Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ravenna Ross Reunion: Where the MBAs Meet the Adriatic

What better place to prepare for your MBA program than a small town on the northeast coast of Italy?

For the past two days I had the pleasure of being a guest of Nicola Sebastiani, a soon-to-be classmate of mine at University of Michigan. And not just me; another incoming student (Alexandra), plus a graduating student and his fiancée (Will and Annie) were there as well.

Ravenna is a small town, but we got the royal treatment. Two afternoons of beach, two evenings of delicious food and drink.

On the first day, we went straight for the beach. Perfect sand, good sun, and all the wrong women sunbathing nude.

Our evening began with appertivos. (Follow along with me.) Here's how this works: in the early evening, when you buy a drink, they bring you a giant plate of delicious snacks that could easily make a meal. But don't be fooled. The meal comes next.

For dinner, a first course of piadina, a typical dish from Ravenna. An indescribably good bread (like a thick, dense tortilla) is piled high with delicious goopy cheese, vegetables, and myriad varieties of shaved ham and sausage. Nicola showed us how it's done.

This, of course, is accompanied by San Giovese red wine and followed by the most delicately textured, mouth-wateringly flavored pastas. The white one looks unnerving, but looks can be deceiving.

The next day, Will and Annie begin their eight-train trek to Gimmelwald, Switzerland, and we eat lunch in a converted movie theater.

Nicola's girlfriend Laura (pronounced: Lauuuuu-rrrah) joined us from Modena, then it was back to the beach!

Before the sun fully set, it was time for our 10pm dinner at the marina. After Nicola translated the entire menu line by line for us, I decided on a seafood risotto and the delicious branzino you see below. (Yes, that is indeed more seafood and a potato crust topping the branzino.)

On the other end of the marina, it was time to join all of Nicola's hometown friends for a night at the club. This should give you some idea of it.

YouTube Video

Two things struck me about my experience staying with Nicola. First, seeing a town through the eyes of a local is immeasurably better than seeing it as a tourist. The most ordinary activities become enchanting. And second, I will be entering my program this fall with truly good friends.

Thanks for a great few days, Nicola! Go Blue!

Location:Ravenna, Italy


  1. Stay put .. looks, sounds amazing ... or would you gain some major pounds! Kim

  2. Kim: I'm going to gain pounds wherever I go in this country!

    Reader Erica points out in an email that Sangiovese is a grape, and at the wine comes from the Chianti region. Ugh, I had better start studying for my quiz...

  3. Sangiovese is the typical wine of the Romagna region ;)

  4. The story and pix were wonderful. The club video freaked me out. It was like the opening to one of those "American girl gets kidnapped in Europe" movies. (shiver) xo