To say that I enjoyed my adventures in northern Italy would certainly be an understatement. I had always wanted to explore Europe in some part but never had a viable opportunity, especially since I’m averse to crowds and highly popular tourist areas. Initially, I stumbled upon this program by chance, a random email from a professor I had in the past. Thinking it couldn’t hurt to sign up on BCA to just get some information, I was delighted in their quick responses.
The more I looked into Trentino, the more I got excited. Having traveled a fair amount, I lean more towards areas that are less touristy, where the locals live and break bread. I found exactly that in Trentino, namely in Nago-Torbole. The program heavily focused on the history and food production of northern Italy which easily fit along my Environmental Science degree but also kept the focus away from areas that were overcrowded like Milan or Venice. The program creators Juri and Manola were the absolute best guides I could have ever hoped for and gave me a real sense of the people who live in Italy, even without knowing much of the language.
The highlight of my morning was waking up to the beautiful garden of Agritur Stefenelli, an agriculturally focused bed and breakfast. The Stefenellis themselves were absolutely lovely individuals, so friendly and quite caring. The first 3 weeks of the program had my group staying at Agritur Stefenelli and exploring the area around Nago-Torbole and experiencing the pride and hard work that goes into the amazing wine, cheese, olive oil, cheese, breads, and did I mention the cheese? Everything that goes into the local production is absolutely fascinating, especially due to the many locations we visited including a dairy farm nestled high in the mountains.
The history and museum aspects of the program were also very cool. While a lot of the program is in more secluded areas, there is ample opportunity to visit larger, more popular towns and cities-especially sense public transportation is completely covered within Trentino. I could walk 100 meters in any direction and see a building that was 600 years old, remnants of WW1 and WW2 battles, or even religious landmarks that have survived an unfathomable amount world events. Having the perspective from the class lessons made every location’s story very tangible.
During the last week, we hiked all around the mountains, with breathtaking views and experiences that I will never forget. The secluded mountain house we stayed in was the perfect place to wind down and reflect on the past 3 weeks. The natural beauty of the Italian Alps and Dolomites is without compare.
There is so much more I want to say but really this is something you have to experience for yourself. I can’t think of a more unique program that has such rare and educational opportunities. I truly wish to return as soon as I can.