Summer Session I Orientation off the beaten path
On May 18th the JFRC Summer Session community traveled across the rolling hills of the Roman countryside to Farfa, a medieval village located in the Sabine Hills. This region is considered one of the least-touched areas of Italy, and the views from Farfa and neighboring hill towns are like something out of a dream.
For our summer students, this dream began in the early afternoon with a visit to the historic Abbazia di Farfa, an abbey belonging to the Benedictine order and at times under the management the influential Orsini and Farnese families. Farfa Abbey is both historical and modern, still serving as an active monastery today. In its history, the abbey once oversaw 600 churches and convents, 132 Sabine fortresses and six fortified cities totaling over 300 villages in its control.
Our students were able to experience the wealth of history collected from this monastery’s centuries of reign with tours of the abbey and all of its chapels, salas, and even a tomb! Students were also brought to the abbey library, where hundreds of medieval texts and documents are preserved; some are even still used today! As our groups completed the tours, we were invited to break bread with the Benedictine sisters who prepared a fabulous four-course 'Lazian' meal. It was a wonderful introduction into the deepest parts of Roman and Italian culture and our students left with great excitement to learn more!