Tours and workshops are an essential part of the Orvieto semester-long program. With them you get to travel to many different spots both in and away from Orvieto to see exciting places and partake in aspects of Italy's cultural life. From seeing the art of the Vatican to participating in wine tasting and pasta making, it is a unique experience.
These 'field trips' are included as part of the required course, ITO200 Chiavi: Keys to Our Cultural Heritage. Each week's seminar focuses on providing information and background about the places we will visit that week. So what you read and discuss in seminar on Monday, you then experience first-hand on Wednesday and Friday trips.
SPRING 2018 CHIAVI 'FIELD TRIPS'
In the morning, a guided tour of Orvieto's 14th c. Duomo (cathedral), featuring the breathtaking Signorelli frescos in its San Brizio chapel. These frescos influenced Michelangelo's Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel.
In the afternoon, a guided tour of the Orvieto Underground, a subterranean nexus of caves and tunnels dug out by the Etruscans and used by Orvietani into the modern period as well as the opportunity to ascend to the top of the Torre del Moro for its panoramic view of the city and valleys below.
A bus trip to Tarquinia to visit the famous Etruscan painted tombs of the necropolis and then on to the city center to see artifacts from these tombs and the surrounding area in the National Archaeological Museum. In the afternoon, a short jaunt to Lido di Tarquinia (Tarquina beach), to take in the views of the Tyrrhenian sea.
Cantina Neri Winery Tour and Tasting
After a short bus ride to Cantina Neri, a local vineyard a few miles north of Orvieto, a tour of the winery followed by a guided tasting of three of the vineyard's wines paired with local artisanal foods.
A bus trip to Rome features a morning guided tour of the Roman Forum, the center of the ancient Roman empire, the Palatine Hill where Romulus and Augustus had their houses and the iconic Colosseum and in the afternoon a tour of the Pantheon with its awe-inspiring dome and visit the baroque Trevi Fountain whose origins go back to ancient Rome.
The bus trip to Subiaco includes a guided tour of both the Abbey of Santa Scholastica (the oldest Benedictine monastery in the world) and Sacro Speco (Sacred Cave), a sanctuary which encloses the cave where Saint Benedict lived as a hermit for 3 years, containing frescoes from various periods which illustrate the life of Saint Benedict. The natural beauty of the setting is breathtaking.
A short bus ride to Porano, just outside Orvieto, finds Azienda Agricola Janas, a small farm which grows, harvests and mills its own biological wheat, encompassing every step of production. Inside the farm is La Locanda di Colle Ombroso, a small restaurant where you can taste all their products: fresh pasta, bread, all made with their flours and vegetables and legumes from the farm, along with red meats and cheeses sourced from various small farms in the area. Learn how to make pasta and other components of a delicious lunch/dinner.
La Locanda di Colle Ombroso (in Italian)
Perugia & Assisi
The bus arrives at the station in Perugia. From there take the mini metro into the center of town and tour Perugia in the morning with stops at the Rocca Paolina built over a rebellious quarter of the city, now underground and the Piazza IV Novembre with Perugia's Duomo and Fontana Maggiore.
In the afternoon travel to Assisi to tour the Basilica of St. Francis and a walking tour through Assisi's center.
A bus trip to Siena for a morning guided walking tour of the city which includes stops at: the Basilica of San Domenico, the Piazza Salimbeni, home of the oldest bank in the world and the Piazza del Campo and Piazza Pubblico, the civic center of Siena. In the afternoon, a guided tour of Siena's Duomo, the opera del duomo museum and panorama (where you can see a spectacular view of the city that gave its name to crayola crayons.)
A bus trip to Florence for a walking tour of the city which includes: the Piazza della Repubblica, the Duomo, the Piazza della Signoria and the Ponte Vecchio. In the afternoon tour the Accademia (the David and other works of Michelangelo are displayed here.)
A bus trip to Tivoli, with a guided tour of the emperor Hadrian’s Villa in the morning, a vast retreat which served as a outlet for his architectural inspirations. After lunch, explore the many wonders of the Villa d’Este, a renaissance palace and garden designed to delight the senses and amaze with its hydraulic genius.
Southern Italy weekend- Friday
On Friday, an early bus to Naples for a guided tour of the National Archaeological Museum (one of the most important collections of Roman art.) After lunch travel to Pompeii (the city buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79) for a guided tour of the site. Spend the night at the Hotel Amitrano in Pompeii.
Southern Italy weekend- Saturday
By bus, travel to Paestum for a guided tour of the Azienda Agricola Barlotti, a buffalo farm where they make the delicious buffalo mozzarella. This stop might prove a sensory overload for buffalo petters and mozzarella lovers. In the afternoon travel to Paestum Archaeological Park to tour the site of 3 amazingly preserved Greek temples and the local archaeological museum. Spend the night at the Minerva Resort Hotel in Paestum which has beach access.
Southern Italy weekend- Sunday
On Sunday, depart to tour the Abbey of Montecassino founded by St. Benedict in 529. Montecassino is where Benedict wrote the Rule and, because of its strategic location, the site of a major WWII battle. The beauty of the setting is spectacular.
Caprarola & Lago di Vico
Travel by bus to Caprarola, a small town in northern Lazio and home to the Villa Farnese. Originally built as a pentagonal fortress for the future Farnese pope Paul III, it was transformed into a villa (country house) by his grandson, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese whose exquisite taste is in evidence from the interior fresco cycles to the remarkable gardens. After the tour, weather permitting, picnic on the shores of Lago di Vico, a volcanic lake featured prominently on the ceiling of the main hall of the Villa Farnese.
The Val d'Orcia (valley of the River Orcia), located in southern Tuscany is one of the most spectacularly beautiful places on the planet and is recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site. In addition to gawking at the scenery, visit three unique places: Sant'Antimo, an early Benedictine monastery situated among the picturesque vineyards of Montalcino; Pienza, the birthplace of Pope Pius II who transformed it into an ideal Renaissance city (it also boasts the best pecorino cheeses); and La Foce, the restored 15th c. villa and famous gardens of Iris Origo who chronicled life on her estate during WII in her book War in Val D'Orcia.