Following our arrival into Rome, the other students and I boarded a bus to the city of Cortona. It wasn’t until we could see a city at the top of a huge hill that I had an idea of what the city looked like. As our bus maneuvered up the tight winding roads, we got closer and closer to the city that we would call home for the next month. When we arrived at the top of the city where our dorm was located, we were all stunned by the view we had that overlooked the valley below.
Cortona was a great city to study at a cafe, find good pasta and pizza, interact with the locals and more. It was an incredible city to stay in that had a very medieval look to it. Whether it was the cobblestone roads and walls or the medieval-looking banners and buildings, the city looked like nothing I had ever seen before. The month I stayed in Cortona was an incomparable experience that I’m so glad I got to experience. Without the help of another study abroad, I don’t think I will ever live in a city as breathtaking, historical and culture-filled as Cortona.
If I had to choose the one thing I miss most about living in Cortona, it would be the food. Some friends that I made in the program and I decided to try a new restaurant every day, and I had made a personal decision to try as many pasta types as possible. These two missions led to countless different delicious meals. From the Pici pasta, which is a thick spaghetti-like pasta that is characteristic of Cortona, to Gnocchi which was like small potato filled dumplings, I enjoyed every bite of it. It’s unfortunate that I can’t get any meals identical to those I had in Cortona here in the United States. No matter the skill of the chef, nothing could beat the freshness of the Italian ingredients that the restaurants used in Cortona.
In our first days at Cortona all of us felt like strangers to the city, but by the time we were leaving we felt like locals ourselves. By the end we had so many experiences, relationships with locals and favorite spots, that Cortona felt like home. Program after program, I feel that the students of each program felt the same way as we did. After a week or so into the program, I was able to see an impact that UGA students had left on the city of Cortona. From restauraunt owners who have been serving UGA students for years to actual UGA alumni, I had so many interactions and conservations with people about UGA. It’s crazy to think that halfway across the world, in a medieval city where English is not the primary language, people knew about UGA. It was just another one of those moments that made me proud to be a dawg.