Welcome to my blog, Con Piccoli Piedi, where the story of one average student abroad turned into an unplanned, seven month journey in Italy where she discovered the beauty of the land, the language, of her culture and herself.
I’m a recent graduate of UMass Amherst, where I received a degree in Communication, dedicated to creating, sharing and writing stories. My obsession for multimedia content production sparked during my freshman year, when I started as a contributing writer for Her Campus at my university. I later interned The Republican Newspaper my sophomore year of college as a Multimedia Journalist Intern; I wrote articles published in print and digitally through their affiliated online publication, MassLive.com. But you can read all about that on my LinkedIn, this is a blog for Pete’s sake!
So just who the heck am I, you ask, and why am I even creating this blog?
The idea to share my experiences began in the Spring of 2016, when I packed up my dorm room and moved to Tuscany, Italy, in the quaint city of Siena, to spend four months enrolled in an abroad program studying the Italian language at the Università di Siena Per Stranieri.
(Cue the ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ joke.)
Growing up in an Italian- American household, I have always been very connected with my heritage and seen it as a crucial part of my identity. I am lucky to have a very strong relationship with my relatives overseas, who, I just recently discovered, live all across the country, from Milano to Sicilia. Even though my mother is fluent in Italian, I never really had the opportunity to learn how to read, write or speak the language (aside from a few swears of course)! For me, this program was not just about learning to say, "Mi piace il vino," but it was an opportunity to learn how to communicate with the people that I love. It was an opportunity I had always dreamed of as a child. The four months I spent in Siena learning Italian, traveling, and creating lifelong relationships with new people from all over the world dramatically impacted my character in the best way possible.
I like to think of myself as a storyteller. Over the years, my favorite pieces I have written focus on people and culture, because each story is always extraordinarily unique. I derive much of my inspiration from the people I meet and the places I see. The world around you serves as the best classroom.
And that is why I, along with thousands of other students from the US, decided to leave the country in search of a new classroom. Best decision of my life? Absolutely.
But my story did not start or end there, it had just taken flight.
After the semester ended in April, I arrived in Sicily to spend just two weeks to relax and unwind with relatives, living near the beautifully antique city of Siracusa. The plan was to return home, get an internship and work all summer. However, reality soon shifted as I unexpectedly decided to extend my stay until the end of July, accepting a Social Media Internship position at a print magazine in Siracusa. I continued to learn the language, (even though it is really, very, unexpectedly difficult!) and I soaked up as much of the culture and lifestyle as I possibly could.
Now, home from abraod as a post-grad finding her way through this world of adulting, I have decided to continue sharing my stories about traveling, eating, and learning about my culture. I like to focus on stories about studying abroad-- to offer tips and tricks. I would love to take you through my new adventures as well, for going abroad and traveling throughout all of Italy instilled in me a deep sense of wanderlust.
My blog, "Con Piccoli Piedi" translates to "with little feet," in Italian. Con Piccoli Piedi was a name that I chose in order to represent potential. Despite our shortcomings, we can achieve immense greatness. Although physically small, we as humans can travel great distances. With the gift of our two feet, we can explore, get away from our current locations to discover and learn.
Unless otherwise noted, the images on this site were taken by myself at various locations and occasions!
Thank you for joining me on this journey! If I could evoke just one laugh, or draw a single tear through my stories, (or recommend just one good restaurant!) then my purpose has been served.
My mother, you are my wings.
My father, you are my heart.
My sister, you are my spirit.
My brother, you are my conscience.
The Tralongo family, my home away from home.
And my late Nonna Olga, my inspiration.