NYU Florence is different from any other Study Abroad site. Its campus is made up of Villa La Pietra’s world-famous gardens and the bucolic agricultural landscape that surrounds them. As a small, but perfect, 37acre Tuscany Villa Estate it produces food but its main purpose for more than 550 years has been the wellbeing of the community it serves. Today, that community is the students and staff that form the NYU Florence family.
Broadly, the estate may be divided in to two parts: the formal gardens where students may participate in outdoor classes, revise for upcoming exams or simply relax, take the sun and enjoy a homemade picnic in beautiful surroundings; the Community Farm made up of the olive groves and the walled garden, the Pomario, supplying the on-site cafeteria with fresh, zero-miles, produce in a way that is also good for our environment. Together they form a Green Laboratory of learning opportunities for a range of courses and extracurricular activities.
Through talks, workshops and discussion groups, Terra Firma aims to facilitate a deeper appreciation of this special place, to more fully enjoy it and to use it as a mirror reflecting wider issues in the world.
Starting January 23rd, every Monday to Thursday, students are welcome to join the gardening team at either 10:30 AM or at 2:00 PM and participate in practical gardening in the vegetable garden or in the campo.
Making the Most of Your Time on a Tuscan Villa Estate (Sign up Here)
Villa La Pietra, the Tuscan Villa Estate that is home to NYU, Florence makes our campus unique amongst NYU Study Abroad sites. The combination of a house, a garden and agricultural land constitutes a Villa Estate, a concept that traces its origins back to ancient Rome. A Villa Estate produces food but it is not a farm and its primary purpose is the wellbeing of the people who live on it. Cultivating the arts, the beauty of the wider landscape and human wellbeing are as important as the cultivation of the food it produces. This event allows students to appreciate Villa La Pietra’s long history, see how various families have lived on the estate and how NYU students may now make the most of the opportunities it offers to improve their knowledge, understanding and wellbeing.
Hungry Gap and cooking lesson
Within the year there are months of natural abundance, but the end of winter is known as the hungry gap in Tuscany. This workshop examines why this is and looks at some of the delicious foods that have come out of ensuring that no one went without at this time of year. Using black cabbage, traditionally the only green vegetable growing in the vegetable garden at this time of year, we will create a simple, tasty, meal and, in doing so learn about seasonality and the value of kale cabbages in our diets.
Foraging and cooking lesson
Foraging has become trendy in the USA, but has long been a traditional part of Tuscan cooking. This workshop looks at the basics of foraging and equips us to identify some common but tasy produce that can be found in the olive groves at Villa La Pietra. Who knew that there are natural wild-growing herbs and edible greens on our campus? Come help us forage on Wednesday and team up with students from the local Buontalenti Catering School to harvest these secret wild delights from campus!
Growing Food at Villa La Pietra – Part 1
(more information to follow)
Lerning about the tradition of growing citrus plants in Tuscany. Followed by citrus fruit lunch.
Growing Food at Villa La Pietra – Part 2
(more information to follow)