Viterbo is a medieval city with a lively university community and active art scene. It is about one and a half hours from Rome and three hours from Florence, with easy connections to the Mediterranean and mountain regions. Viterbo residents have retained the charm and leisurely quality of life of days gone by. They still retain, for the most part, the tradition of closing from 1 pm to 4 pm in order to enjoy a relaxing lunch at home with the family. Each Saturday, there is an outdoor market in the main piazza where people browse and shop for clothes and houseware items. Fresh produce from local farms is also sold every morning in outdoor markets around town. Viterbo has kept a fascinating historical record of its past better than almost any place in Italy. Protected by a medieval wall, Viterbo’s fountains, palaces, quarters, and churches all exemplify its glorious and eventful heritage of art and culture. The San Pellegrino quarter is certainly the most characteristic and best preserved medieval quarter in Italy, a jewel of a thirteenth-century contrada with its small squares, houses, narrow lanes, arches, and characteristic profferli—the typical external stairs of the medieval houses of Viterbo. The thirteenth-century papal palace is evidence of Viterbo’s significant role as a place of refuge for medieval popes, and more recently as the film location for Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. Viterbo cuisine is some of the best in Italy thanks to the city's green surroundings, zero pollution, and the "art" of entertaining. Two local dishes not to miss are Lombrichelli alla viterbese and Acquacotta. Be sure to visit the Sagra festivals throughout the summer where one can sample pasta, gnocchi, and more.
Unnamed Road, Mount Abundance QLD 4455, Australia
Melbourne, Geelong and Warrnambool are all in the state of Victoria. Victoria is Australia’s smallest mainland state but has the second largest population, with approximately 5.2 million people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. It is a place of great contrasts—ocean beaches and mountain ranges, deserts and forests, volcanic plains and vast sheep and wheat farms. Victoria has national parks and forests teeming with wildlife; wineries, lakes and mountains offering climbing, hiking and skiing and the magnificent Great Ocean Road coastline, Australia’s premier surfing destination. The state has long been regarded as the cultural center of Australia, with a historic architectural elegance that characterizes the capital, Melbourne, and the regional cities. Victorians combine a strong cultural tradition with a contemporary and relaxed lifestyle, a distinct sense of community and a passionate interest in sports. Victoria also is the major center of education and research in Australia.
Bilbao is located in the north of Spain near the French border and has an international airport with direct flights to most large cities in Europe. Both Bilbao and Getxo (where most of the housing placements are located) are situated in an area of beautiful green mountains that face the ocean, making it possible to hike in the morning and go swimming in the afternoon. Close by, there are several picturesque coastal towns with great beaches that are easily accessible by public transportation. Bilbao is the poster city for successful urban renewal and the spectacular Guggenheim Museum of Art has ushered in an era of international tourism to the area; in urban renewal circles, the use of a revitalized cultural sector to kick start the renewal of a city’s economy is known as the “Bilbao effect.” Bilbao is home to some of the world’s most renowned architecture including: Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum, the Euskalduna Music Hall and Convention Centre, Norman Foster’s Underground, Calatrava’s Bilbao airport, and other projects by architects such as Arata Isozaki and Cesar Pelli. Additionally, the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation has given its approval to expand around Urdaibai's Natural Reserve area. Bilbao is the largest city in the Basque Country with a population of approximately 350,000; the greater Bilbao region has just under 1,000,000 inhabitants. Bilbao was recently recognized by the Eurostat report as one of the top three safest areas in the EU. It is an extremely walkable city with a great transportation system that is efficient and safe. The city includes many pedestrian areas, including the old quarter with shops, restaurants, and coffee houses. There is also a bike path along the riverfront and through the main street of town. Getxo is a charming, coastal community popular for its beaches, lively nightlife, and diverse cultural activities. It is well connected to downtown Bilbao by subway (20-25 minutes away). Getxo is a relatively young town—80% of the population is below the age of 60—and it is not touristy, maximizing the opportunity for students to meet local peers. Getxo is known for its numerous outdoor activities and cultural events including: surfing, canoeing, hiking, rollerblading, paragliding, music festivals, a medieval market, and much more.