Finding Spontaneity in Orvieto

Study Trip to Orvieto, Italy October 3rd-5th.

I had an amazing trip to Orvieto with 16 other students and SLA Steven this past weekend. I was lucky enough to get a spot on this trip last Monday because one of my friends couldn’t go; I wasn’t entirely sure what I was in for, but I jumped on last minute anyways. The first day we arrived pretty early in the morning and had a huge lunch at Chef Lorenzo’s restaurant: The Zeppelin. He was the mastermind of our incredible weekend. We also got a chance to explore the town a bit, and most of the group headed right to the Duomo. Featuring 13th century frescoes and an alternatively designed, striped interior, it was definitely worth the three-euro entry fee. But be careful, they are very strict about no photos inside the Duomo and will yell at you in Italian if you even reach for your phone… I definitely learned this the hard way.

Orvieto Cathedral

Orvieto Cathedral

Then we went to Lorenzo’s vineyard and harvested the last two rows of grapes, that he saved for us. Lorenzo gave us T-shirts that had the word “Vendemmia” written across the back, meaning grape harvest in Italian. We had little shears and even with a cool fall breeze, quite a few students gave up before we finished. It’s a much more tedious task than we were expecting. Afterwards, we all climbed on the tractor once the trailer was full and rode back to the farm for a huge dinner with all of his chef interns and employees.



We must have been at the table for three hours by the time dinner was finished, fresh porchetta -pork- an Umbrian speciality, salads, and many other dishes kept coming. The food was incredible. The following day, we woke up relatively early to go to the local market. Lorenzo met us there with one of his interns, and we sampled the food we were going to buy for our lunch that WE cooked! Everything was homemade and handmade, so we spent two hours rolling pasta noodles with our hands, baking fresh freccasca bread, an excellent peach or pesche dessert and drinking wine the whole time. After lunch we were free for the afternoon so while some played calcio with local school aged kids, my roommate and I accidentally slept the afternoon away. It felt an awful like Thanksgiving back in the states; we ate, slept and then went back to the restaurant for another huge dinner. I was more than okay with it all.


This time we didn’t spent two hours rolling the pasta and I appreciated it more than ever before. Saturday night in Orvieto was definitely the liveliest of the weekend nights and most of our group went out with some of the interns. Sunday morning we went on a nature hike around Orvieto (mostly uphill, which was not forewarned) but worth the stunning views from each peak. I loved the spontaneous nature of this trip, and how we were free to do what we pleased in between time spent with Lorenzo. Sunday morning was much more adventurous than my Saturday afternoon was. Immediately following the hike, we even met up with the Italian kids again for another game of calcio. This time, I was inclined to play and had a great time -even with a slightly sprained ankle. After our much needed exercise after two days of eating and napping, we had another incredible meal at the Zeppelin before catching our train back to Roma. What an amazing thing to say each weekend I spend away: back home to Rome.


About Anna Johnson

I am from Lake Elmo, Minnesota, a small town right outside of the Twin Cities! I am studying Business, with a focus in Marketing and maybe a minor in Italian. I chose the Rome Start program because I wanted international experience and what better way than to start my college experience here in Roma! The best part about Rome Start is having Europe at my fingertips for an entire year, and learning in the heart of the eternal city.
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