My Italian First Impressions

Written by Caroline September 27, 2017

Life is good when post-class walks look like this!

The Crespano del Grappa market on Sunday morning

The clouds here are so low and SO beautiful!

The view from one of our building windows. Swoon!!

With one of our awesome Campus Life Coordinators, Alex!

Everyone knows the power of a first impression. First impressions set the tone for how we view a person, place, or experience. Having now spent two and half weeks in Paderno del Grappa, I have experienced lots of first impressions of this place and these people. It’s been equal parts exhausting, exciting, overwhelming, and eye-opening. So, as my thoughts are fresh and it’s still relatively early in the semester, I thought I would list my most prominent first impressions of my time in Italy so far.

1. This place is beautiful.

I know, I know. This seems like a no-brainer. If you’ve even just Googled Italy, you know it is gorgeous. But really, it is unlike anything I have ever seen before. On the bus ride from the Venice airport to the CIMBA campus, I could not believe what I was seeing. The mountains are vast, the fields are emerald green, and I promise the sunsets are more colorful here than anywhere else in the world. I keep waiting for someone to tell me it’s all a green screen!

2. The CIMBA staff rocks.

I really mean this one. I have been impressed over and over again with how communicative and welcoming the CIMBA staff has been since I got here. I love my professors and appreciate how much of an interest they take in my time here. They are always offering travel tips and want to see photos of our weekend adventures.

3. Paderno del Grappa is very American-friendly.

Coming to a small town in northern Italy, I was a bit nervous about the locals being unable to speak much English or that I would feel out of place. But, to my surprise, the locals in Paderno are very friendly towards the Cimbians and make us feel welcome here. Their English is very good and they look forward to a new class of CIMBA students coming every few months, so I appreciate when they engage with us on the street or in the nearby convenience stores.

 Just the other day, my friends and I were walking to the local pizzeria, Al Sole, when two young boys whizzed past us on their bikes. About 30 seconds later, they came back and yelled “CIMBA!” because they recognized us. We got talking and learned the boys are students at Istituti Filippin, the grade school with whom we share a campus. It felt good to have a sense of community here so quickly, and I look forward to getting to know the locals even more.

4. The small towns are the hidden gems of Italy.

More to come on this topic soon, but I really do love living in such a small town. Like I said in my previous post, I was a bit hesitant about living in a town as small as Paderno for three months. But, I have found Paderno and its surrounding towns absolutely enchanting. Nothing beats looking at the huge mountains while walking to the Sunday morning market in Crespano del Grappa! That’s something you can’t do everywhere.

It’s safe to say CIMBA and Paderno del Grappa have made great first impressions on me, and I am very happy to be here. Time is already flying by, and I am looking forward to all that is ahead!  

Ciao from PDG,


P.S. As a CIMBA student, I eat all my meals throughout the week in the CIMBA cafeteria. The food is quite good, but it’s fun to sometimes mix things up with some cafeteria food tricks. So, at the end of each post, I will feature a CIMBA Café Hack for future Cimbians to reference when they are here!

My first CIMBA Café Hack: To make an extra yummy lunch or dinner salad, cut up some fruit (my friends and I love the grapes and peaches!) and add them in with the greens and carrots available everyday. If you need a break from the pasta (even though it’s always delicious!), this is a great, fresh option. Buon appetito!