It was planned months ago and finally on the 19th of June eleven members of AEGEE-Budapest arrived in Siena to visit, enjoy and appreciate the Tuscan city for four days together with the members of AEGEE-Siena.
The members from AEGEE-Budapest were hosted by AEGEE-Siena’s members. The activities during the exchange were entirely programmed by the organisers, who managed to take the Hungarian guests to some of the magnificent places of Siena. To describe this, it’s best to describe them in order.
First, Prof. Alessandra Viviani – Siena University’s international relationship responsible – visited the group on the 19th of June, to give the guests from Budapest the best welcome, after which the group visited the historical hall “Sala Patrizi”. The following day, the group visited the first of the three UNESCO’s assets of Siena: the city center.
In particular, special attention was paid to the Town Hall, the cathedral of the city and the Nobile Contrada del Bruco. The same day the group met some exponents of the Jewish community of Siena, who introduced them to the synagogue and the Jewish culture. It was a good way to match different interesting topics, such as the situation and history of Jews in Europe, with particular reference to the differences between Italy and Hungary on this subject and focusing the debate on life of minorities. The 21st of June, the Hungarian guests were taken to the town of Monteriggioni, Castellina in Chianti and the Castle of Brolio. The last day of the exchange, the theatre of the beautiful journey, consisted of a visit to the second of three UNESCO’s assets, the area of Val d’Orcia. The group visited the Abbey of “Monte Oliveto Maggiore” and the historical center of Pienza, just before an enjoyable lunch in a typical Tuscan winery.
Siena – with its traditions, the division in 17 “districts” (“contrade”), the Palio, the marvelous landscape offered by Chianti, Val d’Elsa and Val d’Orcia, the unique wine and the Tuscan food – confirmed the attractiveness to AEGEE-Budapest members. Even though the guests paid a low fee, all meals were paid for them and they could visit several places, otherwise expensive to access. The exchange organisers (who were new to AEGEE) didn’t have that much experience with this kind of challenges, but hosted participants in their own houses. Even moving with the organisers’ cars had its silver lining. Participants didn’t have to get bored while waiting for public transportation and they had the chance to visit as many places as possible, while having a lot of fun during the travels from one destination to another.
What was the result of the exchange? AEGEE-Siena and AEGEE-Budapest spent four beautiful days staying together and the organisers had great satisfaction in showing what Siena is and what it has to offer. In addition, the exchange was a good contribution to the goal of integration among young people from different European cities, which is one of AEGEE’s purposes. AEGEE-Budapest’s members appreciated the organisation of the exchange as they did the city of Siena. Moreover, they found a group of open-minded AEGEEans who will always be available to welcome them, being glad to spend some good time together.
Written by Andrea Cianti, AEGEE-Siena