Photos and text by: Valentin Emmanuel
Hello, my name is Valentin Emmanuel. I am a fourth year undergraduate student at Indiana University studying Psychology and French. The Food and Wine Tourism program that I have been able to be a part of has been a life changing experience, which I would love to share with my peers like you who might be interested in a similar experience. Here are some historic and cultural places that I visited near Sorrento that I highly recommend to be on your bucket list if you are planning to travel to Italy.
Olive Oil Factory
- The olive oil factory we visited has been in existence since the 1800s, and it was amazing for me to visit the location and get knowledge about the work they have been doing for over 200 years! All products are authentic, and there are over 10 flavors of olive oils to choose from including Oil the “Puttanesca”, Hot Pepper Oil, Oil for Spiedina White, Rosemary Oil, Oil Sage, Mint Olive Oil, Garlic oil, and a few more. A very special and authentic place!
- What an exceptional experience that I had in Pompeii! I learned about the sensational history of the city and how it was destroyed by the ashes from the eruption of the famous volcano, Mount Vesuvius, around 79 A.D. The location is very intriguing and the leftovers of art preserved for the visitors are very unique.
Mozzarella Cheese Factory
- I loved the visit at the mozzarella factory! The people were very hard working and welcoming. They are passionate about their work and only use natural products without rushing the process so that their cheese can be authentic. Best cheese I have ever tasted!
- It was a great time visiting the first factory, and I learned about how they grow their grapes and make their wine. I got the opportunity to visit their UNDERGROUND storage to see the collection of wine that has been there since all the way back to the 70’s. It was definitely a life changing experience.
- The landscape of the second winery with the close up view of Mount Vesuvius was phenomenal! The people gave a warm welcome to the group and me and gave us plenty of food to eat as we got to experience the great taste of their wine and vinegar! It was a very memorable visit.
- The history of the factory was pleasing to my ears and the taste of the lemons was unique and surprisingly not sour! The size of the lemons is incredible, the limoncello that they make is very tasty, and I would suggest everyone to try it for themselves!
- The city of Naples was absolutely amazing including the view of the sea, the castles that still stand there, the historic buildings, and of course, getting fried pizza, which was amazing, and the best gelato (ice-cream) I have ever tasted!
- The island of Capri was amazing on three different levels (because there are three different levels to the island). I enjoyed the boat ride around the island and the chair lift that took me all the way to the top to experience a view that even a picture could not totally capture! Definitely a place to visit!
- Experiencing over 140 forms of pasta made at the pasta factory and trying one of the biggest shape pastas in the world was absolutely mind-blowing. The history is rich with authenticity and the people value hospitality. Seeing the production and trying some of the best pasta in the world is just a blessing.
- Visiting the Almafi Coast (Ravello, Amlafi, Positano) was a great way to close out my trip to Italy. Going through the roads through the mountains were amazing and the views were incredibly beautiful! The sun was bright, the beaches looked great, and the people were happy. Only your eyes can perfectly capture this beauty because not even pictures can.
The value and benefits of coming abroad (culturally, professionally, and overall): You get to see life from a different perspective by being exposed to a new language, a new culture, watching the way the people who are from a different place than you operate. Even a short program can change your perspectives, and it is amazing to experience how rich other cultures are by meeting the people, trying their food, visiting the area and building connections. Individual growth is important, and travelling is a big part of that. You get to experience places for yourself rather than hearing stories because personal experience matters the most. Living and being there in the moment is better than just hearing about it.