Thursday, June 10, 2010

Last Lunch in L'Aquila

Before we departed L'Aquila for my final meetings in Rome, Professor Anna Tozzi took us to a great restaurant, Ristorante Tipico Villa Feronia, a classic Italian restaurant from the historic center that was damaged badly by the earthquake and has now relocated to a rural area near town. This has been the case, and much like New Orleans after Katrina, where the good restaurants were forced to relocate into new areas, but maintained their excellent food and service. It was always a pleasure visiting the restaurants with the faculty and the people of L'Aquila as they could tell us the history, order the house specialties and converse with the owners. We were treated with excellent anti-pasta, specialty vegetables of the area, two pasta dishes and dessert. Oh, and the bread. They had a unique bread that was near a beignet - light puff and fried. Professor Tozzi is in charge of International Affairs for the University of L'Aquila and we discussed the agreement between LSU and L'Aquila and the potential areas for collaboration. We have made dear friends in L'Aquila and Rome. After staying 5 weeks in an area, you are not a tourists. You become one of the "locals" and I believe that Susan and I have made friends for life from both the University, the Fulbright staff, the Canadian Hotel owners and staff, several university students, many university faculty and local residents. It has been a great experience, like no other that I can relate.

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