Italian Language, Art, Culture and Community-Based Learning in Orvieto

Summer 2018 | Orvieto, Italy


Orvieto is dramatically situated on the summit of near-vertical cliffs in Umbria, the central region known as il cuore verde d’Italia for its stunning natural beauty. Small and accessible in scale, yet grand and impressive in character, this ancient city promises an immersion in an authentic, less touristy Italy. Orvieto’s centuries-old architecture traces Italian history, while its artisanal traditions embody Italian culture. Orvieto is an ideal location to study—and appreciate—Italy.


Language Acquisition
Become more proficient in Italian, whether you start at the introductory, intermediate or advanced level. Classes at the renowned Study Programs in Italy organization provide formal instruction, while community immersion ensures that students master everyday spoken language. At the end of the program, each student is assessed for improvement in Italian and receives a diploma certifying the level of proficiency achieved.

Cross-Cultural Competency
Understand Italy through three major facets of human experience: food, the fine and performing arts and artisanal products. Orvieto is rightly famous for all three. Learn how local vineyards and orchards inspire Italian cuisine, why ceramics and furniture are such deeply ingrained regional crafts and what significance the “Made in Italy” certification holds in terms of quality, style and prestige. Through this lens, students attain a greater capacity for reconciling differences between their own and others’ cultural frameworks.


Academic Instruction
Gain a solid foundation in Italian language and culture thanks to highly qualified instructors who specialize in teaching Italian as a foreign language with the latest methodologies and a communicative approach. Language acquisition is assessed through exams, written assignments and classroom presentations, while cultural understanding is demonstrated in daily reflection journals and a final capstone project—in English or Italian—exploring a topic related to Italian food, arts, “Made in Italy” or service-learning.

Independent Research
Explore Italian culture in context, through tours of museums and cathedrals, excursions to an ancient underground labyrinth, a surreal sculpture park, a chocolate factory and a ceramics workshop. Engage in 20 hours of service-learning work. On our last trip to Orvieto, Drew students were involved in a project to promote the region, its traditions and local artisans. Then experience Italy in hands-on workshops: cook favorite regional dishes with visiting chefs, decorate Etruscan tiles, restore antique furniture with local artisans and learn about costume with fashion historians and designers.

Community Immersion
Interact with the people of Orvieto in purposeful, meaningful ways. You live with a host family, sharing meals, conversation and daily routines. And you make lasting contributions to the community through service-based projects—planting a community garden, restoring a landmark city wall, promoting local crafts at an annual festival—that also immerse you in regional culture.


Emanuele Occhipinti, PhD, Associate Professor of Italian
The focus of Professor Occhipinti’s academic work is modern and contemporary Italian language and culture, with an emphasis on travel literature and cinema studies. He has led Drew short-term programs in Venice, Orvieto and the Cilento region of Italy.