Business in Italy
With the annual Doing Business in Italy Study Abroad trip, Professor Abey Kuruvilla and his students spend two weeks visiting business establishments, manufacturing centers, teaching institutions, and cultural settings in Rome, Trento, Mezzacorona, Venice, Lecce, and Consenza, Italy.
Professor Kuruvilla loves to share his students' journey on this life changing trip with parents, faculty, and the community through short notes and poetry. Explore Italy with them!
The bustle of Rome. Of multiple languages passing you on Via Del Corsa. Of street musicians that create magic through sound, of fallen beggars asking for a euro, of the smell of cigarettes and wafts of coffee, of losing yourself in a sea of humanity, of beautiful brides hoping for marriages to last as long as the buildings they pose by, of the vendors selling crafted wooden bowls, of cheese by the Pantheon, of a bright spring morning, and of the excited chatter of my students who experience all this for the first time and the bright happy looks on their faces, of late night conversations and of the promise of a bright tomorrow for them through an international experience.
Some days are just the brightest of days and today is one of them....and how lucky I am as a professor to watch transformation unraveling before me!
May 26, 2019
Sartagna is a little village across the river from the main station in Trento. We take an overnight train from Rome and stay at the Grand Trento hotel, where the Kennedys stayed in the 60s. Unable to check in till 2 pm, we explore the town - a walk that takes us to the cable car across the river. Some students are experiencing this for the first time. About 2000 ft up we are in this little Alpine village. Sunday bells toll inviting residents to mass. Several nuns greet us as they enter and a few of us decide to join. A beautiful Latin chant fills the relatively modern church washed in art, and we take the entire last row. Older women stop by to greet us in Italian. The mass begins and we leave a little later to explore more. Young spring ferns grow on the centuries old retaining walls that lead us to even younger vineyards. "Giovanni" a mom yells to her 3 year old running along a row of green. We discover an old cemetery and a snow stream. Cole has to get in and experience this first hand, savoring the cold spring water and others jump in. We are awestruck at the view below as we imagine a life here in the mountains. David has overcome his fear of heights on the return ride and laughter fills the air as we savor multiple pizzas in the valley below served by a nervous but happy young server named Barr. Another day and the beginning of another adventure in the north of Italy.
May 27, 2019
Lucio is a winemaker at Mezzacorona, the home of the pinot grigio. Today's business visit wakes everyone up, dressed to impress. Each has a special touch. AJ and Noah are in full suits purchased in Rome, topping them off with colorful ties and straw hats with leather bands. Cole sports an orange handkerchief on his jacket, Judith is in a classic khaki and blue, Bryanna in striking yellow, Trevor in a neat denim, David in a checkered blue, Garrett in blood red, Catalina in a sweater pairing her brown pants, Tessa in a pair of gold sandals and Michael in all black with matching glasses. I couldn't be prouder to see this group against the backdrop of the Mezzacorona mountains ready to take on the world in our first business visit in Italy. Our train ride across the vineyards should have been more eventful but everyone is also tired from the hike. We are greeted by Claudia from the events department and Lucio exemplifies its enthusiasm. The tour itself goes through the details of the history of this cooperative of 1700 farmers that shares its stakes and grows with the company. The 170 million facility is built into the mountain with vineyards that grow on its sloping roofs, mimicking the mountains in its structure. I've never met anyone so passionate and so involved and so deeply encyclopedic about what they do. Lucio helps us imagine the Romans traveling out and the Germans coming in through these mountain ranges and the grape seed that moved with them and the land that is cultivated by the silt from the Adige river, the humidity of the air, the ph level of the soil, the smells of the land, the tautness of the grapeskin when plucked, the color of the tannin that is prevented from seeping into the wine by that exact moment that farmers pick the grape to produce that glass of wine reveling in the perfect notes of the fruits around the winery and the bees that pollinate. Never could we see a glass of wine, developed by generations of farmers, the same again!
Claudia and I chat about internships for my students and personal challenges that she is facing as we connect again as friends. What a wonderful informal partnership we have with Mezzacorana, I muse, as I look at her arranging the cheese and the salami and the prosetto and the nuts and the elegantly but differently shaped glasses for red and white wine. We are in a room the architect designed with events in mind. Surrounded by 40 foot walls that have wooden shelves populated by empty glass bottles, our chatting and our laughter bounce off and echo the walls as if doubling our joy. My students are looking extraordinary in their attires sipping on their wine, paired per Lucios suggestions, to the food being served and lit up by soft focus lamps overhead. We can almost imagine the grapes growing on the slanted roof above serving and satisfying many many more visitors. Today we can appreciate wine and the farmer families and the land and the glass and the cheese a little more and the fact that so much goes into the art of winemaking in this little valley nested in the dolomites but making an impact worldwide as pinot grigio - the champagne of Italy.
Cole chews on a bright green apple as we leave the Mezzacorona valley to catch our train.
June 2, 2019