Monthly Archives: May 2010
This past Friday a group of Umbra Institute students (here with their professors from Trinity College) took an outing to Cortona. In addition to getting a beautiful view of the valley and of Lake Trasimeno, the students were able to put into practice what they learned in class while visiting the newly-restored Etruscan Museum. Professor Diane Zannoni’s class was able to pick out pottery imported by the ancient Etruscans from Athens as well as identify different epochs of Etruscan civilization by their burial rites. The trip was already a success but a gelato on the main piazza definitely didn’t hurt, either!
Yesterday was a perfect day for a traipse around Perugia’s historic center and about thirty Umbra students did just that, taking Umbra staff member Zach Nowak’s nearly world-famous “Perugia Nooks & Crannies Tour.” The tour started at the iconic Fontana Maggiore in the center of the main piazza but wandered into back alleys (like Via Alunni, where Perugia’s orphanage was) and even into the only vineyard inside the city’s Etruscan walls. Light on history but heavy on great views and semi-true historicalish anecdotes, the tour was just the right event for a Sunday afternoon.
Volcanic eruptions had made the weather here in Perugia spotty but the Umbrian sun smiled on the new crowd of Umbra Institute students, whohad their Orientation yesterday in the main room of Perugia’s beautiful fourteenth century town hall. Most of the session was dedicated to introductions of the staff, each of whom explained their role in the Umbra team and gave advice and special instructions for all students.
The last part of the Orientation meeting, however, was dedicated to a special lecture on being safe in Italy. State police inspector Michele Canneschi gave an amusing but very to-the-point speech, one that no student will soon forget. The Orientation was followed by a second open house and the Italian placement tests, and today classes begin. Welcome, studenti dell’Umbra Institute, and all the best for this summer session’s adventure!
The Umbra Institute is putting all the chairs in order in the classrooms, preparing for Orientation and the first week of Survival Italian for the new students. The planes landing at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport on the 16th of May will find Umbra staff members waiting for them. Want to know what to expeect from those first days? Check out our Umbra Views channel on YouTube, especially the Arrival and Orientation Video. See you soon, a presto!
For a few days after the official departure date there were still some Umbra students around Perugia: you’d see them having their last panino con pollo at Ciao Ciao’s, or on the Steps, soaking up some Umbrian thermonuclear radiation (sun). But now the group, having said their goodbyes at the Farewell Aperitivo at Eden, are all back in the States. It was a bittersweet end: most students were ready for enormous pizzas, potato chips with flavors, and 24 hour stores. Who will really miss the pausa, the three-hour truce in commercial hostilities when all Italian shops close for lunch? Or will they miss it, along with la dolce vita that they tasted here on this Umbrian hilltop town? Who knows. All we know is that while we miss Spring 2010, we’re looking forward to the new group for Summer!