Georgian Court University to Help Revitalize Bedonia Italy
By Anthony Mellone and Charli Topinka
This summer, Digital Communication and Graphic Design students will be traveling to Bedonia, Italy for a three-week study abroad workshop. The goal of the trip is to use what the students learned in their studies to help revitalize Bedonia, a small town in northern Italy. Bedonia is located in the region of Parma and is close to the Italian Rivera.
The trip was organized by the head of Georgian Court University’s Digital Communication Department, Dr. Gina Marcello, with the help of the Global Education department. Professor Marcello is friends with Val and Giancarlo Manfridini; the owners of Villa Tre Angeli, a Bed & Breakfast where the students will be staying.
Dr. Marcello had previously traveled to Bedonia and explored the area on her own. She had been backpacking in Bedonia when the idea of bringing students to the destination came to her and Val. “It would make an excellent community partner and be a great experience for students to help international tourism,” said Marcello discussing the opportunity.
Val, a native of Spring Lake, New Jersey, met Giancarlo on a trip in Bedonia she took as a young traveler. The two met and almost immediately fell in love. After building this connection, the two decided to open a Bed & Breakfast in Giancarlo’s father villa. Named “Villa Tre Angeli” after their three children, or “angels”, the establishment became one of the most successful businesses in the area.
Digital Communication students are currently working with Val and Giancarlo for their Professional Practices course to help build a media campaign and have it be carried out by the students traveling to the town this summer. Those going on the trip will also participate in workshops and will have the opportunity to work with the Department of Tourism in Bedonia.
Students hope to help the small town get back on its feet using tools like social media marketing, digital design, and public relations.
Charli Topinka, a Digital Communication major working with the town said, “Bedonia is a beautiful place, if only we could find a way to make people more aware of it.”
Tourism and travel in Bedonia has gone down in recent years. The city has a population of 3,526 people, down from 4,443 in 1991. Vacationers are continuously looking for better deals and have more resources then ever to find them. The town of Bedonia offers an untouched Italian experience with rates lower then more popular cites such as Rome and Milan.
With the help of these students and a digital media campaign, Georgian Court University plans to help rejuvenate this town. For more information, visit villatreangeli.com or visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/VillaTreAngeli.