Embarking into Umbria

Orientation has officially ended and that means its time to buckle down and actually read the textbooks we purchased. However, the amazing staff here in Rome wouldn’t unleash us from the lightheartedness of orientation week without some sort of phenomenal ending, and staying true to tradition, that’s what they did. 150 students headed off into Umbria for an unforgettable weekend…


Umbria, the only landlocked region in Italy, is an amazing destination to experience traditional Italian culture while being surrounded by an ever-modernizing society. The picturesque landscapes and ancient cities are, by far, some of the most beautiful scenes I have come to witness in my eighteen short years, and the orange villas nestled into hill sides seem to come straight out of a movie. Yet, even though these images are ones I will never forget, perhaps the most important part of the weekend was the friendships created through this experience. Tasting wines with your roommate, and getting lost in Spoleto or Foligno with the girls three doors down is the best way to experience a new culture and forge friendships that will last a lifetime.


Our first day in Umbria included wine tasting, candle making and a trip to a paper mill. The second day was filled with walking tours of the ancient cities of Spoleto and Foligno, coincidentally we happened to be in Folignio just in time for the kick off of their medieval festival, so colorful banners and traditional music were found in surplus around the city. Our final day in the beautiful region consisted of a tour of Spello and free time to roam the streets and explore the beauty of a city that’s been around since the first century. Pork, potatoes and pasta filled our bellies and fantastic wine accompanied each meal, our lively conversation could be heard from a distance and we left the region with the hope of soon returning…

My bee’s wax candle remains (unlit) here in my dorm room, a happy reminder of an amazing weekend.


Photo credit: Anna Johnson, Katey Lantto, and Courtney Bickle


About Emily S.

Hi! My name is Emily Sarsok, I'm 18 years old and have spent the majority of my life living in Germany. I'm a Rome Start student with a declared major in Social Work and pursuing a minor in Criminal Justice. I chose Rome Start because its close to home, and an amazing opportunity to experience a different culture while working toward a college degree! It would be impossible to pick my favorite part about this experience because I love everything about the program; the people, the city, the culture, and the food...especially the food.
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