Italy: Il Paradiso Terrestre – Between Heaven & Earth
Hidden among the green rolling hills of Umbria and soaring spires rising above the hill towns of Tuscany beats the heart of Italy. Walk in the footsteps of ancient Etruscans and ride with the Butteri, Tuscany’s last cowboys. During a month in one of Italy’s most beautiful, bountiful and heavenly regions, feel the rich Umbrian soil between your fingers while working on a 15th century farm. Look towards the heavens and marvel at the architectural wonders of Assisi, Lucca and Siena. Taste Florentine delights and see artistic masterpieces that tell a story about the history and culture of Italy. Go beyond the limited reach of a tourist and become an amateur anthropologist. Open your eyes, mind and heart to discover Il Paradiso Terrestre.
Your journey begins along winding Roman cobblestone streets, among iconic architectural wonders and during conversations with locals over cornetti of cold gelato. Feast your eyes on Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, sample plates of fresh pasta in cafés under the shadow of the Roman Colosseum and practice new language skills with locals on the Spanish Steps. During your Seminar, live in a 15th century agri-turismo in the hills of Umbria overlooking Lake Trasimeno. Learn about permaculture and sustainability working alongside Italian environmentalists. Pick fresh vegetables, care for animals and make communal meals using ingredients from the garden. After getting your hands dirty in the dark Umbrian soil, gaze to the heavens at the architectural and spiritual wonders of Assisi. For two days, explore Perugia and work with chocolate makers. Then travel into the heartland of Tuscany and live with a local family for 10 days. While shopping in outdoor markets, exploring medieval towns and cooking with your new family, become integrated into daily life. Your adventure continues in communities throughout magnificent Tuscany. Using Lucca as a base, take in the bell towers of Volterra and Siena, visit the world renowned Ufizzi gallery in Florence and hike through ancient hill towns like San Gimignano. You’ll be inspired by the creative talent of jewelry makers, olive oil producers and alabaster stone masons. During your final days in the Italian bread basket return to Umbria where your journey began. Enjoy the beautiful streets and alleyways of Orvieto, a hilltop village that illustrates the excellence of Italian craftsmanship and reflect on all that you’ve learned during a month in the heart of Italy.
Orientation in Rome
- Interview locals at the Piazza Navona and relax on the Spanish Steps.
- Sample fresh gelato under the shadow of the Roman Colosseum.
- Feast your eyes on Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel at the Vatican.
- Explore the medieval narrow cobblestone streets in neighborhoods throughout the city.
Seminar in Umbria
- Spend four days learning about permaculture and the locavore movement in a 15th century Umbrian farmhouse.
- Cultivate your own vegetables and prepare recipes with fresh local ingredients.
- Study the art and architecture of Assisi.
- Work with artisans, chocolate makers and environmentalists.
Family and Community Stay in the heart of Italy
- Develop new Italian language skills.
- Cook homemade dishes with your host family.
- Spend the day at the beach on the Mediterranean coast.
- Explore the quiet corners of the Maremma, home of the last Tuscan cowboys.
Field-Based Exploration in Tuscany
- Use Lucca as a base to explore ancient towns and cities throughout Tuscany.
- Climb the iconic bell towers of Siena and hike through the medieval town of San Gimignano.
- Visit the Uffizi Gallery and Piazza della Signoria in the historic centre of Florence.
- Meet with Tuscan papermakers, jewelers and craftspeople.
Journey’s End in Southern Umbria
- Climb the hills to Orvieto’s old town and visit the striking cathedral.
- Sample seasonal Umbrian delights and a delicious gelato at Di Pasqualetti.
- Discuss re-entry and prepare for the journey home.