A Parent’s Guide to Visiting CIMBA

Written by Caroline November 29, 2017

Ciao tutti!

 Today I have special guest on the blog… my mom! My parents made the trip all the way to Paderno del Grappa from Baltimore to visit me the other week, and we had the best time. Considering many parents visit– or at least think about visiting– CIMBA, my mom and I thought it would be helpful to have her give her tips for future Cimbian parents:

 We recently returned from visiting our daughter Caroline at the CIMBA program in Paderno del Grappa, Italy.  We had the most precious time with her, and since getting to and visiting Paderno is a little bit unusual, I thought I would share some observations in the hope that our travel experience might be helpful for other parents considering a trip over.

 First of all, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND this visit!  If time and resources permit, it is a wonderful thing to see exactly where your child is studying abroad, meet their friends, and really just be able to “get it” when your son or daughter tells tales of their time away.  We have now made three trips to visit our kids abroad, and these trips have given us not just great memories, but travel experiences we would never have had on any other sort of trip.

 Paderno del Grappa is TINY.  As in, population 2,068 tiny.  We used a travel agent to help us with arrangements, since we were under a pretty tight time constraint for our whole trip.  She arranged a car service to take us from the Venice Marco Polo airport up to Paderno.  Certainly you could rent a car and drive up, but we were grateful for the glorified taxi service as we whizzed around so many roundabouts and experienced the speed of Italian drivers!  

 There is one hotel in Paderno, and it is lovely.  The Hotel San Giacomo is right across the street from the Instituti de Filippin, CIMBA’s campus. When we originally went online to book our stay, the dates were blocked off, so I emailed the hotel and was able to book that way.  So if at first you don’t succeed with booking, definitely send an email — they were very responsive and we booked entirely with emails. For our stay, we paid just 68 Euros/night, including breakfast!

 The hotel is older, but recently renovated and entirely comfortable.  The bathrooms appear brand new.  Our room was small with a king bed in it, which left very little room to walk around, but it was absolutely fine.  We had a lovely little patio off our room with an amazing view of the mountains and the Italian countryside. 

 The breakfast at the hotel is great — it’s not fancy, but they really put out a spread of every option you can think of for a classically Italian breakfast.  (Pro tip:  We discovered the hard way that the American coffee in the urn is decaf!  Let them make you a cappuccino or espresso if you are used to drinking caffeine in the morning!)  

 We went for a walk around town, which literally takes no time but was beautiful.  We picked up a little map at the city hall and just strolled around. There’s a little war memorial, a really beautiful cemetery area, a school, and we even walked down one of the neighborhood streets just to get a feel for life around there.  We popped into a little pastry shop right near the hotel for a treat and an espresso, but had some trouble finding a place for lunch.  Fortunately, I remembered seeing a sports bar on a CIMBA blogger’s virtual tour of the campus, so we had a plain but perfectly nice lunch there, which included their one-Euro prosecco!

 If you are planning a trip, I would say you need no more than a day to really get the feel of Paderno and the CIMBA campus.  It was a great place to nap off the jet lag while Caroline was in class, and the setting around there is just gorgeous. If you are able to spend more time, I would suggest looking into Bassano del Grappa, which is about 25 minutes away by taxi.  We spied a couple of nice-looking hotels when we went up to have dinner there.  Bassano has a LOT more going on — really nice shops and restaurants — still with the old world feel of a small, authentic Italian town.  I would love to have had a little more time to explore around there.

 We had arrived in Paderno on a Wednesday afternoon, and on Friday took Caroline to Venice to spend the weekend.  Of course Venice is just breathtaking, and it was a fun contrast to the small town of Paderno!  Your student will be able to help you get there or anywhere else you’d like to go by train out of Bassano.  We used a car again, since Venice is so close by, but learned that the kids get everywhere they visit on the weekends by training in and out of Bassano. 

 It truly was such a special experience to visit Caroline at CIMBA and get a little taste of Italy, which we had not visited before. So if you’re considering a trip over, I would encourage you.  We really had a wonderful, memorable adventure and wouldn’t take anything for having seen Caroline’s world firsthand. 

 Buon viaggio!