Paderno del Grappa, Italy: An Explorer’s Guide

Written by Elizabeth September 18, 2015

The view from my dorm room!

The view from the 7th floor of Instituti Filippin

The cafe near campus

Clock tower in Paderno

Exploring Paderno

Picturesque Italian countryside on the walk to Castelcucco

Entering the town of Paderno

Hello from Paderno!

Well, we’ve officially completed two full days of life here at CIMBA and I’m happy to report that it’s all going well so far. We’re recovering (slowly) from jet lag, enjoying Italian food at meal times, learning each other’s names, and basking in the beauty of Italy. As you may already know, the CIMBA campus is located in the small town of Paderno del Grappa. As you may not know, it’s gorgeous from every angle!

I spent a lot of time planning and preparing for this trip, but one thing that I didn’t research very thoroughly was the town itself. Geographically, Paderno is about an hour northwest of Venice. It is at the base of Mount Grappa (part of the Dolomite mountain range), which is where the “del Grappa” part comes from in “Paderno del Grappa.” According to Wikipedia, the town has a population of 2,204. 

In Paderno, almost everything is within two blocks of campus. Across the street from the entrance to campus is a hotel that has a restaurant and an ATM. On the same block is the post office, and across the street is a small cafe that serves coffee and pastries. On the next block is a small convenience store that reminds me of a Walgreens, so there’s no need to worry about being able to stock up on study snacks. Further up the road is a pizzeria, and if you walk a few blocks you can find an old clock tower, a city park, and a nature trail. Watch out as you walk along the narrow streets, though, because the Fiats and Mercedes don’t slow down much for pedestrians!

Between the amenities available on campus (laundry, ATM, dining hall, sports fields, a gym & pool, a sports cafe/bar, etc) and the businesses in Paderno, we have pretty much everything that we need. The business hours here are one thing that we’re still adjusting to, as stores tend to be open in the mornings and evenings, but not during the afternoons or on certain days of the week. If you do come up with something that’s not in Paderno, there are other towns within walking distance. For example, today we walked 25 minutes to a neighboring town to buy SIM cards and gelato, and another group walked a similar distance to a different town for a pizzeria.

After just two days, I’m still far from an expert, but what I’ve learned so far is that there are a lot of people around to ask for help. The CIMBA staff members are more than willing to help you find a taxi or figure out the bus schedule, and everyone on the program is sharing advice with one another as we learn various tidbits about the transportation systems. There is plenty of time for exploring Europe on days we don’t have class, but during the school weeks we can enjoy the community that’s right here!