A Day in the Life: CET Siena

Written by Francesca Trombetta, (University of Virginia) Student Correspondent CET Siena, Fall 2015

On Monday mornings, I make sure to order a caffè corto at my favorite bar.  The word corto means that the coffee is more concentrated as there is less water used to dilute.  On Monday mornings, I need the extra jolt of energy.

L'Orto de' Pecci

L’Orto de’ Pecci

From 10:45 am to 1:00 pm, I am in Italian class with CET Siena’s most famous professor, Ida Ferrari.  Her energy is infectious, but as we all know, Monday mornings are notoriously difficult.  I am thankful for downing a caffè instead of sipping a cappuccino, even as my heart beats rapidly and my hands shake from the caffeine.  Ida challenges us through short papers and oral reports to see unique parts of Siena.  Just last week, I journeyed through three of Siena’s most important piazzas and explored the “Orto de’ Pecci,” a collaborative farm that was once part of the old psychiatric hospital.  My favorite assignment was to choose one of Siena’s fountains, find it, and explore the area.

Anyways, back to the ordinary.  By 1:30 pm, I am usually dying for more caffeine and find it in a big cappuccino, the American drink as I am “affectionately” told.  Then, I brace myself for 3 hours of Sienese art and architecture.

Fontebranda with the church of San Domenica in the background

Fontebranda with the church of San Domenica in the background

At 2:30 pm, not thirsty for coffee but instead for knowledge, I meet my classmates and another CET Siena celebrity, PG, for an excursion.  We have toured grand, medieval structures as well as the more secluded streets of Siena.  These days are my favorite because I get to see important historical sights and also hear all about them from a scholar’s perspective. Every class I am taking here is so relevant to everyday life in Siena.  I have learned about the city’s traditions as well as historical sights and then went to experience them hands-on.  I am inspired to find new places that are not on the prescribed syllabi and explore—more importantly, appreciate—them in the last month of my stay in Siena.  Every sight truly is a treasure.