Eric Holmlund, PhD





Paul Smith’s College
Program Director, Environmental Studies, Recreation, and Liberal Arts
Director, Adirondack Watershed Institute Stewardship Program

Five students and one professor from Paul Smith’s College touched down in Newark, New Jersey fundamentally changed in ways that they can only partially realize. Three weeks of incredibly varied and rich experiences in the Tosco-Emiliano Appennines can have no other effect on a person. My head and heart are still filled with impressions, images, sounds,tastes, and insights from the many people and landscapes I encountered with you and the students. You are truly fortunate to have such an unspoiled cultural and natural resource in your park and its surrounding communities. I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you sincerely for the tremendous care you extended to us. You listened to us, made sure we were comfortable, challenged, well-fed, had constant access to espresso, and that we were able to access people, places and experiences important to the goals of our project. You each made yourself professionally and personally available to us, and showed such wit, hospitality, flexibility, and graciousness, not just for one day, or one week, but for three weeks.

Dr. Frank Costantino

Dean Costantino





Dean of the School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management at Monroe College
“I cannot tell you how appreciative I am for the care you and your team provided for our students…you all went above and beyond to show them what hospitality is
Again, I thank you so much for your care and I look forward to seeing you next year with a brand new group”

Joan Dembinski – Schenectady County Community College Summer 2015
What a special time with a fantastic group of dear students and instructors and talented Chefs in Italy. Our heartfelt thanks to you, Giacomo Berselli and Chef Rocco Verrigni for all of your efforts to make this journey a reality.

Ron Ragucci – Schenectady County Community College Summer 2015
Thanks for all u did, it is a trip that will never be forgotten.

Kelly Honsinger – Schenectady County Community College Summer 2015
Home after truly THE most phenomenal experience. I met some amazing and interesting friends that felt like family in the end. We traveled together stopping in many cities such as Nettuno, Rome, Ferrara, Bologna, Venice, Parma, Asti and Milano. We experienced history, culture, agriculture, food, wine and participated in culinary classes from some outstanding chefs. I would have never been able to experience this without SCCC, Chef Rocco Verrigni and the Marco Polo Institute …thank you! Rocco Verrigni

Joyce Chowenhill – Schenectady County Community College Summer 2015
We are in Asti, Italy staying at the Instituto Oblati Di San Giuseppe. Took classes at Agenzia Di Formazione Professionale Delle Colline Astigiane. Chef Sergio Maria Teutonico who is an expert in wine and food who teaches and works in some of the most prestigious cooking schools in Italy was our Teaching Chef. They were the most enjoyable classes for me. He was such an amazing instructor.

Kacie Monahan  Paul Smith’s College, Hospitality Student
“So our Trip to Italy is over. The time flew past and we are now home. It was such a great experience and I am really glad I got the opportunity to go. Our group of girls was perfect and we got through it together! Classes went great and working was even better. The weather warmed up while in Rome and we got to experience the real “Roman Weather” that everyone kept telling us about! It was time to come home and see my family but I am already missing Italy! I hope I get the chance to go back soon!”


Leonides Rodriguez Jr. Monroe College, Culinary Student
“As soon as the plane landed in Italy I couldn’t wait for that door to open. I hopped over the tiny gap between the plane and the stairs, opened my nostrils as wide as I could, took a deep breath and filled my lungs with as much marvelous cool Italian breeze as I could, and spread open my arms to hug beautiful Italy.
I was here…I felt an amazing feeling of success and…I felt like this landing was the beginning of something that would drastically change my life. I could not wait to see the land of my favorite cuisine and what life in Italy had in store for us.”


Paul Wichert Great Lakes Culinary Institute, Culinary Student
“Our Italian Experience has taken us to Assisi for four weeks. The food of Umbria is the best. These are the foods I will prepare at home because I insist that it brings out the best in me. Our school gave a going away medieval party. We made medieval Umbrian dishes. A student chef/chanteuse sang latin medieval songs between course. The drum corps dressed in costume banged for the flags throwers, who twirled the banners on the highest castle walls. They paused for refreshments and finished the act. In Assisi, medieval customs are retained and passed unto the next generation.”