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Tag: Spoleto

First Encounters and Adventures in Umbria

First Encounters and Adventures in Umbria

Tomorrow will mark the third week of being in Rome. My time here has been so packed thus far that it seems like I have been here much longer! At last everything is slowing down after a whirlwind of excitement following my arrival.

The strangest thing about my first encounters with the city is how distant and unreal each discover has been. Eager to see everything Rome is known for, my fellow classmates and I took to the town encountering many of the famous sites within the first days. Such encounters were so brief and often sudden (I think I’m better at finding monuments unintentionally than when I’m armed with a map) that I feel I can hardly check those sites off my Roman Bucket list. Now, slowly but surely, I feel myself starting to match the beat of the city, digesting its full brilliance.

The greatest event thus far was our orientation trip to the countryside of Umbria. The beauty of the mountains absolutely surrounded us everywhere we went. The first day was spent exploring the town of Bevagna. Strongly in touch with its medieval roots, Bevagna has many artisan craftsmen and women that practice and preserve the methods used generations before them. Along our way through the twisting and turning streets we stopped at the shops of a paper maker, silk maker, coin minter, and candlestick maker. The amount of time that goes into the old trades is remarkable! Silk especially takes patience, requiring 7 perfect strands to make a single thread!


The Roman Bridge in Spoleto
Spoleto is known for 3 beautiful things: La Montagna, La Chiesa, e Il Ponte.

My favorite of the four towns we visited was Spoleto. While still very connected to its ancient and medieval past like Bevagna, what stood out about Spoleto is its prevalent connection to art of all mediums and eras. Each summer Spoleto puts on a two month long festival in their 1st Century B.C. amphitheater, drawing performers and artists from all over the world. While excitement and pride stirred by the event can be felt yearlong, I only hope that I may be back one day to experience the festivities first hand! Art truly comes alive in Spoleto.

Our view of the Vineyard during our wine tasting
Our view of the Vineyard during our wine tasting.

Food was of course a great ordeal though out the weekend. One afternoon was spent wine tasting and exploring the orchards of Il Carapace Winery. The wine was great (red being the specialty of the region) but we were rather rushed and I hope to have a more thorough introduction to wine tasting in the future. We also had the pleasure of dining in an olive orchard! The meal incorporated traditional Umbrian bread (marked by its lack of salt), many types of spreads on toasted bread bruschetta style including an olive pate (must tomatoes be involved to call it bruschetta? I’ll have to find out), pesto (my favorite!), and the best sausage I have ever tasted. Many of the other meals on the trip were similar using traditional Umbrian dishes and seasonal ingredients. It was pork season (something that I never considered having a season but I suppose all things do in some sense of the term) so most meals involved pork. After my third meal of pork and potatoes I may have started to regret my decision not to eat vegetarian while aboard. Nonetheless the food was fantastic! I’m truly enjoying the pastas I have encountered and even more so the antipasti.

This past weekend was my first real weekend in Rome but since nothing terribly remarkable occurred and many other Rome adventures will happen in the near future I’ll wait to tell you more about the city some other time.