One of the first things I noticed when I arrived in Italy were the Italian Cypress Trees, known as Cupressus Sempervirens. They immediately caught my eye because of how different they looked and because of how frequent they were planted along the Italian countryside. They are super tall and skinny, unlike what I normally see in Texas. These trees are native to the eastern Mediterranean region, which includes Italy.
When visiting Cortona with the class I passed by a man selling produce on the side of the road. The mushrooms he was selling are called porcini and are very hard to find and grow in Italy. Porcini mushrooms can only be grown naturally, and no one has found a way to plant or grow them yourself yet. People usually have to pick them early in the morning to beat the others who are wanting to do the same. They are very popular and this is why they are so expensive to buy.
We visited the Castiglion Fiorentino Farmer’s Market on Friday with our Italian teacher Rossella. She was teaching by making us ask the vendors in Italian what we wanted. We first started with fruits and vegetables, and I bought a basket of strawberries or “fragole.” Next we moved to the meat and cheese booth, and Rosella let us each try a piece of “fresco” cheese and “stagionati” cheese. I preferred the “stagionati” cheese and proceeded to buy a slice for myself to take back. The men selling the meet and cheese couldn’t speak English very well, so it was good practice to try and attempt to carry on a conversation with them in Italian.