Yearly Archives: 2009
We confess that this is an archive photo; it didn’t really snow this much in Perugia today. We did have, however, a lot of flurries this morning. Today is the last day of the Fall semester at the Umbra Institute, a day when students buy Perugina chocolate and Umbrian olive oil, when they make that one last visit to their favorite panoramic point for a photo to remember the city by, when they have the Farewell Aperitivo…and when goodbyes have to be said. Tonight at around midnight the buses will pull out of Piazza Italia and the semester’s adventure will be over…until January!
The student presentations and award ceremony for the Italian Language Program were held last night at the Uguccione Ranieri di Sorbello Foundation. Students from various courses presented their work from this semester. Students in the Contemporary Italy: Culture and Society who participated in the progetto famiglia presented on their experiences with Italian families. Students in the Human Development and Culture class presented on their findings from their research in Italian schools on inculturization in Italian society. Finally, students in Comparative Global Business Cultures and International Marketing presented on their recommendations for the companies they visited.
The evening ended with the award from the Ranieri Foundation given to winner of a video contest. The winner was Julia Aronson from Duke University for her video on her trip to Venice. She was awarded a certificate and a cash prize.
In photos: Students in the Human Development class during their presentation, Julia Aronson and Francesco Burzacca, coordinator of the Italian Language Program
The Umbra Institute’s community engagement programs, coordinated by Director Anna Selberg, got some well-deserved recognition this week. An article in the regional newspaper La Nazione highlighted the contributions of Umbra student Melissa Martinez and intern Paola D’Amora to a Unicef campaign. The campaign consisted of sewing Raggedy Ann-style rag dolls, which will then be sold in a nationwide effort to fund Unicef vaccinations in the developing world. Kudos to Martinez, D’Amora, and Selberg!
This Wednesday night students in Professor Cynthia Clough’s Creative Nonfiction Writing class presented some of their best essays that are to be included in the Umbra Institute’s ninth literary anthology. From a small stage at Perugia’s Birraio and with a crowd of more than thirty of their classmates, students read pieces that ranged from amusing reflections on their relationships with food to ponderings of the meaning of this semester, and the meaning of their fast-approaching departure. The night was rounded out by a reading from Professor Clough herself.
And you thought Umbria Jazz was only in the summertime! On December 30th the wintertime counterpart to Perugia’s summer jazz festival begins in Orvieto, another Umbrian city. This year’s edition is the seventeenth to be presented, and will be a five-day jam of the world’s best jazz musicans. Orvieto, sitting on its tufa-rock plateau, will open the doors to its best venues for the festival.
This month’s photo winner is Laura Bergstein from University of Denver for her photo from Venice, Italy. Laura will enjoy a free meal from Quattro Passi Pizzeria.
Last week Perugia was full of families in town to celebrate Thanksgiving with their students studying at Umbra. Mothers brought entire suitcases full of supplies to prepare a proper American holiday meal, students ordered turkeys from the local butcher weeks in advance, and there was even leftover pumpkin pie at school on Sunday free for the taking! Today everyone is back in class and preparing for finals, which are just around the corner. The next three weeks will be full of end-of-the-semester activities, including a literary reading, the final Tandem meeting, and the student art show. Umbra will have extended hours starting next Wednesday to allow everyone enough time to prepare for finals. Good luck and don’t forget to make the most of your last several weeks in Perugia!
The Umbra Institute has announced an exciting new initiative: in collaboration with TripFilms.com, the Institute will be promoting a contest for the best films about travel to Perugia. TripFilms has a unique website where thousands of travelers (or in this case, “temporary citizens” of Perugia) post videos about the streets they live on, where they shop, what they do for fun, where they eat your favorite meals, as well as weekend excursions. Instead of simply reading a standard guidebook about Perugia, potential visitors (and students) can see through the eyes of people that have already been and lived here.
The contest was organized by Umbra and an alum, Kelley Farro, who is now a travel video producer with TripFilms. The grand prize is an iPod Nano, and there are several cash prizes and Amazon gift certificates as well. The contest begins January 4th, 2010, and is open not only to current students but alumni as well. All are encouraged to participate — when you upload, include the line in the description “Umbra Institute Student Travel Video Submission.” For more information email Kelley AT tripfilms DOT com with your questions.
Last Thursday, Umbra students learned how to create UNICEF Pigotta rag dolls that give hope for developing countries. A Pigotta is a unique doll because if it is “adopted” it can save a child as the proceeds go to providing the child with a complete vaccine kit protecting them against deadly diseases. Students gathered for the first time to meet welcoming volunteers in their fresco decorated office. The UNICEF ladies’ warm smiles and maternal patience guided the students’ hands while sewing and filling dolls’ bodies with cotton. Red and golden fabric, vivid enthusiasm, veil ribbon and true devotion were just some of the ingredients of that particular evening.
UNICEF volunteers and students are already looking forward for next week’s meeting when tiny dresses will be made and ID cards will be manufactured for each of the completed dolls.
This past weekend, Professor Adrian Hoch led a group of twenty students from her Leonardo da Vinci course on a comprehensive trip through Florence and Milan, visiting sites where Leonardo lived and found inspiration. Friday morning students arrived in Florence–where Leonardo was born and begin his artistic career as an apprentice in Verocchio’s workshop–and set out directly for the Uffizi Gallery. After lunch students stepped into the Palazzo Vecchio, the imposing town hall with enormous frescoes commissioned from Leonardo, Michelangelo, and other Renaissance-era masters. Currently there is even a debate about the possibility that an original work by Leonardo remains embedded in the wall behind another fresco later painted by Vasari.
After exploring Leonardo’s birthplace the students headed to Milan, where the artist lived and worked for over a decade at the Sforza Castle in the court of Ludovico Sforza. Professor Hoch brought students to see the Last Supper, one of the most well-known frescos in history that has miraculously withstood wartime bombing and an unsuccessful experimental painting technique. Finally, students had the chance to see Leonardo’s Codice Atlantico, the collection of his original writings and drawings that is usually kept under lock and key for preservation. This weekend however the Codice was on special display in two locations at Santa Maria delle Grazie and the Biblioteca Ambrosiana. Next weekend students in Professor Bevagna’s Roman Empire course are off to Rome!