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32 students from the USA studying food as culture in Barga

local food is once more of interest to visitors from abroad

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Thirty two students from the Arcadia University in Philadelphia USA were in Barga this week studying the concept of food as a cultural icon and signifier.

They were here with their course leaders, Dr. Geoff Haywood, Charmayne Thompson  and Andee Sorenson – a connoisseur of all things Tuscan, who’s well read website, carries on the front page the following text which pretty much sums up her whole philosophy –  “Sustaining the Italian art of enjoyment by connecting you to it.”

Traveling Native is inspired by the way of life in rural Tuscany. It is a form of smart travel, culinary exploration and cultural learning. Travelers, students and artisans become part of Italy’s traditions and artistry. Experiences cultivate peace and wellbeing by broadening perspective and educating the palate.

We see diversity as the essential ingredient for learning and the boundaries between travelers and locals as meeting points for exchange. Our goal is to promote the art of enjoyment, the natural beauty, and the rich cultural heritage of a less-published landscape.

Apart from a brief visit to the obvious places that a visitor to Barga would go to get a feeling for the city – through Barga Vecchia stopping at Da Aristo’s, the unofficial cultural centre of Barga and then up to the Duomo, the students spent the bulk of their time down in Barga Giardino in the kitchens of the Fratelli Lucchesi where Paolo Lucchesi and his team were on hand to show the students some of the secrets of preparing and baking their prize winning biscuits and cakes using chestnut flour.


The Arcadia University continues to be number one in the United States in its respective category for study abroad participation, according to the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange 2013.

Arcadia has earned this recognition based on the percentage of undergraduate students participating in a study abroad experience at a master’s level college or university.   Arcadia University has retained its position at the top of this national category for five of the past six years, as determined by the Institute of International Education (IIE) with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. – their site is here

The Arcadia Promise: A distinctively global, integrative and personal learning experience that prepares you to contribute and prosper in a diverse and dynamic world.

The Arcadia Promise affirms that students will have a distinctively global, integrative and personal learning experience that prepares them to contribute and prosper in a diverse and dynamic world. The Arcadia Promise sums up the collective experiences of generations of alumni and the collective efforts of the faculty and staff who create Arcadia’s distinguished learning environment. Arcadia students are challenged to achieve their full potential and recognize their ability and responsibility to make choices that affect the future of their world. Whether they pursue an undergraduate, graduate or continuing education path, they are part of a mutually supportive community. Through interactions with faculty, staff and peers representing a diversity of cultural backgrounds, they gain self-confidence and respect for others, learn by using the latest technologies, and acquire essential skills and knowledge that prepare them for a rich and meaningful life.

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