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  • Students Have Impeccable Experience and Unique Opportunity Giving Aid to Authentic Italian Town

    By Kyle Holmer

    GCU Students Enjoying Dinner in Bedonia
    Georgian Court University Students enjoying dinner at Le Moline discussing strategy. Photo © Professor Gina Marcello.
             A group of Georgian Court University students stayed at Villa Tre Angeli B&B for a three-week work project in Italy. They did many things while they were there, but their main objective was to help this small municipality get on the map. Bedonia, Parma Italy is in Northern Italy in the Emilia Romagna region. It is a lovely, little village that has so many wonderful things to offer its visitors. There is a plethora of outdoor festivals, outdoor markets, opportunities to hike and mountain bike, plus they have live music very often, just to name a few. Many Italian tourists come to enjoy the fresh, clean mountain air that allows them to actually enjoy the beautiful countryside they blatantly overlook, daily.

             Over the years, however, with the economic crisis in the Parma region, factories have closed and people have moved away in search of work. With the younger generations leaving for the surrounding larger cities, this small gem of a town is struggling to survive and the beauty of an authentic Italian lifestyle is hanging by a thread. This is one of the few spots left in Italy that one can experience Italy like an Italian without being suffocated by huge numbers of American tourists. There are no crowds, long lines, or gaudy souvenir shops to muddle the culture out of this amazing place. It is also centrally located to many other interesting spots for day trips. For example, after a tour of the Italian Riviera or The Prosciutto factory and Castle of Torrechiara, coming back to Bedonia for the food, wine, and night life is always a major advantage because visitors receive the best of both worlds.

    GCU Students at Vineyard in Bedonia
    GCU Students learning how to cultivate grapes, make wine and the struggles of exporting. Photo © Valerie Raffetto.
             Georgian Court University, in Lakewood New Jersey, has been working with Villa Tre Angeli to boost Bedonia's social media presence and allow more American tourists the rare prospect of going on an actual, genuine European vacation. The students, under the supervision of Dr. Gina Marcello Ph.D., have created a web page where people can find all the information on the town and the surrounding area, all in one place. They have taken photographs, mapped out the best places around town, and have portrayed the best that Bedonia has to offer. While the website will give people a taste, a true appreciation for this town cannot be captured by mere photos or words.

             While the students where there, Villa Tre Angeli took them to Rome to see many famous landmarks, including the Vatican, the Coliseum, and the Pantheon. They were also treated to a trip to Verona, where they saw Aida, the opera in an outdoor Roman arena. The trip also included a stop at the magnificent Lake Garda.

             When they were finally in Bedonia itself, they saw how Prosciutto and Parmesan cheese were made. They visited castles, tasted some wine, went hiking and horseback riding, ventured to the local swimming hole, and still had time to gawk at the picturesque scenery. They were even welcomed by the Mayor and the Town Council, who arranged countless things for them to do while they were in the area. 

             They strolled into town and enjoyed the culture first hand, and have returned to the United States with a profound discovery that this tranquil way of life is far more important to salvage and must not only be preserved, but experienced. 

             The students became locals in a matter of days, and the town now has a bright future thanks to the unlikely collaboration of traditional values and modern culture meshing.

             Come live like an Italian, become one with the culture, and escape from the monotonous American lifestyles...Come experience Bedonia.

             To see the progress that the students have made, please go to Explore Bedonia.

             For more information about the Villa and private "off the beaten path" tours, contact Valerie at villatreangeli@gmail.com or view their web page at Villa Tre Angeli.

    Mountain hike to the top of Mount Penna, Bedonia, Parma Italy
    Mountain hike to the top of Mount Penna, Bedonia, Parma Italy.

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