Yesterday we arrived in Frascati, a pretty little town situated in the hills a few miles outside of Rome. We’ll be in Frascati for the week during the Itala Kongreso, the national congress of Italian Esperantists. It’s very beautiful here, from the old buildings and fountains in the town to the panoramic views of Rome and the countryside visible from the congress center, which is located in an old monastery.

This congress is fairly unique, as most of the participants are Italian. There are a good number of international Esperantists as well, but the majority are from Italy. It has been a fun and lively congress so far, with lots of interesting presentations and workshops, and we have been having some great conversations with the other attendees. Because it’s a national congress, and most people speak Italian as their first language, there has been a lot more “crocodiling” here (speaking your native language during an Esperanto event, one of the few Esperanto faux pas), but it has given Angelica some opportunities to practice her Italian skills.

Today we attended the inauguration of the congress, which featured Humphrey Tonkin, a well known American Esperantist, as the keynote speaker. His talk was very interesting, and started this congress off on a tone that contrasted to the previous events we attended. He called out Esperantists’ preoccupation with language politics, while acknowledging that these goals are serious and valid, and called on Esperantists to take on the world’s “big problems.” Specifically, he discussed the UN’s millenium goals, and encouraged listeners to consider how Esperantists could help to address the world’s problems like poverty, hunger, and the need for civil society.

After the inauguration, we spent a few hours exploring the Frascati’s city center. It’s truly a beautiful city, and the center is full of old buildings and interesting shops and restaurants. We had been looking forward to trying the local cuisine, and our first lunch was excellent. Bri tried gnocchi with tomato and calamari, and Angelica had paccheri al la amatriciana, both of which were great. On Wednesday we are planning to spend the day exploring Rome, and we are excited to find even more beautiful streets and delicious food.

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