Promptly at 8 am on Jan. 19, almost the entire program loaded ourselves onto four buses and traveled two hours to the scenic hills of Todi. It was the culminating trip for our week-long orientation, and everyone had dragged themselves out of bed for one word: food. More specifically it was two words: wedding feast. After being given time to explore Todi, we would be served a traditional Italian wedding feast at Titignano, a town about 16 km away. Needless to say, after chowing down on bowl after bowl of pasta during the transition to cooking in the Residence apartments (no more 80 euro meals), we were pumped.
At Todi, we were given maps to use in our exploration of the city, but too eager to stop and look at them, we piled hastily into a glass elevator that carried us up the hill. At the top, we rushed to the wall surrounding the city and peered off the edge at the Italian farmland and small homes below. The air was chilly, but the sun still poked out from between the clouds. Happily, it didn’t rain, which is common for Italy during the spring months up until April.
When we moved on to Titignano, we found out why it was recommended to us not to drink alcohol the night before – or bring motion sickness medication. Our huge buses hugged twisting and winding curves up a hill to the small village, which resembled a cluster of houses around a central square. Once there, we again rushed to the walled hilltop to catch sight of the view.
Then the food came pouring out to tables set outside. Juice and water was served alongside aperitivos like bruschetta, fried rice balls, different kinds of pizza, and much more. Hungry students clamored around the table, trying all of the delicious starters. Little did we know what was to come next!
When we finally entered the dining hall, we were served two bottles of good wine, a white and a red. The wedding feast consisted of a series of courses, in which risotto, salad, seafood kebabs, pasta, mutton, chicken, and wild boar were served. I could barely keep up with the servers as they circulated with an endless line of food! For dessert, a beautiful white cake was brought out, along with champagne (And I will say that us Temple students proved to be unversed in the processes of popping the bottle). An extra treat was the dessert wine served along with almond cookies, meant to be dipped in the sweet vino. The hard biscotti-like cookies softened and absorbed the liquid, meshing the flavors together.
Stuffed to the brim, we all loaded back onto our respective buses under a light drizzle. Most students slept very well on the bus ride home, placed into a food coma by the amazing feast we had just devoured.
As we neared the Plaza de Eroi, a few short blocks from the Residence, one of the biggest surprises hit, rousing many from sleep. Huge chunks of hail poured from the sky, richoceting off of the bus windows. We poured out of the bus and charged up the blocks to home at a half sprint, letting out little screams as chunks of ice hit us. Needless to say, filled with good wine, food, and finally back in our warm beds, we slept well that night.