Bend Belluno Sister Cities Cultural Exchange

Italian Food, Wine and Culture evenings held monthly at The Wine Shop in downtown Bend. Topics range from Italian olive oil and gellato, to biking, hiking, music and history with presentations made by knowledgeable locals or guest visitors from Belluno.

The Bend Belluno Sister City Association periodically sponsors informal talks on "Italian Food, Wine, and Culture". This popular series is the idea and work of Gerald Marcyk, PhD.

Upcoming Topics and Presenters:

Anna Pollino "Back to Trentino-Alto Adige" and friends in Belluno


Umbria - 
The Green Heart of Italy

Anna Pollino: 

Previous Topics and Presenters

Local residents and frequent Italian travelers Jon and Lynn Putnam made a second visit this time to share their amazing photos of Orvieto.  Jon’s well organized presentation give the audience a historic overview of Orvieto their favorite Italian hill town. Jon shared some practical tips about taking the advice of locals for the best restaurants.

Italian Car Culture

Tim and Kim Morris, automobile experts and owners of the show winning German Master Tech restoration and repair shop,  shared stories and photos of Italian Car Culture.  Tim shared his visit to 8 Italian car museums in Northern Italy with his favorite the Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese.  Then we got to take a road trip through the Dolomites.  Kim shared their favorite hotel in Cortina and one of their favorite stops at Lago Maserina.  For the "La Bella Machina" lovers Tim shared a great link to 8 Automotive Museums in Northern Italy


Hiking the Italian Coast:  

Cinque Terre, Ischia, Sorrento and Almfi

Jon and Lynn Putnam 

Marci Padgett
"Living and Laughing in Tuscany"

Marci lived for nearly ten years in a large villa outside the city of Arezzo, east of Sienna and shared some delightful and culturally insightful stories.  Plus she shared some travelers tips which we've posted under, (you guessed it) "travelers tips" on this site.


​     Travels From The Edges to the Interior of Italy
     COCC Professor Greg Lyons

Admission is always free for people 21 and older. But we do ask attendees to support the enoteca by buying a glass of wine or a snack before the talk. 
It's a great way to learn something new, have a glass of wine with friends, and meet other local people who share our enthusiasm about Italy.
Please email for more information.

Italian Food, Wine

and Culture


Local Italophile and traveler Jerry Marcyk  shares practical information on how to see Venice.   We are currently unable to load the entire PowerPoint presentation, until we do we have added several shots of Jerry's presentation. 

Lynn and Jon shared photographs and tips on hiking the rugged Italian coastal.   They shared details of flooding along Cinque Terre trails.   then took us by bus to Monte Epomo and a coastal stroll to Sant’ Angelo hikes on the Island of  Ischia, inland to Sant’ Agata and out to the ancient Greek and Roman offeratory at Punta Campanella near Sorrento, and finally, an eerie scramble on the famous Sentiero degli Dei, “Pathway of the Gods” on the  Amalfi Coast. 

This popular monthly event is hosted by Melanie Betti in her enoteca The Wine Shop and Tasting Bar in downtown Bend. Topics have included "The Secrets of Fine Olive Oil" , "Touring Italy by Bicycle", "Hut to Hut Hiking in the Dolomites"  and "The Art of Gelato".  All of the talks are accompanied by high quality photos or videos projected on a flat panel TV.

We have been especially fortunate to host two native Italian speakers in the past year who gave personal insights into the "Longarone Dam Disaster" and "My hometown of Feltre".

The Shaffer family  showed photos and sharing stories of food, hikes,  and great sites to visit in the islands off the coast of Italy including Sicily Gigilio, Elba, Sardinia, and the tiny island of Ventotene west of Naples.  The Shaffer family spent two glorious years in Italy while Ryan was teaching at an international school in Rome.

Greg shared stories and amazing photos to another SRO crowd.  From the Dolomites , Lake Como, and Torino in the north,  to the medieval cities of Perugia and Urbino and to the mosaic treasures of  Ravenna..

James Knox, Professor of music at COCC took his sabbatical and family of 6 to Belluno this past spring.  James and Heather and their four children spent 10 active weeks in our Italian sister city. The whole family jumped into a number of Belluno groups and events starting with a community running club, a Belluno language high school and assisting in vocal instruction and music events included  singing in the community concert.

