Considering that the day before I departed from Bologna towards Urbino there was a 24-hour train strike, and that two days later there was a fire at a train station in Rome that paralyzed half the nation, my train ride to Pesaro and the subsequent bus ride to Urbino was a breeze. I got lucky.

Once in Urbino though, the story was different. I had never received detailed instructions from ISIA as to where I was supposed to sleep the six days I was spending in this nice small town. Turns out my dorms where a few minutes away from the center of town. The building, designed by renowned architect Giancarlo De Carlo, was very Bauhaus.

An observation I was able to make after I found it, which took me some 25 minutes. In general, signage in Italy is an art yet-to-be-mastered, and the Urbino variety was no exception. On the plus side, this allowed me to start putting into practice my knowledge of Italian, beginning with a Sicilian student named Salvo that helped me find the right dorms.

As you can tell by the video below (in Spanish), once I found the room I was very happy.

The dorms (named Il Colle) were located about 15 minutes away on foot from the city center. This meant that every day I had a commute through a forest, with amazing views of the Palazzo Ducale inside Urbino, as well as the valley below. The video (in English) will give you an idea of what the “commute” was like.

One problem solved, one more to go. I arrived on Sunday afternoon, and did not know when class was supposed to start the next morning. I decided to find out by going to the school, hoping I would find someone who knew.

Turned out there were a lot of people I could ask, since the other workshop taking place that week was having a welcome party. I crashed the party, talked with everyone (tutto in italiano, naturalmente) and after finding out I was to be in class at 9am, I ended up staying and later even dinning with the group. I wasn’t the only one from my workshop who joined, it was a bunch of us.

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Late at night as I was getting ready to go to bed, the iPhone reminded me an important event was coming up the next day: the ISIA Urbino Type Design Week 2011 was about to begin.