Monthly Archives: September 2005
>Umbra students were among the millions of people in Rome for “La Notte Bianca,” or their annual “white night” festival. The event is appealling: museums, shops, restaurants, and bars remain open all night while Italians take to the streets for entertainment.
Shortly after comedian/actor/director Roberto Benigni opened the evening’s ceremonies, the skies opened and a downpour sent everyone in search of shelter. The rain continued sporadically until morning, but did not prevent the students from enjoying the beauty of Rome at night.
(photos: crowds of Romans flock to the Via del Corso, as seen from the top of the Spanish Steps; Reid Williamson in the Pantheon; Piazza Venezia after the rainfall) All photos by Reid Williamson, Rochester Inst. of Technology.
> In addition to learning the Italian language, Umbra students are also learning some tips for la cucina italiana. This week, a local caterer from Perugia led Umbra students on a cooking demonstration for homemade gnocchi. Students had to prepare the pasta, cook the sauce, and of course, sample their creations.
In photos, Denver Miller and Joe Orville roll and cut the dough for gnocchi pasta. At right, Laura Feller proudly displays a tray of pasta before students devoured the finished product.
“Wine is a living thing. It is made, not only of grapes and yeasts, but of skill and patience. When drinking it remember that to the making of that wine has gone, not only the labor and care of years, but the experience of centuries.” – Allan Sichel
The annual grape harvest season began last week in Italy. “La Vendemmia,” as Italians refer to it, is an annual event complete with generations of rural and familial traditions. Zach Nowack, an Umbra staff member, tends to a vineyard near the center of Perugia. Last weekend, he invited several Umbra staff members and students to participate in La Vendemmia 2005.
The process of turning grapes into wine begins with harvesting the grapes from the vines, stomping the juice from the fruit in the traditional method, pressing the remaining skins, and then straining the juice into large demijohns to ferment. By spring, the grapes from La Vendemmia 2005 will produce approximately 100 liters of white wine and 15 liters of red wine. The demijohns will rest in the sheds at the vineyard until spring, when Italians (including Zach) are convinced the time is just right to uncork the first of the bottles from the previous fall.
In photos, Nowack, Reid Williamson (RIT), Tyler Pace (Connecticut College), and Denver Miller (Chapman University), participate in La Vendemmia 2005.
More than seventy students gathered on Wednesday for the first Scambi Lingua (Tandem) event. Tandem is a weekly event which brings American students together with Italians to practice their language skills through conversation.
Tandem is a voluntary activity for those interested in meeting Italians and practicing Italian language skills. Future Tandem events will take place at the Via Marzia building and throughout Perugia.
The Perugia through the Ages class spent a day in Assisi examining the role the city has played in the region’s history. The trip was led by Professor Paola Chiurulla. “Both the church of Santa Chiara and San Francesco’s basilica were exquisite with detailed structures and amazing religious artwork everywhere,” said student Cobi Alberti (Chapman University). “In San Francesco’s basilica we visited the sacred tomb of Saint Francis and looked in awe on the second level at the frescos depicting a sequence of Biblical stories around the whole interior of the church. We also went underground where the ancient center of town is preserved, original stones and all.” Several of the courses offered at the Umbra Institute utilize on-site visits as part of the curriculum.
In photos: the Church of Santa Chiara and the surrounding piazzas are covered with a thick fog in Assisi (photos by Cobi Alberti).
On August 30th, over 180 American students arrived in Perugia to study to study abroad at the Umbra Institute. The students came from all areas of the United States representing more than 50 colleges and universities.The Fall 2005 group of students is the largest to study at Umbra since the Institute opened in 2000.
After orientation sessions (left), students began intensive language courses for one month at the Universita per Stranieri before taking their elective courses at Umbra Institute beginning in October.
The Umbra Institute prides itself on its cultural immersion opportunities. Beyond the classrom, Umbra students have the option to participate a wide variety of cultural activities throughout the semester including TANDEM language exchange programs with local students, weekend excursions, cooking courses, historical waking tours, sports, art shows, and more, all designed to help students immerse themselves into the Italian student life of Perugia and Italy. Congraulations to all the Fall 2005 program participants. It is going to be a memorable and rewarding semester.