Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

April 29, 2013

Real Italian flavor comes to town

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — It was an exchange with a real international flavor as a group of Italian scholars made Pauls Valley one of their stops on a tour of Oklahoma.

The visit came as an overflowing room of local Rotary Club members were introduced to four Italian professionals traveling the state for a month to find out more about how the educational system works here.

Offered with distinctive Italian accents, each one gave a short presentation on themselves complete with a slide show on their backgrounds, families, friends, what they like to do and a peek into where they come from.

Their leader is Claudio Pezzi, an attorney and Rotarian from Bologna, Italy.

“I’m the team leader of a group of scholars from Italy,” Pezzi said. “This group of four is here to know more about your academics, your educational system.

“They’re also here to get in touch with other academics; make experiences; make contacts for their future academic career,” he said.

“I say the fabulous four.”

With a handle on the English language that might be described as “very good,” those four are Jacopo Tilli, Andrea Govoni, Ester di Napoli and Vincenzo Zarone.

Tilli and Govoni are both mechanical engineers as Tilli works at a robotics center in Pisa, Italy, while Govoni hails from Parma, Italy.

Napoli is an attorney from Florence, Italy who has a doctorate in private international law.

Zarone has a doctorate in business administration and teaches at the University of Pisa.

All four had plenty to say about Pauls Valley and Oklahoma with one big impression being how spread out it is in this part of America.

“It’s gorgeous country, lovely people,” Tilli said. “It’s pretty different from where we’re from.”

Napoli agreed with that all the way.

“It’s exciting to see how different it is from our country,” she said. “We’re enjoying all the knowledge and activities you’ve given to us.”

Both Govoni and Zarone were struck by the people of PV and Oklahoma.

“I’m really impressed with the warmth of the people, the families we’ve met,” Govoni said.

“I don’t know how to express the warm welcome we’ve been given here,” Zarone said.

“I really like it here. Just like in our country a visitor is treated like a special guest. We’re being treated like very special guests.”

The only similarity with Pauls Valley came from Pezzi, who said his hometown is called a “packaging valley” because of its manufacturing and factories that make bags for all kinds of products.

With their tour scheduled to end in mid-May, other Oklahoma stops for the group include Altus, Lawton, Chickasha, Ada, Norman, Ardmore and Durant.