Arturo Cocchi

PhD student at MICT, imec research group at Ghent University, Belgium

arturo cocchi
“Italy’s cultural tapestry is a masterpiece, woven with diverse languages, flavors, and landscapes, making it an enriching and unforgettable experience.”

Unveiling authentic villages beyond tourist hotspots

In November 2022, Arturo Cocchi joined imec, aiming to pursue his PhD in Communication Sciences. Originating from the beautiful Lake Garda region in Italy, he resided in the Netherlands for two years to successfully accomplish his master’s degree in Behavioral Science before embarking on his academic journey in Belgium.

limone - harbor
Lake Garda - Limone sul Garda harbor

On a journey toward multicultural enrichment

In line with the worldwide situation, Italy underwent substantial disruptions in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to the enforcement of stringent measures. However, during the summer of that year, some of the restrictions eased slightly, allowing Arturo to embark on a 12-hour drive to Nijmegen in the Netherlands.

While doing his master’s degree in Nijmegen, Arturo had a meaningful multicultural exchange with both his roommates, coming from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Germany and Russia, and his university colleagues. The openness to the international environment with which he interacted resulted in strong bonds of friendship as they shared various life experiences and points of view. This experience of living in an atmosphere of respect in an international setup, functioning in a respectful way to people coming from foreign cultures, prepared him for his next journey at MICT, an imec research group at Ghent University in Belgium. Together with his current colleagues, he forms a diverse and polytropic group of talented professionals working in a friendly atmosphere.

creamy risotto - a northern italian delicacy
Creamy Risotto - A northern Italian delicacy

The cultural mosaic of culinary delights and diverse landscapes

Italy enjoys remarkable cultural and regional diversity, evident in various aspects of Italian life, including language, cuisine, traditions, and landscapes.

Culinary traditions across the region exhibit remarkable diversity, with each area boasting its own array of signature dishes. From the Risotto allo zafferano and Polenta of Lombardy in the north to Sicily’s famous Arancini - or Arancine - and Cannoli in the south, the flavors are as diverse as the landscapes. Interestingly, in Sicily, there exists a passionate debate among locals regarding the proper term for these delectable treats, with some insisting on ‘Arancini’ while others firmly prefer ‘Arancine’.

The country’s linguistic diversity includes dialects alongside Italian, reflecting historical and cultural distinctions. Festivals like Siena’s Palio and Venice’s Carnival celebrate local history and heritage. Italy’s landscapes range from the snowy Alps to Tuscany’s rolling hills and the stunning Amalfi Coast, each region offering unique outdoor activities. This collective richness creates a truly diverse and enriching culture.

trentino - lake of lago di carezza in dolomites mountains
Trentino - Lake of Lago di Carezza in Dolomite Mountains
amalfi coast - atrani
Amalfi coast - Atrani
tuscany - val dorcia
Tuscany - Val d'Orcia
basilicata - panoramic view of sassi di matera
Basilicata - Panoramic view of Sassi di Matera

Beyond the well-trodden tourist trails

Arturo shares his recommendations for experiencing the authentic wonders of Italy beyond the usual tourist spots. In the Basilicata region, the captivating city of Matera boasts ancient cave dwellings known as Sassi, carved into cliffs, creating a mesmerizing labyrinth of narrow streets and hidden courtyards. Sassi of Matera earned UNESCO world heritage status in 1993. Moving to the Puglia region, Alberobello stands out for its unique cone-shaped houses called Trulli, which exude a fairytale-like atmosphere. Castel del Monte, a 13th-century fortress with an intriguing octagonal shape and symbolism, is another UNESCO world heritage site worth exploring.

orvieto - cathedral of santa maria assunta
Orvieto - Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

In the Umbria region, the picturesque hilltop town of Orvieto enchants with its medieval charm, with the stunning Orvieto Cathedral as its crowning jewel. Lastly, perched atop a tufa cliff in the Lazio region, Civita di Bagnoregio, often referred to as the Dying Town, offers an ethereal experience accessible only via a footbridge and rewards visitors with breathtaking panoramic views.

And amidst the trove of Italian marvels, one world heritage site not to be forgotten is the Reggia di Caserta, also known as the Italian Versailles. Nestled in the Campania region, this incredible palace earned its UNESCO distinction in 1997. A true masterpiece of baroque architecture, the Reggia di Caserta’s beautiful gardens, majestic fountains, and lavishly adorned interiors make it a destination of unparalleled grandeur, attracting countless visitors from around the globe each year.


Explore the ancient cave dwellings and Sassi districts by foot to fully appreciate Matera’s unique charm.