Life/ Zelda Elisco: Viterbo is a surreal reality

I have finally settled into my beautiful new home, Viterbo.  Located in the Lazio region of Italy, I am beginning my new journey just in time.  Viterbo embodies every aspect of the perfect Italian hill town. In many ways, I sincerely believe I have been dropped into a surreal reality where I can walk two hundred steps to buy the perfect pizza, and then another two hundred to where I can indulge it below some medieval fountain. Pinch me.

 To my amazement, Viterbo is credited as being one of the most well preserved Italian cities in all of Italy. The wall, which hugs the entire town, was built in the medieval era, and still stands as proud as ever.  The wall has several main ports, or openings where cars -and people- enter and leave the city. Each port is given a beautiful name and is decorated with beautiful stone  carvings.

The scenery inside the historic wall varies drastically from what lies outside. Outside the wall there are modern convenient stores and larger markets. But inside, a well preserved place in time is protected.  Once you have stepped foot through one of the beautiful ports, you feel like you have taken a step back in time and are seeing Italy as preserved from the golden age. Little Fiat cars zip between vespas over the smooth cobble stones.  Groups of local friends converse leisurely over coffee and biscotti. One of my favorite activities is to sit with a hot cappuccino and admire the passing people and cars. In a town so small, it always amazes me that so much can be happening at once.

I am blessed to live two blocks away from one of the most beautiful piazzas in Viterbo; Piazza San Pellegrino.  One of the smallest piazzas, San Pellegrino exhibits incredible medieval architecture and is accompanied by a petite church.  Some of my favorite days have been spent sitting in San Pellegrino and watching the sunset over the rooftops of these ancient buildings.

   The streets throughout the entire city bend wildly,  and stretch no more then an arm length across in most places. On many streets, a small car can barely pass by when pedestrians choose to walk alongside.  At first, the task of walking so close to traffic can be a bit daunting, but I can reassure you that once mastered, the skill becomes a necessity for living in Italy.

Vines crawl up the medieval stone walls, and flower pots burst with red and yellow spring buds.  One of my favorite qualities of Viterbo are the smooth black stones that line the roads.  I can only imagine how much time was spent placing each one in its perfect place throughout the city. Each street becomes more picturesque than the former. Coral colored paint chips from the walls, leaving patches of tile and clay exposed.  Each home comes with a complimentary clothing line, where you can witness a variety of colorful fabrics dancing in the wind.  On my way to school, I love to admire the different combinations of clothes hanging together. I try to imagine the story of the people who wear the clothes, or the life of the family gathered just inside.

I take a short 15 minute walk to get to my school, where I study Italian, cooking, and other cultural topics.  Although my campus is outside the historic wall, I enjoy the stroll to class very much. On my way, I pass a butcher, a bakery, various pizza stops, and of course, lots of cafes. Occasionally, I’ll stroll past  my fellow classmates, sipping a quick expresso as a pick-me-up before class. How sweet life can be.  



Zelda is an Environmental Science student from California who is currently studying abroad in Italy. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, photography and painting. In addition to attending school in Italy, she also manages a travel blog where she documents her experience abroad and discusses culture, food, and her adventures. 

Zelda e una Americana di California. Lei studia Environmental Science, e anche abita in Italia. Quando lei ha tempo libero, lei piace cucinare, photographia, e dipengere. Anche, lei ha una giornale su online, dove lei scriva a sua vita in Italia.

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