Ciao amici! We have officially been in Viterbo for one week. It’s been a loooooooong week (I had to double check that it’s actually only been a week), but a great one.
My classes started this week (I added a drawing class to my planned lineup of Travel Photography and Introduction to Italian) and we’ve been exploring the city, adapting to Italian routines and making some friends.
And we’ve been settling into our apartment! We have a spacious two-bedroom place inside the historic walled part of the city. The building super who lives across the hall and our landlady are friendly and helpful and enjoy renting to Americans in the USAC program. It’s close to the university, a billion small businesses and a fabulous gelateria. It’s taken some getting used to — because this rental is often inhabited by college students, it didn’t have all the things we needed (like bathmats, measuring spoons or scissors) and we’ve had to learn some new systems, but it’s feeling more like home.
Our wifi isn’t good enough to upload a video tour, so here’s a photo tour (with some friendly/goofy models to help):
There’s an adorable tiny Italian car in the entryway to our building. I have no idea why it’s there, but it’s a nice way to be welcomed inside. We live on the second floor … and Italian floor counting starts at 0, so it’s a good stair workout.
The big kitchen table is the heart of the house. We eat here (when we’re not out having pizza), Tim and I work and write here, and we’ve gotten in plenty of Uno games, too.
My work station (plus the boys’ coloring station).
Part of the reason we spend so much time at the table is that this is our only other piece of sitting furniture. It’s a comfy couch for reading, listening to music, working and relaxing.
We have an amazing terrace! We didn’t expect any outdoor space so this was a pleasant surprise. It’s been pouring rain so we haven’t gotten to use it a ton, but the forecast is slated to brighten up to typical central Italian summer weather this weekend. I’m hoping to add a basil plant and maybe some flowers, and our neighbors have nice plants we can enjoy too. (Henry has never actually swept the terrace — he just wanted to look busy in the picture!)
Also on the terrace — the laundry room! Our washer is teeny but it works well.
Normally we’ll dry the laundry on the terrace too, but the rain has kept it inside. You can see here the big open area at the front of the apartment — perfect for the kids to run around in (except during the strict quiet hours Italians keep).
Our little fridge is actually pretty big by European standards. I like it because it encourages us to be tidy and to use everything we buy, not just stock up and hope. Every day we stop by the little nearby supermarket or some of the many cheese, meat, salame, produce, pasta, pastry etc. shops, depending on what we need. (I did trek across town to the giant supermarket to get a jar of peanut butter, though!)
No dishwasher here! The boys are learning to help with dishes … though once again Henry is just posing for show 🙂
Like the small fridge, the trash system in Viterbo discourages waste. We have bins for glass, organic waste and non-recyclable waste (shown here) and a bin for paper and cardboard (which was downstairs when I took the photo), and we separate metal and plastic into another bag. We have to take bins and bags to the front of the building to be picked up every day but Sunday! Thankfully the USAC staff and our neighbors have helped us learn to keep everything in order.
The boys love their room and spend lots of time in it. We couldn’t pack many toys — just three stuffed animals each, a small bag of Legos and some art supplies — but mostly they just bounce around playing imaginary games, anyway. They also have their Nintendo Switch and Kindle tablets loaded with books, comics, music and a few movies — lucky for them, technology is easy to bring along!
The closet in our room is 5 times bigger than our closet at home, which is funny because we brought few clothes.
The bathroom has snazzy slate tile, nifty sinks and lots of space. And a bidet! (Not pictured.)
Unrelated to the apartment, but I had to show off the unsweetened ice tea I made. (It really is NOWHERE here — we met friends at McDonalds today and I was so psyched to get iced tea … but it was the same delicious but super-sugary stuff everyone sells in Italy.) Cheers to making it through the tour. Ciao!