We asked Patricia to tell us why the programme in Maremma was crucial for her to learn Italian.
First thing you do when you arrive back in Maremma, Tuscany?
Enjoy catching up with my host family and relaxing in the beautiful Tuscan setting. The house is on the top of a hill with a stunning view of the Tuscan countryside.
What advice would you give to a tourist?
Take day trips, guided when possible, to the many small towns and historic sites. Maremma is full of hilltowns, really worth a visit and with few tourists. Moreover many years before the Romans, Etruscan people settled here their villages and civilization. It’s like walking in the middle of history.
If you had to be locked in a building overnight, which would it be?
The Tarot Garden house which is a unique creation of art in a garden setting. Niki De Saint Phalle used to live in this house while working at this unique garden: even the bathroom is a masterpiece of art.
Best place for a romantic holiday in Maremma?
The seaside towns of Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole in Monte Argentario, with their beautiful beaches, history, seaside walks, specialty shops and great fish restaurants. In clear days you can enjoy the view on some of the islands of the Tuscan archipelago, including Giglio and Giannutri.
What would you do if you were the Mayor for the day?
Have a family festival with local music, with specialty foods and products, as we enjoyed in Magliano the very first day of our stay. There was an exhibition of the village band and the atmosphere was really great.
What is your favorite Maremma discovery?
The little hilltop town of Capalbio, where the views are beautiful from the parapet walls and the town has old world character.
What are your favorite late-night hangouts?
The fabulous home cooking and sitting outside under the Tuscan sky: from Virginia’s house you can see the Milky Way with the naked eye! It was unbelievable.
Best meal you’ve had in Maremma?
I can’t choose between the homemade pasta dishes, the local meats (wild boar as well) and cheeses (Pecorino Toscano), the pizza, or the fig and ricotta gelato!
If you could buy any building in Maremma, which would it be?
An old villa where I could grow vegetables, olives, fruit, and cork trees and surround myself with the serenity and culture of the countryside.
Best advice for other students?
Do a homestay. After 3 years of traditional language schools in Italy, I found the homestay to be the best way to immerse in the language and culture. Virginia always spoke with me in Italian and I really had the chance of improving my skills: it was a real full immersion language course.
by Patricia from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Usa, student @ Poggiobono Country House