A Quiet Weekend at the Villa Maderni

With 16 of the 21 students traveling to Cinque Terre in Italy this weekend, it has been a quiet weekend at the villa for the four of us that remained behind. We took this opportunity to travel to a local winery to taste the Merlots, which are a specialty in this region. I have posted a few pictures from this trip. The winery is located about 2 miles from the villa.

Later in the afternoon Will Feeney (a UVA undergraduate) and I traveled to the top of Monte Generoso (1704m above sea level). This peak towers above Riva San Vitale and can be seen from the Villa Maderni. The peak is to the right of the bell tower (see picture) on the baptistery located adjacent to the villa. These bells make an excellent alarm clock that many students have come to love in the past week – as you can imagine.

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This coming week, we travel to Bern to meet with the U.S. Ambassador and members of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. We will also visit various locations within Bern that showcase interesting forms of (sustainable) development. During the past week, I have required students to read material on the main theories of economic growth, development, and technological innovation, which have provided them with an awareness of how nations can position themselves to be competitive in the global economy. Their current task is to review the EU 2020 development strategy or the Swiss Government’s strategy for sustainable development to see if they can identify which form of development each entity is pursuing – as you can imagine there are many ways in which a region or country can develop. This is no easy task, especially for a group of (primarily) architectural students who have not studied economic development theories before, but my hope is that this task will broaden their perspective of development and prime them with many questions for the officials and planners we meet in Bern.

Author: Ralph Hall, Assistant Professor, VT.

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