside of Cosenza called Bisignano which is the second largest village of Cosenza. I stayed with her and her family for three weeks during our holiday. I wasn’t home from Vienna for a full 24 hours when I repacked my suitcase and headed to Calabria which ended up being 22 hours of public transportation. Trains and Buses are now the easiest thing in the world to navigate. We too two trains and two buses to finally end up once again in Calabria. Traveling with us was another friend of ours Lucia who is also from Bisignano. We arrived to sunshine and 58 degrees instead of the in the upper 30s and cold cold wins of Trieste. I was so excited to be back to the place where I first fell in love with this culture and language.

Being that we were so far from Cosenza, it was hard to organize to see my other friends I had made 4 years ago and try as I might it unfortunately did not work out, BUT I met some amazing new people and had the time of my life.

We spent our mornings studying for our up coming exams, and our afternoons lounging around at Moira’s home, or at Moira’s boyfriends home just across the otherside of the village. His family was so welcoming and so kind to me. They treated me as if I was one of them with only knowing me for such a short period of time. We passed Christmas eve (La Vigilia) at Moira’s home where we had various fish dished, then we attended the mass and saw the live manger scene set up a short ways from the church. That night we exchanged gifts as well before attending the mass. Christmas day we hung out around home and had an abnormally large lunch. Then headed off to relax once again at Moira’s boyfriend’s house with his family. In that period we attended the Onomastico of Moira’s boyfriend’s father and they had family and friends attend. We drank, sang, ate roasted chicken,ate cuddrudrieddri (fried doe Calabrian style) and celebrated. This whole eating with the families and hanging out with everyone continued right up into the new year celebrations.

I swear I gained like 10 pounds in those three weeks just from all of the food. I know this because a. my new years dress I bought when we had just gotten back to Cosenza fit me when I tried it on at that point b. two weeks later after our feast of fried shrimp, calamari and pasta, it was a little bit snug when I went to put it on that night for New Years eve. Lets just say when a southern italian mother asks if you want more and you say no thank you, they think you aren’t actually full just embarassed to ask for more so they fill your plate anyways. You ask for one more of something they give you two. And lets be honest who says no to good old fashion southern italian cooking. The answer is no one, because it is seriously just that amazing.

For New Years eve, we had dinner at Moira’s home with her family then got dressed and ready to head out to her boyfriend’s house to celebrate with his. At around 11:30 we were at his home saying hello to everyone and waiting for midnight. Also they will always continue to feed you even if they know you just had a giant feast elsewhere. At midnight we cheered and various homes in the village started setting off fireworks! We hugged and kissed each other, toasted with champagne and ate handfull after handfull of lentils to port good luck in the New Year. At about 1am I, Moira and her boyfriend left to head to a club with their other friends to dance our way into 2014. We had an amazing time. Pretty much all of Cosenza was there and I even briefly saw old classmates of mine. We danced the night away (literally) well into the early hours of the morning. We ended up staying at Moira’s boyfriends house and woke up around 3pm that afternoon to a heavy lunch and then light dinner before heading home to Moira’s around 9pm. Around midnight my parents called me wishing me a happy 22nd birthday. January 2 2014 (italian time) I finally turned 22 years old. Moira had planned a small Tombolata/ birthday celebration at her home that evening which turned out to be pretty fun. I lost every round of Tombola but still had a good time. Moira made my cake of Tiramisu and I got caked in the face after I blew out my candles. It was so kind of her to do that for me and nice to celebrate with new friends.

Three days later we were on that long agonizing 22 hour, two bus, two train journey back to Trieste where our exam period began. From January 8th to February 13 I would be holed up in my room, taking small breaks for eating and semi sleeping, studying for those two months. Nothing really happened of interest. Birthdays of friends came and went and I passed all four of my exams with two 30s (A), one 28 (A-) and a 25 (B-). Overall pretty satisfied with my work considering this was the first time with the whole oral exam process that is oh so different from our own.

Well now that exams are over and classes have started up again I can finally relax a little and catch up on all the sleep I lost during January and February.

happy belated christmas and new year and will be updating very soon

Delanie Cook

The Cemetery of Palazzolo Acreide


The cemetery in my mom’s town, Palazzolo Acreide, is absolutely beautiful. It is clean and well-kept. It is different than the cemeteries I have seen here. Most graves include a tomb, and there are only a very few that do not have one; those are usually for the families who cannot afford it.

jessica21Usually people visit the cemetery every Sunday, either before or after going to church. Also, it is important that each grave has its own light, which is always kept lit up. When someone passes away, all the people in town who knew that person come together and they all walk from the church to the cemetery following the casket. This tradition is different from ours; we drive, while instead they walk.

jessica24–Jessica, SCSU ’17