Martinsville, Virginia


Students from Italy and Carlisle School Tour Area

This week, Italian exchange students and local students from Carlisle School toured the Martinsville-Henry County area. Through a variety of activities, the students learned about the many ways to have fun in record time in MHC.

The tour began Monday morning when students learned about the past, present, and future of motorsports through visits to the PHCC Racing College, Arrington Performance, and Martinsville Speedway. From jumping in the driver’s seat of a late-model stock car to learning about NASCAR’s most historic track, the students found our area to be home to fascinating racing. Italian student Cesar Marsilio said, “I loved the (Martinsville) Speedway because I enjoyed learning about the cars and races.”

Day two began with learning about the amenities and activities in our area at the Martinsville-Henry County Visitor Center and continued with a tour of the state-of-the-art New College Institute. Students learned about the various technologies available in our area and got to experience some hands-on technology with a visit to the Fab Lab. The students use advanced machinery to create t-shirts, robots, and more. Susan Aaron, College Counselor Carlisle School, said, “They (the students) were very impressed with the technology at NCI…all students enjoyed the interactive activities at the Fab Lab and being able to create items to take with them.”

The final day of the tour included a trip to the Virginia Museum of Natural History, exploration of the Uptown area, and cupcake decorating at Uptown Sweets. Many of the students loved the hands-on activities including holding a snake at VMNH and creating their own unique cupcakes with a variety of techniques.

The tour went over well with the visiting Italian students and staff. Italian student Allessandro Salvo said that “the Racing College was very interesting, also the Fab Lab and making the cupcakes (at Uptown Sweets).  I loved the entire trip!” Andrea Beneggi, History and Philosophy Teacher at Collegio Rontondi in Italy, sums up that “the tours met all of our expectations, our students appreciated the program and the information they gained.  Both the VMNH, the (Martinsville) Speedway and the experiences inside of the classrooms were favorites as they were able to see how American lessons are led in comparison to the lessons in Italy and experience opportunities available in Martinsville.  All of the programs were more than we expected.”

Heather Hoffman, Martinsville-Henry County EDC’s Visitor Services Coordinator, aided in the planning of the tour. According to Hoffman, “we were very excited to work with Carlisle School to create a tour for both Italian Exchange students and Carlisle students. The area localities that worked with us on this tour were very accommodating and really showcased what our area has to offer. We look forward to working with the group as they return to the area in the future.”

For more information about planning a unique group tour to Martinsville-Henry County, please contact Hoffman at 276.403.5948 or