Well it has certainly been an adventure already! I feel like I haven’t stopped exploring since my plane took off from Boston! From meeting random people sitting around me on the plane to having a bonding experience with my study abroad group trying to find the START bus which takes you from the Rome airport to Ascoli we have definitely experienced a lot.
After a 7 and a half hour plane ride and a 4 hour long bus ride we finally made it to Ascoli Piceno, and the travel was so worth it! I have never seen a town that looks as amazing as this one. Every street and alleyway are gorgeous with beautiful architecture and amazing decorative doors. And the town itself is surrounded by Mountains and full of medieval buildings and towers. The main Piazza or square is the Piazza de Popolo and it is breathtaking!
The arches that surround it on every side create a side walk people can walk under and enter the shops and restaurants underneath them. The Church de San Francesco stands at the end of the Piazza and is absolutely amazing inside and out with gorgeous architecture and stain glass! The people of Ascoli (well mainly the tourists) have a tradition where you run your hands along the small stone pillars for good luck! Right now we are part way through Carnival and the Piazzas even prettier with hanging paper chandeliers.
My study abroad group and I were thrown into the Italian culture and customs here right away! Ascoli is a relatively small city tourists don’t usually get to travel to. This makes my experience here so amazing and I love how much it helps when trying to learn Italian and the culture here, but it does make trying to communicate with people a bit tougher! When walking into a small family owned store store the chances that they are going to know English is slim, even when in a grocery store you may only find one employee who knows English. This resulted in a lot of hand motions and the use of the small bit of Italian I have learned in the past 2 days of our Italian Language class.
Well this week has been more then I ever imagined it would be. Throughout all the challenges like finding our way to the Piazzas or trying to order vegetables from a man named Francesco we succeeded and have already learned so much!