Monday, June 2, 2014

Our Hometown, Castiglion Fiorentino

The town of Castiglion Fiorentino
My first impression of Castiglion Fiorentino was that it was much larger than I had imagined. Originally, I thought it would house a couple thousand residents but it actually holds a little over twelve thousand people, but you still definitely get that “small town” feel. This town is extremely beautiful and the countryside is even more so with its green hills that surround the city. It honestly reminds me of the being in the mountains in Colorado, but much better. 

Castiglion Fiorentino Countryside

                Once I spent some time in the city, I started making comparisons of the city and culture to the U.S. The Italians here are much more leisurely and they seem to be early risers compared to our hustle and bustle society in America that does everything as quickly as possible. For example, as we would wake up and get a cup of coffee and rush out the door in a hurry to get to work or school, the locals here would walk to their local cafĂ©, have a nice conversation with their friends, and then head off to work. They also take a siesta in the middle of the day which takes a little bit of getting used to because I feel like most of the other students and I always want to do something in the city while many shops are closed. Now I’m not saying the Italians are lazy, I’m just saying they enjoy taking their time in doing their daily activities, but they still complete every task they need to for the day.  Another comparison I made was how different our versions of “mobile” are. While the U.S. may be more apt to drive everywhere, Italians walk everywhere in their town (this is impressive because their entire town is a succession of steep hills), which explains why most of them look extremely fit for all the varying ages. A final comparison I made was how we each handled agriculture. In America, all the farms and ranches are focused in particular regions and each owns tens or hundreds of acres and are farmed mechanically. In Italy, almost everyone has their own garden or crops they are growing and the “large” farms are only a couple of acres at most because they manually tend their farms. If the farms, were much larger they wouldn’t be able to handle it by hand by themselves. 

The vineyards/farm land of Castiglion Fiorentino
                Now on the topic of crops, the food here is absolutely amazing. I don’t think I’ve eaten so well in a one week span and I still have five more weeks of this incredible food. Everything is fresh and made after a couple of hours of preparation and it definitely pays off. They serve food in three courses with the first being either a pasta or soup, the second being a meat dish and some vegetables, and the last course being entirely comprised of fruit. I particularly like the way they serve their food and I might just continue this way of eating when I cook back in College Station.
                 Even after such a short time being in this town, it has already made an enormous impression on me and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to live during my time in Italy and I know there will be many more memories to come!

Stay classy Castiglion,
Quinten Plumer               

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