What I did and saw:
Located a relatively short drive from Casalmaggiore is the city of Mantua (or Mantova in Latin and Italian). It was the city that the famous fictional Romeo was banished to in Shakespeare's famous play. It is a very nice place to walk through and has some very nice plazas such as the Piazza delle Erbe. While I was there they also had a festival going on with things like axe throwing and battle re-enactments.
Basilica di Sant'Andrea di Mantova-
The Saint Andrew Basilica is a beautiful building that is said to house some of the blood of Jesus. The relic was said to be originally discovered in 804 AD after being hidden underground for nearly 800 years, then rediscovered again in 1048. Construction on the church building itself began in 1472.
During my week in Casalmaggiore I taught at an ACLE English Camp. While it was not as well run as the camps I taught in Volterra or Cirie, it was still a lot of fun. The kids were great to work with, and it was fun to see their progress after just one week.
Festa della Zucca-
Every year there is a pumpkin festival in the Casalmaggiore area called the Festa della Zucca. There were a variety of pumpkin based foods, as well as live music and dancing. It was quite interesting to see a live band playing popular songs in English at a pumpkin festival by a cornfield in a small town in Italy.
Where I ate and drank:
Pizzeria Top 2000-
I had a nice meal at Pizzeria Top 200 with some of the other ACLE teachers and their host families.
Ristorante Pizzeria Secondo Piano-
Towards the end of the camp I taught in Casalmaggiore, I had a meal at Ristorante Pizzeria Secondo Piano with the rest of the teachers and staff from the camp. We were seated on a rooftop terrace and ate some tasty Italian food.
Wine & Coffee Sound-
To celebrate the end of the week, I went with some of the other teachers to Wine & Coffee Sound for an Italian aperitivo. An Italian aperitivo is when each person orders a drink and a large plate of food to share is brought with the drinks.
Gelateria Loggetta (Mantua)-
Like many places in Italy, Gelateria Loggetta serves some excellent gelato at great prices. I had some while strolling around and exploring the city of Mantua.
Where I stayed:
As with the other places I stayed while teaching with ACLE, I stayed with an Italian host family. They were very kind in showing me around and feeding me some amazing food. The host family I stayed with was also next door neighbors with the host family of one of the other ACLE teachers, and we did many things together throughout the week.
How I got around:
I took a couple trains to get to Casalmaggiore. Once there, my host family lent me a bike to get around town, and to get to and from the camp. When we went to Mantua we traveled by car.
My favorite thing:
My favorite thing about my time in Casalmaggiore was the food the host family nicely prepared for me and the food at (and general randomness of) the pumpkin festival.
My least favorite thing:
Casalmaggiore is a relatively small town and there is not a lot to do in the town itself. However, it seemed like a very safe town, and there were more things to do in the surrounding area.
For next time:
Next time in Casalmaggiore I would be interested in visiting more of the surrounding area.
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