   "A Month in Genoa"

   Jerry Marcyk


Scenes from the Italian Road Trip

Mary Ann Hadlock and Patricia Paredes shared practical advice about visiting Sicily, the largest island in Europe is home to Greek temples,  Roman mosaics,  a rich and unique culture,  beautiful Mediterranean beaches, an active volcano, and great food and wine.  

"Growing up in Florence" 

Christina Cappy, Ph.D. professor of anthropology, language teacher, and founder of the Bend Language Institute shared stories and photos about moving to Florence as an American teenager and slowly and sometimes painfully becoming "an Italian teenager".   As an 

Margi Legowik and Anna  Pollino

Santa Margherita Ligure

The first talk of the 7th year of Jerry's Italian Wine and Culture series this Tuesday. Italian traveler and science educator Anna Pollino shared amazing stories and photos of hiking along Lego di Garda the largest lake in Italy, great wines and cheese, and beautiful vistas of the Italian Alps.

Anna finished by sharing the value of international friendships and going beyond the "Tourist Mindset."  She finished her most recent trip to Italy staying in Belluno visiting friends she hosted through our sister city connections.  Anna shares a meal with Eleonora and Ilaria.

March 3rd:  Sherri Hogshead "Diversity in the Dolomites"

March 31:  Deborah Betz " Island of Elba"

​     "How I paint my way through Italy"
     Bend artist Cindy Briggs

Cindy delighted the crowd with a few of her beautiful watercolor images from Italy and shared secrets of how to enjoy Italy.  As a painter Cindy said one can sit themselves in a beautiful spot all day and "just take it all in" as you discover the culture of each city, village or county side.

List of Previous Topics and Presenters

Sicily to Sardinia: 

Exploring the Italian Islands 

Sandy, Ryan and Alex Shaffer

Ten Tips for Visiting Rome - Andy and Caitlin Vades  
Climbing the Via Ferrata and the front lines of WWI - Frank Florence and Julie Hudson
Hut to hut hiking on the Alta Via in the Dolomites - Sally and Gary Winter
Italian Style in Art, Architecture, and Fashion - Professor Greg Lyons
Magical Italy - Hilloah Rohr
From the Mediterranean to the Alps - Hilloah Rohr
Hut to hut hiking in Italy - John Schubert 
A Personal Guide to Feltre - Stefano Perer 
Secrets of Fine Olive Oil - Gina Minnis 
The Art of Gelato - Jeff and Julie Labhar
The  Longarone Dam Disaster - Zara De Min  
Villages, Vines and Vistas - Bicycle touring in Italy  Larry Smith
Autumn Excursions from Florence - Greg Lyons  
Our culinary exchange with Belluno
Chef Dave and Melissa - COCC Cascades Culinary Institute
Belluno, Our Italian Sister City - Oran and Jane Teater

Beautiful BellunoA wonderful place like home   James and Heather Knox

Jerry opened our eyes to the beauty of Genoa with its old world archeitectue, many piazzas and narrow but coloriful streets.  Jerry a masterful travel guide shared the secrets of Camogli, this beautiful and historic fishing village is just a 20 train ride from Genoa."  Plus Jerry shared a few insiders tips of foods of Genoa

anthropologist, she was able to professionally pointed out cultural differences between Italy and the United States when it comes to culture and teenagers.

  • Body language is important to Italians
  • Their space between communicator and one being communicated to is close.
  • Being late is more the norm in Italy - do not panic should your Italian sister, brother, or family are a bit late.                                                               

What a delightful hour hearing about the advantages of a month long adventure  "AirBnB-ing through Northern Italy".  Accommodations ranging from modest to marvelous, stories and tales from hilarious to heart warming.  Margi and Anna's stories confirm our belief that "The less you spend on your trip to Italy the closer you get to the people and the culture".

For those wanting travel ideas Anna shared their Itinerary:


            day trips to Celle Monte and Casale Monferatto….Infernot
     Montefort d’Alba
     Santa Margarita
     Montova - Saint George’s Castle
     Rochetta Mattei


"Sicily:  Sights and Delights"

BEN ARRIVATA                   DI                       EVENTI                       SCAMBI                   METTE IN EVIDENZA              CONTATTO

AirBnB Across Italy - "The less you spend on your trip to Italy the closer you get to the people and the culture".