I’ve never been much for city living. I live in a suburb in Maryland, far enough from D.C. that there’s a decent amount of open air and nature to take in. Adjusting to Philadelphia was already a difficult thing for me, so I wasn’t sure how I’d fare in Rome at first, and I knew that I would be itching to get out and see rolling hills of land somewhere after a few days or so.
Thankfully, the traditional trip to Todi and Titignano came just in time to give me a little reset.
For a long time, Temple Rome has taken students to the hilltop town of Todi and the castle of Titignano during orientation. I hadn’t heard much about the trip until we were on the bus there, but I was pretty much sold by the time I heard the word “castle.” I was excited for Todi, too, after I’d heard that it was a beautiful town up in the mountains.
I was so excited that I didn’t even sleep the night before. I ended up getting up pretty early even though we didn’t have to leave until eight in the morning; I had expected to sleep on the bus, but Gianni—the super awesome manager of student activities at Temple Rome—kept me up and laughing most of the way there. We got a nice preview of what we’d be able to see at Todi, and an overview of the menu at Titignano: a whole buffet of appetizers, risotto, chicken, pork, lamb, potatoes, three types of wine, and…probably more that I’ve forgotten already!
The ride to Todi was about two hours long. Just as I’d expected, on the ride there, I saw a bunch of bright green land, beautiful mountains, and farm animals roaming. I felt the urge to get out and just run through the grass. As we got closer to Todi, the land closed in a little bit; the roads became narrower and steeper, and I couldn’t see all the greenery that I had before. But then, once the bus parked and we got off, we had to get on a lift up to the town itself, and I was greeted by a view even more beautiful than the one from the bus window.
It was breathtaking. We only had about an hour and a half to wander around Todi, so I didn’t stay put for long, but for a few minutes, I just stood there, trying to take everything in. They had telescope machines that you could rent for one euro, so I put a coin in and got the chance to look at everything up close. It was so bright, so green, so beautiful, and almost impossible to capture with a camera.
The town itself had lots of steep, narrow streets, where people, bikes, dogs, and cars alike all strolled through. There were lots of tunnels and stairs, making it feel a bit like a maze.
Gianni had suggested we take the time to just wander around and look at everything, so we did just that…to the point where the two friends that I had walked around with and I got a little lost. But even getting lost was fun in a town so beautiful; while we found our way back, we found more and more things to take pictures of.
After Todi, we had all worked up an appetite, so it was off to Titignano to begin our feast! Titignano was about an hour away, and my stomach was probably growling the whole time; it was probably around one-thirty when we got there. We took a group photo, then went to eat. There was a large variety of appetizers, with all kinds of breads, cheeses, and meats. I was particularly fond of this bread that had some kind of sausage on top of it. I’m usually a picky eater, but everything looked good, and it was hard not to fill up my plate before dinner even started.
We ate our appetizers outside, where we got a glimpse of some of the castle’s rooms, and we then went inside to begin the full course. Servers brought out dishes one by one, which I was thankful for. I wouldn’t have known how to pace myself with all of that good food in front of me! Dinner was served with a red and a white wine, and Gianni told us on the bus that the white was for the beginning courses such as pasta, while the red wine was paired with meat. At the end, we got a dessert wine, too; it was so sweet that I jumped back a little bit when I tasted it.
It was safe to say that we were all stuffed when we got back onto the buses. I put some music on and had planned to write a little bit or do some course readings when I got on, but despite the winding road we were driving down, I easily fell asleep and didn’t wake up until we were fifteen minutes away from the dorm. When we got back to Rome, I felt invigorated by the nature I’d seen, the good food I’d eaten, and the new friends I had made.
This was the day before classes and my internship began. I was refreshed, and felt like I’d only gotten a little taste of all that Italy had to offer; after seeing gems like Todi and Titignano, I was ready to get out there and explore all that I could. Even now, weeks later, I still think about getting lost in Todi, and laughing over food and drink with my fellow Owls at Titignano, and I’m so grateful that I had the chance to go.