Ultimate Umbria: Fall 2014 Orientation Weekend
On Friday September 5th, all 157 John Felice Rome Center students, along with the Student Life Team, and various faculty, piled into three buses and took off for an Ultimate Umbria orientation weekend! After a fun two-hour bus ride of sing-alongs and chants, half of the group arrived in Bevagna for tours of artisanal medieval shops, while the other half started the day at a winery in Montefalco. The groups in Bevagna got to visit a coinmaker, candlemaker, silkmaker, and papermaker. Students and staff got a hands-on experience in this tiny medieval town. The wine tasting experience was one all the students will remember—as this specific winery had a gorgeous scenic view. The students and staff toured the winery and gained insight into the wine making process, as well as being able to taste Sagrantino di Montefalco--a wine specific to the Umbrian region. Both groups met for lunch at the Spiritodivino Agriturismo for a delicious buffet lunch, compete with a dance party starring our very own Dean of Faculty, Susana Cavallo. After a hearty meal, the groups who had previously toured Bevagna visited the winery and vice versa. In the late evening everyone checked into the hotel for a few hours of relaxation before the Student Life staff, professors and faculty led the students in a Welcome Address and dinner!
Saturday got off to a great start with the whole JFRC community participating in walking tours of Spoleto, the town where everyone stayed for the weekend. The groups were able to visit Spoleto’s famous acquaduct and Duomo, and also managed to have free time to explore the city on their own afterward. The entire community then headed to Casco dell’Acqua Agriturismo for a delicious lunch. Students braved the sun and also had fun playing with the children of the Agriturismo owners. After lunch, the entire group took off for Foligno, where everyone had the afternoon and early evening for themselves. Fathers Al and Bohr led a gorgeous mass in Foligno’s Duomo and afterwards the students had the night to explore. Foligno natives were out and about that night, as they were in the middle of a medieval festival. Students got in on the action by enjoying typical Umbrian meals and dancing with locals in the main piazza. As the night drew to a close, students and Student Life Assistants enjoyed one last moment of fun before bed by riding a rollercoaster at a children’s amusement park!
On Sunday morning the JFRC community checked out of the hotel and headed to Spello, the last stop for the weekend. The entire community went on walking tours of the hilly town, and ultimately reconvened for lunch at Frantoio di Spello, an olive oil production plant and shop. Students dined amongst the olive trees and tasted some of the company’s very own oil. Many students purchased oil or goods made with olive oil to bring home to their families. A group of students and staff made their way to Spello’s acquaduct, while others lounged in the shade of the olive trees. In the late afternoon the entire community piled onto the buses and made their way back to Rome. By 7:30pm everyone was back at the Rome Center safe and sound. It was an enjoyable weekend; one that students and staff alike will remember for the rest of their lives!