Saint Anselm College's Semester in Orvieto, Italy

Through our new semester-long program, you live, learn, and travel with fellow students and Saint Anselm faculty on our (other) Hilltop, in Orvieto, Italy. The program will be offered every spring semester starting with the pilot in spring 2016. The program is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors and applications are due by October 15 each year.

While studying in Orvieto you will continue to take four courses as you do in New Hampshire but the courses will integrate local cultural events and landmarks through academic excursions as much as possible. You can expect academic excursions to cities such as Rome, Florence, Monte Cassino, Assisi, Siena, Pompeii and other heritage sites where you'll experience the cultural energy and history of Italy.

Orvieto is conveniently located in Italy's Umbria region, Orvieto is one hour from Rome and one and half hours from Florence by train. This program not only includes academic excursions but also a week-long spring break to allow you to travel and explore further afield.


weekly blog posts

Week 1: From One Hilltop to Another

The Comune of Orvieto is truly a breathtaking site. The city is composed of centuries old buildings erected atop a tufa plateau and surrounded by a wall. The plateau overlooks the almost untouched Italian countryside. Most people will never lay their eyes on a city as majestic as this. Thankfully, I get to study here for more than a quarter of the calendar year. With what I have seen so far, deciding to leave the hilltop of Saint Anselm College for a semester to travel to a hilltop six time zones away is a decision that I am glad I made.

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A panoramic view of Orvieto. Photo credit Joe Cahill.
Week 2: Ceramics and Cannolis

This week brought a wild range of sights and experiences for everyone. History is everywhere and it screams. But it’s more than a list of dates, wars fought, treaties signed and Roman numerals on cornerstones, it’s organic. Whether we were watching the master Marino Moretti channel two thousand years of ceramics knowledge into a wholly new paradigm or viewing the transition of a Roman temple into a Christian church, it’s the same.

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High atop Orvieto's Torre del Moro. Photo credit Valeria Gomez.
Week 3: Etruscan's and Ancient Rome

Three weeks abroad already! At our pre-departure orientation that was at Saint Anselm College, the director of the study abroad program described the stages of culture shock to us and told us that once the honeymoon phase of being in a new, beautiful, adventurous, place wore off we’d begin to find ourselves frustrated with the difficulties of assimilation into a new culture.

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Our group inside the Colosseum. Photo credit L.Rulman
Week 4: One Month Already?!

This week marked one full month living in Orvieto. I had a reality check that our trip had only two months left, and how fast time was going by without realizing it. In one month I had adjusted to a new country and adapted to the language barrier. Although it seems that time flies by, I have already made countless memories. The class trips have been amazing so far, as well as the adventures we have had on our own.

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Our group displaying our pasta dough with Simona. Photo credit D. George
Week 5: My Happiest Week

What was, in a sense, the cherry on top to this great week was the wonderful birthday dinner Professor Rulman and the group organized for me on Sunday. Words cannot explain how much it meant to me. I normally love our Sunday dinners and always look forward to them but this Sunday made me appreciate the wonderful group we have much more.

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Subiaco: Sacro Speco Monastery. Photo credit L. Rulman.
Week 6: Family Dinner Before Spring Break

The week was cut short because of the break, but we got together for one last outing: making gnocchi and tiramisu with Alba! The weather early in the week was dismal, but the rain cleared up in time for us to walk to Alba’s apartment in the city. Cooking with Alba was a great send off before we all parted ways for spring break. The food was delicious, and we all had fun pitching in.

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Joaly, Ed and Kate with their tiramisu. Photo credit Valeria Gomez
Week 7: From Orvieto to Athens

After a stressful week of staying up late studying and living off coffee, midterms were finally over. Everyone packed their bags and waited in anticipation for the journey of spring break to begin. Some were venturing off to explore the coast of Ireland, a few were eagerly awaiting their journey through London and Paris, and others decided to stay more local and explore what else Italy has to offer.

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 Ali, Liz, and Val in front of the Parthenon. Photo credit Valeria Gomez.
Week 8: Field Trip to Tivoli

Our eighth week in Orvieto included the usual round of classes but also an incredible Wednesday fieldtrip to Tivoli. This little town, unsurprisingly located on a hilltop, contains Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este, both remarkable pieces of history from different time periods. Overall it was a fun week, and it’s hard to believe it’s already been two months since we’ve arrived in Italy.

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The Canopus with a view to the pumpkin-domed Serapeum. Photo credit Zabrina Marino.